Cardiovascular engineering is a discipline which covers a wide range of topics related to function of the cardiovascular system, mechanisms of cardiovascular diseases, and their treatment. Cardiovascular engineering includes basic science and translational to clinical use and spans the spectrum from the molecular scale to the complete body. Research in cardiovascular engineering addresses some of the most basic questions of how cells, organs, and the body function. The research also seeks to develop diagnostic approaches, interventions, and biomedical devices that have profound impact on treatment of patients with cardiac diseases. Despite dramatic improvements in clinical diagnosis and care, cardiovascular diseases remain the leading causes of death in developed countries. Research in cardiovascular engineering makes use of the most advanced technologies in areas such as molecular and cellular biology, bioinstrumentation, imaging across many modalities, signal and image processing, machine learning, mathematical simulation and modeling, and all aspects of computer technology.

As a result of this diversity of biomedical and technical research, students with graduate training in cardiovascular engineering receive a broad education in physiology, cardiac diseases and biomedical technology. The graduates 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 cardiovascular 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 Cardiovascular 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.

Ph.D. Requirements

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam

Ph.D. students in the Cardiovascular Engineering track are expected to have general knowledge in physiology and biophysics of cells, tissues and whole hearts, and one field of special application. For example, a student who applies computational methods to problems in cardiac electrophysiology should have knowledge in computation and electrophysiology. The material for the qualifying exam will be based on topics covered in three required courses: BME 6000, BME 6003, and BME 6460. There will be a strong emphasis on the integration of physiology 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 Cardiovascular 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 that contains 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.

Life-Science Fundamentals

In addition to the standard guidelines for their Life-Science Fundamentals, students in this track must take the following course to satisfy the physiology credits of the life-science fundamental requirement.

  • BME 6000 – Systems Physiology I: Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Renal Systems

Cardiovascular Track Fundamentals

Mandated: 3 of 3 required

  • BME 6003 – Cellular Electrophysiology and Biophysics
  • BME 6460 – Electrophysiology and Bioelectricity of Tissues
  • BME 6464 – Cardiac Electrophysiology and Biophysics Seminar (2x)

Selected: 1 required, more recommended

  • BME 5480 – Ultrasound
  • BME 6002 – Molecular Biophysics
  • BME 6330 – Principles of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • BME 6401 – Medical Imaging Systems
  • BME 6500 – Mathematical Foundations of Imaging
  • BME 6640 – Introduction to Image Processing
  • BME  6702 – Introduction to Image-Based Modeling
  • CS 6210 – Advanced Scientific Computing I
  • CS 6220 – Advanced Scientific Computing II

Cardiovascular Engineering Advanced Electives

Biomedical Engineering

  • BME 6433 – Advanced Biomedical Signal Processing
  • BME 7320 – 3-D Reconstruction Techniques in Medical Imaging


  • BIOL 5110 – Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering
  • BIOL 5210 – Cell Structure and Function
  • BIOL 5910 – Mathematical Models in Biology
  • BIOL 6290 – Fundamentals of Biological Microscopy
  • BIOL 6500 – Advanced Statistical Modeling for Biologists

Computer Science

  • CS 5010 – Software Practice I
  • CS 5020 – Software Practice II
  • CS 5530 – Database Systems
  • CS 5610 – Interactive Computer Graphics
  • CS 6100 – Theory of Computation
  • CS 6140 – Data Mining
  • CS 6300 – Artificial Intelligence
  • CS 6320 – Computer Vision
  • CS 6350 – Machine Learning
  • CS 6630 – Visualization for Data Science
  • CS 6635 – Visualization for Scientific Data
  • CS 6640 – Introduction to Digital Image Processing

Electrical & Computer Engineering

  • ECE 5510 – Random Processes
  • ECE 5530 – Digital Signal Processing
  • ECE 5531 – Survey of Optimization Techniques
  • ECE 6340 – Numerical Techniques in Electromagnetics
  • ECE 6530 – Digital Signal Processing
  • ECE 6532 – Digital Image Processing
  • ECE 6540 – Estimation Theory


  • MATH 5040 – Stochastic Processes and Simulation I
  • MATH 5050 – Stochastic Processes and Simulation II
  • MATH 5110 – Mathematical Biology I
  • MATH 5120 – Mathematical Biology II
  • 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 6740 – Bifurcation Theory
  • MATH 6770 – Mathematical Biology I
  • MATH 6780 – Mathematical Biology II


  • NEUSC 6040 – Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


  • PHYS 6720 – Introduction to Computing in Physics
  • PHYS 6730 – Computational Physics II


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