Master's Project


BME 291 - MS Thesis/Project Preparation Seminar Syllabus [docx]
BME 298 - MS Project Syllabus [docx]

Required Report Writing Guidelines

BME Thesis/Project Report Style Guide [docx]

Before you start your MS Project

Students should gear up for their MS Project at least one semester before they enroll in BME 291. In addition to clearing all the prerequisites for BME 291 (see MS-BME Degree Checklist [pdf]), the student should:

  • Identify topic areas of interest and one or more prospective technical advisors (usually, BME faculty)
  • Inquire with prospective technical advisors for available projects in the areas they identified
  • (Optional) Identify team mates
  • Reach out to potential Reading Committee members (for MS Project, you need at least one member in addition to your technical advisor)
  • Explore funding opportunities to support their project expenses
  • Consider whether they want to pursue a Project or Thesis

Once the project topic and advisor have been identified, the student should start working on getting familiar with the topic. In particular, it is recommended that, before the beginning of their BME 291 semester, the student:

  • Select and critically review some peer-reviewed papers from the relevant literature
  • Draft a list of (tentative) specific aims for their MS project

The Project Proposal

The project is generally articulated into two components: proposal (BME 291) and execution (BME 298). In the proposal, the student identifies the overall objective and articulate specific aims that will allow them to address the technological or clinical gap they identified with their literature review. In addition to demonstrate the significance and innovation of the proposed work, the student needs to show that their project is feasible by discussing in detail the materials and methodologies they will use.

Here is the general template for the structure of a MS-BME project proposal:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Objectives / Specific aims
  • Materials and Methods

By the end of the semester (BME 291), the student must defend their proposal with an oral presentation, followed by a Q&A session with the course instructor, technical advisor and Reading Committee member(s).

The Project 

Once the student has successfully defended their proposal and cleared BME 291, they are eligible to enroll in BME 298. During this semester, the student will execute the proposed work, which may include device or protocol design and validation, benchtop experiments, numerical simulation. The data collected from those activities will have to be appropriately processed, analyzed, interpreted, evaluated in light of the information available from literature review and established clinical practice.

The writeup for this part of the project should be organized into three chapters:

  • Results
  • Discussion of the main findings as well as the limitations of the project
  • Conclusions

Completion of the Project may require one or more semesters, depending primarily on the time committed by the student. Delays external to the student’s control (e.g. purchase of backordered items, equipment needing repair or maintenance, and the intrinsic uncertainties of research work) may further add to the time required to complete the Project. If the project extends beyond the BME 298 semester, the student may be required to register for BME 1290R to maintain continuous enrollment.

By the end of the semester (BME 298), the student must defend their results and conclusions with an oral presentation, followed by a Q&A session with the course instructor, technical advisor and Reading Committee member(s).

Project close-out and handover

After the final report has been formally approved by the Reading Committee, the student should work with the BME 298 course instructor, technical advisor and Graduate Advisor to finalize the following items:

  • Collect all the signatures on the signature page of the final project report
  • Submit the final project report to the Graduate Advisor
  • Obtain a CR grade in BME 298
  • Confirm with the Graduate Advisor that all the coursework listed in the approved candidacy form has been completed satisfactorily. Any deviation from the courses listed in the approved candidacy form requires the submission of a Course Substitution Request.
  • Hand over all the materials produced for the project to the technical advisor, including:
       -  all the peer-reviewed papers referenced in the report
       -  all the deliverables generated (reports, slides, protocols, manuscripts,         conference abstracts)
       -  all the experimental/numerical data generated and analyzed
       -  documentation and instructions for new equipment and software (not         already documented), for the benefit of future students
  • Clear the lab space, refrigerator space, and return all the equipment borrowed for the project.
    After all the items above have been completed, the Graduate Advisor will submit a Verification of Culminating Experience form to GAPE, on behalf of the student. GAPE will award the MS degree shortly thereafter.