Starting in 2017–18, the bioengineering major has three concentrations (for the earlier curricula see Old Concentrations and Electives).  For detailed curricular requirements for each concentration, see the curriculum charts.

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 also complete a bioinformatics minor.

Although the lower-level Physics 6 series is acceptable for this concentration, we will continue advising that students take the Physics 5 series.  Physics 6 is permitted primarily to allow easier transfer from the MCD Biology major, where students are not expected to take Physics 5.


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.

The Physics 5 series is required for the bioelectronics concentration.

Assistive Technology: Motor

The 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.

Physics 5A and 5C are required for the bioelectronics concentration, as is CMPE 9 (Statics).