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Engineering in Healthcare Graduate Certificate

The purpose of the Engineering in Healthcare graduate certificate is to assist graduates in engineering and select science and mathematics undergraduate programs to extend their careers into the healthcare field and allow them to formally explore biomedical engineering without committing to a master’s degree program.

Benefits to those who successfully complete the Engineering in Healthcare graduate certificate include:

  • enhancement of the student's application to, and academic preparedness for, medical or dental school
  • near-term attainment of a recognized metric of academic achievement in a field utilizing one's undergraduate background
  • research experience in healthcare-related fields and potential co-authorship on peer-reviewed publications
  • new letters of recommendation from engineering, medical or dental faculty
  • demonstrate productive use of the “gap year” between completion of undergraduate studies and the commencement of the medical or dental schools
  • the option to apply all course work completed in pursuit of this certificate towards a master’s degree in biomedical engineering in the event that medical or dental school is not an option

Who Should Enroll

Students should consider pursuing the Engineering in Healthcare certificate if they wish to:

  • achieve a “career-extension” into the healthcare field
  • improve their academic preparedness for medical or dental school by minimizing the educational gap between their undergraduate educational curriculum and medical or dental school curriculum
  • productively occupy the time between undergraduate studies and enrollment in medical or dental school
  • improve the number and quality of their letters of recommendation authored by UK biomedical engineering, medical or dental school faculty attributable to productive certificate-relevant student research done in conjunction with these faculty
  • experience the field of biomedical engineering without formally committing to the master’s program
  • facilitate the transition from traditional engineering, science or mathematics backgrounds into biomedical engineering
  • obtain a healthcare-related career alternative if medical or dental school admission is not an option
  • gain meaningful real-world biomedical research experience and a deeper understanding of the mechanism of healthcare knowledge creation and evaluation
  • explore a career in academic healthcare research

Admission Requirements

Prospective students for this certificate must have an:

  1. Earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited post-secondary school (or equivalent) or a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, mathematics or physics,
  2. Official GPA of 3.0 or greater at the institution granting the bachelor’s degree
  3. Official transcript demonstrating successful completion (grade B or better) in each of two courses (minimum six credit-hours total) of college mathematics (consisting of differential and integral calculus)

All three criteria must be met.

The certificate director must also approve applicants for admission to this program prior to taking any classes that will be counted towards the certificate.

Students enrolled in the M.S. or Ph.D. programs in biomedical engineering at the University of Kentucky are generally ineligible for the proposed Engineering in Healthcare graduate certificate.

Certificate Requirements

Successful completion of the Engineering in Healthcare certificate requires:

  • Completion of the two required courses (BME 530 and BME 640, four credit hours total)
  • Completion of additional elective student-chosen certificate courses totaling at least 9 credit hours
  • Attainment of a certificate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or greater


Curriculum for the Engineering in Healthcare certificate allows students the flexibility to attain their self-perceived educational needs. There are two required courses in this curriculum: BME 530 (Instrumentation, three credits) and BME 640 (Biomedical Engineering Ethics, one credit). Students may choose the remainder of their certificate studies (minimum 9 credits) from a variety of graduate biomedical engineering courses that include classroom instruction, independent study and hands-on research. Students may choose these courses across the spectrum of biomedical engineering to gain a broad perspective, or they may choose closely related courses to gain expertise in a particular subspecialty field.

Upon request, the certificate director will provide students opting for the latter with course selection guidance. Students choosing biomedical engineering research (BME 790) can apply no more than three credit hours towards completion of the certificate. Principles of Human Physiology 412g (4 credits), Principles of Systems, Cellular and Molecular Physiology 502 (5 credits), and Statistics 570 or 580 are also elective courses in this curriculum. Detailed information regarding the required and elective courses in the certificate curriculum is presented in the University of Kentucky Bulletin.

Students may take courses in the certificate curriculum that total more than the required minimum of 13 credit hours; however, such students must either distribute their coursework over two or more semesters or formally obtain permission for an overload from The Graduate School and so notify the certificate director.

How to Apply

Application for admission to the Engineering in Healthcare Certificate is accomplished via the UK Graduate School by using Hobson’s “Apply Yourself” on-line application network. More than 700 colleges and universities use this application network. Admission to this certificate requires completion of the noted application form and submission of an undergraduate transcript. No examinations or letters of recommendation are required.

Associated faculty

Associated Certificate Faculty


David Pienkowski, Ph.D., MBA

Associate Professor and Certificate Director: advise certificate students, teach classroom courses and offer research courses

Babak Bazrgari, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor: teach classroom courses and offer research courses

Abhijit Patwardhan, Ph.D.

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, teach classroom courses and offer research courses

Sridhar Sunderam, PhD

Associate Professor: teach classroom courses and offer research courses

Guoqiang Yu, PhD

Professor: teach classroom courses and offer research courses

Guigen Zhang, Ph.D.

Professor and Department Chair: teach classroom courses, offer research courses

For additional information, contact:

David Pienkowski, Ph.D., MBA
Director, Engineering in Healthcare Graduate Certificate
F. Joseph Halcomb III, M.D. Department of Biomedical Engineering