Ph.D. Bioengineering Program

Clemson/MUSC Joint Bioengineering Program

The Clemson/MUSC Bioengineering Program is the manifestation of a rapidly growing educational and research partnership between Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) dedicated to excellence in education, and to interdisciplinary bioengineering research and the clinical translation of its outcomes.

The goal of this collaborative program is to bridge the physical, engineering, and computational sciences with the biomedical and life sciences to enable:

  1. Research leading to understanding fundamental biological and disease processes.
  2. Application of engineering and physical science principles to biological systems.
  3. Advances in healthcare and biomedical technologies through multidisciplinary and translational research.
  4. Education and training of a highly competent and resourceful biomedical engineering workforce for the future.

Since its inception, the program has grown to comprise seven primary faculty from Clemson University, who are permanently located and conduct their research full-time on the MUSC campus in Charleston, SC, and twenty-six basic science and clinical faculty from the MUSC, who hold program faculty appointments in the program. This program also currently has 26 graduate students and 5 postdoctoral fellows on-site at MUSC. As a result of this program, bioengineering research and education collaborations have been established in ten departments and colleges at MUSC in areas involving cancer, heart disease, neuroscience, orthopaedics, rehabilitation, dental and craniofacial applications, ophthalmology, surgery, and pharmacology.

This program has faculty pursuing key and emerging niche sub-disciplines in bioengineering, such as:

  • Biomaterial design and testing
  • Biofabrication
  • Nanotechnology
  • Matrix and tissue engineering
  • Stem cell engineering and regenerative medicine
  • Orthopedic, dental, and maxillofacial reconstruction
  • Bio-transport and drug delivery
  • Biomechanics and computational modeling
  • Bioimaging

The Clemson-MUSC Joint Bioengineering Program, whereby Clemson bioengineering faculty and students conduct their research, training, and other scholarly activities on the MUSC campus, was initiated in 2003. The partnership continues to mature and flourish with 7 primary Clemson Bioengineering faculty, 26 graduate students (6 MS and 20 Ph.D.), and 5 postdoctoral fellows on-site in Charleston. Four of these faculty members are T-COHR mentors and one is also the COHR Director and T32 PI (Hai Yao). 

Clemson bioengineering students take coursework from Clemson and MUSC faculty on the MUSC campus, as well as via videoconferencing from Clemson University. The program is a credit to both universities as a model for collaborative efforts aimed at bridging disciplines and institutions. Clemson’s bioengineering graduate program defines its own degree requirements, which include a defined set of core courses, rules guiding the selection of a dissertation advisory committee, a defined written qualifying exam taken at the end of the 2nd year of graduate study, submission, and defense of a plan of research, which constitutes the oral qualifying exam, and submission and defense of a dissertation describing an original piece of research.

T-COHR trainees are required to submit their NSF Graduate Research Fellowship during their 1st year of study. They must also submit their individual NRSA F31 applications as soon as they are ready, though no later than April of their 3rd year. Students who desire training in clinical dentistry can enroll in dental school courses, including Dental Morphology, Occlusion, and Dental Materials.