The Doctor of Philosophy in Bioengineering program is designed to take advantage of Northeastern’s considerable strength in multiple areas of both traditional and bio-engineering. Located in the heart of Boston, directly adjacent to the world renowned Longwood Medical Area, Northeastern provides an excellent opportunity for students to combine engineering, medicine and biology. Students work with one of more than 75 faculty affiliated with the program toward a degree tailored to suit their interests or take advantage of one of our eight “strength” tracks.

Students enrolled in the PhD in Bioengineering have the opportunity to also pursue one of the many engineering graduate certificate options in addition to or in combination with this program. Students should consult their faculty advisor regarding these options. The PhD in Bioengineering can be combined with a Gordon Engineering Leadership certificate. Learn more about the benefits of this unique program.

Our interdisciplinary PhD program in Bioengineering draws on the expertise of faculty across the University and reflects the significant strengths of bioengineering research in multiple areas. Students accepted to the program will complete a rigorous core curriculum in basic bioengineering science followed by completion of an immersion track curriculum. There are currently seven tracks from which to choose:


  • bispTrack 1: Bioimaging and Signal Processing
    The Bioimaging and Signal Processing (BISP) track reflects Northeastern University’s outstanding research profile in various aspects of biological and biomedical imaging and image processing and signal processing. This is evidenced by the Gordon Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems, the Center for Communications and Digital Signal Processing Research, and the strong externally funded active research groups and faculty whose interest lie at the intersection of imaging, signal processing technologies, and biological and medical applications.
    Track Course Requirements - see Associated Faculty
  • Track 2: Biomechanics and Mechanobiology
    Biomechanics and mechanobiology are linked by the biological response to applied forces and strains. To understand the overall effect of load on biological systems, it is important to consider not only the deformation and shear rates which result from force application, but also the short and long-term biological responses. The Biomechanics and Mechanobiology track reflects this understanding and leverages the strong faculty research at Northeastern which is attempting to tie biomechanics to biological responses at multiple scales.
    Track Course Requirements - see Associated Faculty
  • Track 3: BioMEMs/BioNANO
    The BioMEMs/BioNANO track reflects Northeastern University’s strength as indicated by the NSF Center for High Rate Nanomanufacturing, the NSF/NCI Nanomedicine IGERT training grant and the strong Pharmaceutical Sciences Department. In addition, Northeastern also has a research presence in MEMs which, when combined with the bioengineering curriculum, will present significant interdisciplinary opportunities for students in the program.
    Track Course Requirements - see Associated Faculty
  • Track 4: Biochemical and Bioenvironmental Engineering
    The Biochemical and Bioenvironmental Engineering track reflects strengths in biochemical engineering and bioenvironmental engineering by active research programs focused in pharmaceutical bioprocessing, biomaterials, tissue engineering, drug delivery, environmental microbiology, biotreatment/bioremediation, and environmental modeling.
    Track Course Requirements - see Associated Faculty
  • Track 5: Motor Control
    The Motor Control track presents an interdisciplinary research program with the goal to understand sensorimotor processes underlying the control and coordination of human movements. Insights into learning and coordination of normal behavior will provide the basis for a better understanding of abnormal behavior as in neurological diseases such as stroke, Parkinson's Disease and their rehabilitation. This program capitalizes on the collective expertise of Northeastern faculty whose research lies at the intersection of neuroscience, biology, control theory, mechanics and dynamics.
    Track Course Requirements - see Associated Faculty


  • Track 6: Biocomputing
    The Biocomputing track draws on strengths in computer engineering and computation applied to bioengineering applications.
    Track Course Requirements - see Associated Faculty
  • Track 7: Cell and Tissue Engineering
    Cell and tissue engineering is a major strength at Northeastern University with several research labs focused on understanding and engineering living cells and tissues. These labs are elucidating the quantitative principles that govern cell fate decisions and are developing design strategies to promote the assembly and patterning of multicellular systems into viable, functional tissues. Cells are remarkable physicochemical systems that sense, respond, and actively reshape their rich microenvironment. Parsing the dialogue between the microenvironment and cells and elucidating design strategies to engineer the dynamic cellular milieu has far-reaching implications for biomedicine, including applications such as tissue engineering and the development of novel therapeutic strategies.

This pioneering, multidisciplinary research is enabled by strengths at Northeastern in key foundational areas, such as biomolecular engineering, computational modeling, developmental biology, imaging, materials science, micro- and nanofluidics, mechanobiology, molecular cell biology, and systems biology.

Cell and tissue engineering is widely recognized as a core subfield of bioengineering. A formal track in this area offers our students a program of study that capitalizes on a major strength at Northeastern.
Track Course Requirements - see Associated Faculty

  • Track 8: General Bioengineering Studies
    The General Bioengineering Studies track provides students with the flexibility to create a custom course plan depending on their individual interests, under the strong advisement of the Bioengineering Committee. This track also allows MS students to complete their degrees by doing research resulting in an MS Thesis while getting course credits.
    Track Course Requirements

The PhD in Bioengineering can be combined with a Gordon Engineering Leadership certificate. Learn more about the benefits of this unique program. 

Learning Outcomes: 

The Ph.D. programs' student learning outcomes are:

  • The ability to use basic engineering concepts flexibly in a variety of contexts.
  • Ability to formulate a research plan.
  • Ability to communicate orally a research plan.
  • Ability to conduct independent research.


Student Success Stories

  • Bioengineering a Better Treatment

    David Walsh
    PhD, Bioengineering 2016

    Every two months, North­eastern bio­engi­neering grad­uate stu­dent David Walsh’s 91-​​year-​​old grand­mother goes to the doctor to receive a drug injec­tion into