Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Course content

The Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering is an interuniversity initiative of Ghent University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. This programme aims to deliver academically formed engineers of an outstanding international level capable of combining mathematics, physics, chemistry and life sciences with engineering techniques.


The biomedical engineer creates knowledge from the molecular to the organ and system level. He or she develops new materials, devices, tools, systems and methods for the early diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease in order to improve and guarantee the health care and quality of life of society. The student masters the necessary research and engineering skills to independently analyse and solve a given problem case. The biomedical engineer is capable of functioning in a multidisciplinary team due to an inflow of bachelor students with different educational backgrounds, teachers from diverse faculties and research areas, multidisciplinary projects with students solving multidisciplinary problem cases in group. Students acquire excellent communication skills in oral and written reporting. The biomedical engineer is aware of the ethical and socio-economic aspects of his/her profession and of our health care system, as well as the general responsibilities of the (biomedical) engineer in our society. In the fast-evolving area of biomedical engineering, the master’s programme also pays particular attention to stimulating an attitude of permanent learning.
The Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (FEA) offers most of the Master’s programmes in Engineering in English. This underlines the international ambition of the faculty, as well as the importance of international education and multiple language skills for students.

Course structure

The study programme contains 120 credits, spread over four semesters of twelve weeks each. The compulsory part of the master’s programme consists of 15 credits on basic life science courses, 21 credits on general biomedical engineering topics (biomedical imaging, bio-electronics, biomaterials, biomechanics and medical physics), 24 credits on courses relating to medical devices and 12 courses on health care. There is substantial attention for project work in teams. The remaining 48 credits are evenly split over a master’s dissertation and elective courses to be taken from one or more of our specialisation tracks in medical devices or health care.

Students are brought into contact with research and industry via participation to the National Day on Biomedical Engineering, a Biomedical Industry Day and company and field trips.. Unique for the programme is the possibility to choose a track that leads to the recognition of ‘Expert in Medical Radiation Physics’. This track consists of a package of eight elective courses (24 credits). When students choose this track, the subject of their master‘s dissertation has to be situated in the domain of medical radiation physics. (Note: to be formally recognised by the Belgian Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) as an expert in medical radiation physics, the students will have to minimally take an additional year clinical training).

Master's Dissertation
The Master’s dissertation is the tailpiece of the programme. The dissertation consists of a substantial original task of a high scientific level, to be elaborated individually by the student (surrounded and supported, however, by a research team), and thus with a high degree of independence. It is via this independent work and the written and oral dissertation report that the student demonstrates his or her capability to get familiar with a relevant biomedical engineering problem, study the problem on a high scientific level, and to report on the subject in diverse manners (master’s dissertation, poster, oral public presentation).

Programme mobility
The basic life science and a number of general biomedical engineering courses are, in principle, offered in parallel at both universities in the first semester of the first Master year, while the more specialist courses are either taught at UGent, VUB or in collaboration between both, with attention for an optimal student and teaching staff mobility. For the elective courses and the master’s dissertation, students are free to choose between UGent, VUB or a (international) partner institute with which UGent or VUB has a bilateral agreement. Obviously, students also have the opportunity to study part of their curriculum abroad within the Erasmus+ framework. The student mobility window is in the second master, where students can opt for studying one semester or the complete second year abroad. The interuniversitary programme board overlooks the programme of each individual student and might impose (a limited number) of courses, depending on their formerly acquired credits and competences. As educational tracks are assessed on an individual basis, it is important that students apply in time so individual track records can be studied with care to ensure an optimal selection of courses.

Career perspectives

The biomedical engineer is employed in industry (medical device and software development and/or production and distribution, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food products industry), in hospitals (laboratories of academic hospitals, as well as management of academic and general hospitals), universities and research institutes, and in government functions (government and advisory organs). Evidently, the biomedical engineer can also apply for all generic academic engineering jobs.