Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Doctoral (Ph.D.) Program in Biomedical Engineering

Comprehensive Exam

Ph.D. students will complete a Written Comprehensive Exam, normally before the end of the fourth term of registration within the PhD program.

The student will be tested within one of the four fields in OCIBME: 1) Medical instrumentation, 2) Biomedical image processing, 3) Biomechanics and biomaterials, and 4) Medical informatics and telemedicine. Students are expected to have a solid foundation at the senior undergraduate and junior graduate level.

The Written Exam will be scheduled as a 3-hour examination based on one or more scientific reading materials (e.g., scientific papers, textbooks) selected by the committee based on the student’s primary topic of research.

Students would be given the selection of scientific reading materials beforehand to allow them to prepare; normally, the term prior to the Comprehensive Exam. Students may be asked questions to:

  • explain or apply specific theories or methodologies
  • critique or evaluate specific methodologies
  • explain fundamental questions related to the research field described in the introduction/background
  • evaluate the discussion and conclusions given the results presented

The passing grade of the Written Comprehensive Exam is 75%. If a student fails the Written Comprehensive Exam (i.e. less than 75%), then the student will get a second chance to pass the Comprehensive Exam by completing an Oral Comprehensive Exam.

The Oral Comprehensive Exam would permit committee members to question the student in an interactive fashion. The Oral Comprehensive Exam would normally be scheduled within 4 months (one semester) after the Written Comprehensive Exam date.

The outcome of the Oral Comprehensive Exam is pass/fail grade. Failing both the Written Comprehensive Exam and the Oral Comprehensive Exam may result in the student being withdrawn from the Ph.D. program.

The Comprehensive Examination Committee should normally consist of:

  • Thesis supervisor(s) (voting member)
  • A member of OCIBME from Carleton University (voting member)
  • A member of OCIBME from the University of Ottawa (voting member)
  • Chair of the Comprehensive Examination Committee (not a voting member and does not need to be a member of the OCIBME)

Voting members are the members of OCIBME from Carleton University and the University of Ottawa.

Thesis Proposal and Oral Examination

Ph.D. students will complete a Thesis Proposal, normally before the end of the sixth term of registration within the Ph.D. program.

Students will be required to submit a Written Thesis Proposal in advance of an Oral Examination (expected length would be around 30 to 50 pages using thesis formatting guidelines).

The Written Thesis Proposal should include motivation, research objectives, literature review, methodological approach, any preliminary results obtained, potential impact and/or significance of the research, and a timeline for the completion of the proposed work.

If the Examination Committee believes the Written Thesis Proposal is acceptable, the student may proceed to the Oral Examination; otherwise, the proposal is rejected and the student is required to submit a new Written Thesis Proposal. If the Written Thesis Proposal is rejected twice, this may result in the student being withdrawn from the Ph.D. program.

In the Oral Examination, the student will provide a short presentation of the Thesis Proposal (around 15 minutes). This will be followed by two rounds of questioning from the Examination Committee, with the first round being one-on-one questioning. The Oral Examination will focus on the proposed research but the student could also be examined on other topics related to their field of research or other fundamental topics related to the thesis.

The outcome of the Oral Examination is pass/fail. If a student fails the Oral Examination, the student must pass a second Oral Examination, normally scheduled within 4 months; failing to achieve this may result in the student being withdrawn from the PhD program.

The Examination Committee for the Thesis Proposal and Oral Examination should normally be composed of the same voting members as for the Comprehensive Exam.

Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) Program in Biomedical Engineering

M.Eng. Project (BMG6000/BIOM5900)

Project in biomedical engineering supervised by an OCIBME member approved by the Director and Associate Director. Requires an in-depth report that must be presented orally. Graded S (Satisfactory) or NS (Not satisfactory) by the supervisor and by another professor appointed by the Director and Associate Director. The project can normally be completed in one session of full-time study. The time and effort associated with the project should be similar to three graduate courses

The project deliverables include a written project report (normally around 40-70 pages formatted similarly to a thesis) which must be presented orally. The project report and the presentation will be assessed by the supervisor(s) and at least an additional member of OCIBME, as well as the OCIBME Director/Associate Director (ex-officio) from the student’s home institution. Assessment outcome will be:

  1. Accepted.
  2. Accepted with minor revisions. A satisfactory grade is subject to the approval of the supervisor(s).
  3. Accepted with major revisions. A satisfactory grade is subject to the approval of the supervisor(s) and the additional member of OCIBME.
  4. Rejected. The student must resubmit a new project report.

Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) Program in Biomedical Engineering with concentration of Clinical Engineering

The M.Eng. Biomedical Engineering with specialization in Clinical Engineering is designed for students who would be eligible for certification in clinical engineering through the Canadian Board of Examiners for Certification in Clinical Engineering or the American College of Clinical Engineering after completion of their MEng degree. As certification requires the candidate to be a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.), the program would be limited to those eligible for professional certification; primarily students who hold an engineering degree from an accredited engineering program. However, while a bachelor’s in engineering is preferred, exceptional candidates with a different background but with relevant previous experience and/or extracurricular activities would also be considered.

Clinical Engineering Admission

Acceptance to the program is on a competitive basis. All students are accepted in the main M.Eng. program. In December, the Director will announce the competition for the subsequent year. Students will be required to provide their 1) CV, 2) most updated transcripts and 3) a letter of motivation. A pre-selection based on these documents will determine the candidates who will proceed to the oral interview.

The number of students accepted every year will depend on the availability of paid internships within the departments of Clinical Engineering of the OCIBME partner hospitals, namely the Heart Institute, the Ottawa Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

Students would normally complete their coursework in the first eight months of the program (Sept-Apr). They would then complete a 6-8 month internship (part-time 2-3 days/week) starting in May. The first few months of the internship can also help define a clinical engineering project, which would be competed over 8 months normally from Sept-Apr in their second academic year.

Clinical Engineering Internship (BMG5001/BIOM5801)

At the end of the student’s internship, the student will deliver a report to their supervisors (academic supervisor from the university and clinical engineering supervisor from the hospital). The report (normally around 25-50 pages) should contain the following sections:

  1. Summary of Internship Activities: A description of what the student did during the internship, who the internship worked with, and what contributions/impact the internship made. A basic timeline of activities should also be provided.
  2. Reflection on Learning Outcomes: The student should reflect upon the program Learning Outcomes (see Table 1), commenting on, if and how the learning outcomes were learned, reinforced, or demonstrated.
  3. Feedback on Internship: The student should identify and explain aspects of the internship that were excellent and any aspects that could use improvement, including appropriate suggestions.
Graduates of the MEng in Biomedical Engineering with Concentration in Clinical Engineering should be able to:
Discuss aspects of human anatomy and physiology using appropriate medical terminology.
Analyze and critique advanced research and scholarship within the field of biomedical engineering using existing bodies of knowledge.
Perform computational (e.g., modeling, signal processing) and/or experimental (e.g., data collection) procedures to solve problems or answer questions in the field of biomedical engineering. 
Critically analyze computational or experimental outcomes
Communicate (in written and oral formats) scientific ideas, issues, methods, and conclusions, to a multidisciplinary and lay audiences (e.g., people with a non-scientific background)
Identify the engineering design issues associated with the interface between engineering, biology, and health care (e.g., biocompatibility, electrical safety, privacy)
Consider, primarily, the ethical and health/safety and secondarily the legal, economic, environmental, social, political, manufacturability, and sustainability constraints and obligations associated with biomedical engineering research and practice.
Apply engineering skills and knowledge to healthcare technology to advance patient care

Clinical Engineering Project (BMG6001/BIOM5901)

Clinical Engineering students are also required to submit an in-depth report that must be presented orally. Graded S (Satisfactory) or NS (Not satisfactory) by the (co-)supervisor(s) and by another professor appointed by the Director and Associate Director.