Cardiac engineering is a discipline that encompass all the electrical activity of the heart, includes both basic science and clinical components, and spans a spectrum from the molecular to the complete body. Research in this area addresses some of the most basic questions of how cells, organs, and the body function and also seeks to develop methods, interventions, and devices that could have profound impact on diseases of the heart and vasculature. Despite dramatic improvements in clinical detection and care, cardiovascular diseases remain the leading causes of death in developed countries. Research in cardiac engineering makes use of the most advanced technologies in areas such as bioinstrumentation, multichannel signal acquisition and processing, molecular biology, imaging across many modalities, mathematical simulation and modeling, and all aspects of computer technology.

As a result of this diversity of biomedical and technical opportunities, students with graduate training in cardiac electrophysiology and biophysics receive a very broad education in both physiology and biomedical technology and will be extremely well equipped for careers in academia and industry. The program makes use of background courses from several departments as well as specialized training in the discipline through both courses and extensive laboratory experiences. Because of the outstanding research emphasis on cardiac engineering at Utah, there also exist rich opportunities for interaction with a wide range of experts in the field as well as involvement in interdisciplinary projects within teams of related researchers and students.

Masters Students

M.S. students in the Cardiac Engineering Track must successfully complete the course requirements outlined below, as well as the total course credit hour requirement of the M.S. degree program.

  • BME 6000 – Systems Physiology I: cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal systems (4)
  • BME 6002 – Molecular Biophysics (3)
  • BME 6003 – Cellular Electrophysiology and Biophysics (3)
  • BME 6460 – Electrophysiology and Bioelectricity of Tissues (3)
  • BME 6464 – Cardiac Electrophysiology and Biophysics Seminar (1)
  • One additional, graduate-level course related to the specific research area of interest, for example:
    • BME 5401 – Medical Imaging Systems
    • BME 6500 – Mathematics of Imaging
    • BME 6640 – Introduction to Image Processing (3)
    • BME 6330 – Principles of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (3)
    • BME 6500 – Mathematics of Imaging (3)
    • BME 7310 – Advanced Topics in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    • CS 6210 – Advanced Scientific Computing I
    • CS 6220 – Advanced Scientific Computing II

Ph.D. Requirements

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam

Ph.D. students in the Cardiac Engineering track are expected to have general knowledge in electrophysiology and biophysics of the cell, tissue, and whole heart as well as in one field of special application. A student who, for example, applies computational methods to problems in cardiac electrophysiology, should have knowledge in both areas. The material for the qualifying exam will be based on topics covered in the three required courses and there will be a strong emphasis on the integration of electrophysiology across scales, explaining, for example, features of the body-surface ECG from cellular and tissue level behavior of the heart.

Program of Study

The course selection that will be appropriate for each student in the Cardiac Engineering track will vary and depend highly on the specific research project in which the student participates. It will be especially important to choose courses that provide both the scientific background and the technical skills required to carry out this research. The Program of Study is a list created by the student and the supervisory committee of all courses to be completed by the student as part of the requirements for the Ph.D. The Program of Study requires formal approval by the student’s advisor, Dissertation Supervisory Committee, and Director of Graduate Studies.

Additional Courses

Below is a collection of courses available at the University of Utah that may be appropriate for the Cardiac Engineering track.

  • Biomedical Engineering
    • BME 6640 – Introduction to Image Processing (3)
    • BME 6330 – Principles of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (3)
    • BME 6500 – Mathematics of Imaging (3)
    • BME 7310 – Advanced Topics in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    • BME 7320 – 3-D Reconstruction Techniques in Medical Imaging
    • BME 7330 – Positron Emission Tomography (3)
  • Physiology
    • PHYSL 6040 – Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Biology
    • BIOL 5910 – Math Models in Biology
    • BIOL 6500 – Advanced Statistical Modeling for Biologists
    • BIOL 5210 – Cell Structure and Function
    • BIOL 5110 – Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering
    • BIOL 6290 – Fundamentals of Biological Microscopy
  • Computer Science (scientific computing and software)
    • CS 5010 and 5020 – Software Practice I and II
    • CS 5600 – Introduction to Computer Graphics
    • CS 5610 – Introduction to Numerical Analysis I
    • CS 5620 – Introduction to Numerical Analysis II
    • CS 6100 – Foundations of Computer Science
    • CS 6820 – Parallel Computer Architecture
    • CS 6210 – Scientific Computing I
    • CS 6220 – Scientific Computing II
    • CS 6820 – Parallel Computer Architecture
  • Electrical Engineering (signal processing, electromagnetics)
    • EE 5510 – Random Processes
    • EE 5530 – Digital Signal Processing
    • EE 5551 – Survey of Optimization Techniques
    • EE 6340 – Numerical Techniques in Electromagnetics
    • EE 6540 – Estimation Theory
    • EE 6560 – Multivariable Systems
    • EE 6640/1 – Advanced Digital Signal Processing I/II
  • Mathematics
    • Math 5110 and 5120 – Mathematical Biology I and II
    • Math 5040 – Stochastic Processes and Simulation I
    • Math 5050 – Stochastic Processes and Simulation II
    • Math 5250 – Matrix Analysis
    • Math 5410 – Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations
    • Math 5440 – Introduction to Partial Differential Equations
    • Math 5470 – Applied Dynamical Systems
    • Math 5600 – Survey of Numerical Analysis
    • Math 5610 – Introduction to Numerical Analysis I
    • Math 5740 – Mathematical Modeling
    • Math 6630 – Numerical Solutions of Partial Differential Equations
    • Math 6740 – Bifurcation Theory
    • Math 6770 – Mathematical Biology I
    • Math 6780 – Mathematical Biology II
  • Physics
    • PHYCS 6720 – Introduction to Computing in Physics
    • PHYCS 6730 – Computational Physics 2


Questions regarding the Cardiac Engineering track should be directed to Dr. Frank Sachse.