The UC Santa Cruz B.S. in bioengineering program prepares graduates for a rewarding career at the interfaces between engineering, medicine, and biology. UCSC bioengineering graduates will have a thorough grounding in the principles and practices of bioengineering and in the scientific and mathematical principles upon which these principles and practices are built; graduates will be prepared for further education (both formal and informal) and for productive employment in industry.

The Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering is one of the Baskin School of Engineering's fastest growing degree programs. It is a unique interdisciplinary collaboration sponsored by four departments—biomolecular engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, and molecular, cell & developmental biology—that includes faculty from these and other programs, a few of whom are shown above.

Because of the complicated requirements and long prerequisite chains, students are advised to declare the major as soon as possible. It's important to work one-on-one with the Baskin School of Engineering advising office and a faculty advisor long before it is time to declare the major.

The program has four concentrations: Biomolecular Engineering, Bioelectronics, Assistive Technology: Motor, and Assistive Technology: Cognitive/Perceptual. The four concentrations are quite distinct from each other—almost separate majors, but they share a common core of about a dozen courses.

Biomolecular Engineering
The biomolecular engineering concentration is designed for students interested in protein engineering, stem cell engineering, and synthetic biology. The emphasis is on engineering of or with biomolecules (mainly DNA, RNA, and proteins) and cellular engineering, including stem cell engineering. Students need a thorough background in biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology, as well as enough bioinformatics to use DNA and protein databases effectively. Other subjects are touched on lightly, mainly to provide breadth. Students completing the biomolecular concentration should also be completing a bioinformatics minor.
The bioelectronics concentration is designed for students interested in the interface between organisms and electronic instrumentation or implants. The emphasis is on converting biological information into electronic signals, interfacing those signals to computer systems, and then processing and analyzing those signals. To a lesser extent, it also involves converting electronic signals into biological ones. Because many biological sensors result in color change or other optical signals, optoelectronics may also be important. Students needs a broad background in classical physics and electronics, with some chemistry.
Assistive Technology: Motor
he assistive technology: motor concentration is designed for students interested in helping people with movement disabilities. The emphasis is on designing exoskeletons, robots, and mechanical devices to aid disabled people and enhance capabilities of non-disabled people. The underlying sciences are physics and anatomy.
Assistive Technology: Cognitive/Perceptual
The assistive technology: cognitive/perceptual concentration is designed for students interested in helping people with cognitive or perceptual disabilities. The emphasis is on designing computer systems that help people compensate for disabilities, and the underlying sciences are psychology and computer science.

The Bioengineering program is not accredited by ABET, because our concentrations do not align well with the more traditional view of bioengineering held by ABET. At some future date we may split the concentrations into separate majors, some of which could be accredited by ABET.

All students work on a senior design project or senior thesis during their last year, most often by taking part in one of the many biomedical research projects taking place in UCSC's laboratories. Students often begin research projects in the second or third year, through programs such as SURF-IT, MARC/MBRS, UC LEADS, and programs of the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, or just by stopping in to see if a professor has room for an eager volunteer.

Students particularly interested in bioinformatics may wish to pursue a minor in that discipline, while others may have interests related to Molecular Biology, Electrical Engineering, or Computer Engineering. Students are well prepared to continue on to graduate programs at UCSC and elsewhere, while students continuing on to medical school should be sure to consult with the campus pre-medicine advisor.

From this page, you can find the current catalog statement, and the catalog's list of faculty, as well as research pages for the CBSE, Biomedical Research, BME, CE, EE, and MCDB. The Baskin School of Engineering advising office maintains curriculum charts for the program, and has information on declaring the major. You can also contact Undergraduate Director and B.S. in Bioengineering Chair , Professor of Bioengineering.

Students should also consider joining an engineering student organization to meet other Baskin School students.

The Office of Admissions has a one-page overview of the Bioengineering B.S and related programs, and a publications page that includes PDF pamphlets about the Baskin School of Engineering (PDF), Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering (PDF), and Health Sciences at UCSC (PDF). The Department of Computer Engineering has a publications page that includes PDF pamphlets on Assistive Technology (PDF),Robotics and Control (PDF), and Senior Design Projects (PDF). In 2011, the campus interviewed bioengineering student Chris Lam and nine other students.

Program Learning Outcomes

A bioengineering student completing the program should

  • have a broad knowledge of science and engineering disciplines including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, statistics, and computer science;
  • be able to apply their broad knowledge to identify, formulate, and solve engineering design problems;
  • be able to find and use information from a variety of sources, including books, journal articles, online encyclopedias, and manufacturer data sheets;
  • be able to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
  • be able to communicate problems, experiments, and design solutions in writing, orally, and as posters; and
  • be able to apply ethical reasoning to make decisions about engineering methods and solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.