Guide to Classes

IMPORTANT: If you would like to take Human Anatomy, please notify Kay Beard early. Due to the limited number of spots in the course, these spots will be filled on a first-come-first-served basis. Anatomy starts in August (earlier than other SOM and Homewood classes) so you must be in Baltimore by then. If you would like to take Anatomy, it is highly recommended that you matriculate in July.

Read this guide to understand the course requirements and what classes to take.

Types of Courses

From here on out, we will be referring to three types of classes:

  1. 1st Year JHU Medical School Classes: Classes taken at the School of Medicine with medical students (in the Armstrong Building). If you enroll for these, you MUST be sure to follow all guidelines listed below. Failure to do so will disqualify you for taking these courses.
  2. School of Medicine PhD and School of Public Health Classes: Classes taken at the School of Medicine or the School of Public Health with the other graduate students (in various buildings on the med campus).
  3. Homewood Campus Classes: These are classes taken at the Homewood campus with graduate or undergraduate engineers, mathematics majors, and science majors. You will all eventually be required to take your graduate level engineering courses at this campus. Here’s the link to search for traditional semester classes at Homewood:

Registering for Courses

  • Medical school classes go through the same way as above with limited seating, Kay will email about who wants to enroll as well -> fill out a form with medical school class info

If you are taking the first-year medical school courses, on the other hand, registration is handled directly through Kay Beard. You must let her know you are interested in taking a medical school course, far in advance of the start of the course. For 1st Year Medical School Classes, you are required to follow a set of guidelines. Failure to do so will cause you to lose your ability to enroll in them. IMPORTANT: Due to a new policy on limited seating for medical courses, you may only enroll in these classes with approval from the BME Department (via Kay Beard), the Medical School Coordinator, and the SOM Registrar’s Office ([email protected]). Be sure to verify your enrollment with all three together in one email. 

For Homewood classes, however, you can register for classes well into the semester. For this reason, you have quite a bit of time to shop for courses if you wish. In general, it is easier to add a course than to drop it, so it is okay to start taking a course before registering for it. On the other hand, you can register for a class a week or two into the semester, thus students often try out Homewood classes before registering.

Course Schedules

  1. Medical school courses are short in duration, generally lasting a couple of weeks to a couple months, and are full time (8am-3pm M-F).
  2. School of Medicine PhD courses and School of Public Health courses are on a quarter schedule.
  3. Homewood courses are on a traditional semester schedule.

Course Requirements for the BME PHD Program

  • 12 credits of biological or medical sciences
  • 12 credits of engineering, applied math, or quantitative biology (all classes must be 400 level or higher, with at least 2 courses at the 600/700 level, 1 course has to have “substantial theory content”). The department ultimately decides which classes qualify, so you will need to confirm your choices with them.
  • 6 of either biology or engineering

Course Selection

The class options are very flexible, and if there are courses you would like to get credit for but aren’t below, you can often talk to Kay and see if they will count.  Here is a document with student reviews of courses they have taken to help you determine which courses fit your interests/background.

The course requirements for BME students are hefty, but very flexible. You can take courses from whatever department, including med school courses, SOM grad school courses, Homewood science courses, Homewood engineering courses, Homewood applied math courses. If you want to know if a course gets your credit, email Kay Beard.

Course Listings

School of Medicine PhD Class Schedule

Homewood Class Schedule

Options for Biology Courses

Students generally finish, or nearly finish, their biology requirement within the first year. You have a few options. You can generally also mix and match courses… you just need to get whatever you are doing approved by Kay.

* Medical School Courses:

The medical school curriculum consists of courses that are for all intents and purposes a full time obligation for the duration that you are in the course. The class meets 8am until the early afternoon Mon-Fri. They are very fast paced, and during the courses you are generally not required to be doing a substantial amount of research in addition to them. They range from being 2 weeks to 8 weeks long, approximately. The med school courses are fast-paced and cover a lot of material. You do not really have assignments in these classes, but they require a lot of studying. End of class exams are multiple choice and require a 70% to pass. You also have chances to hear patients speak and learn about the clinical aspects of the fields you study. Many students opt to do the 1st year Medical School courses because you complete all 18 of your required biology credits by the end of January.

NOTE: You will not be able to take any other classes (for credit) while you are taking medical school classes. You may choose to audit a class while taking mad school classes (but it is not recommended).

* Neuroscience Grad School Curriculum
* Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology (BCMB) First Year Grad Curriculum

BCMB is a basic science department within the School of Medicine. Their first year students take a series of courses, covering topics in macromolecules, biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, immunology, genomics, organic chemistry, pathways/regulation, and bioinformatics. These courses cover many similar topics as the Scientific Foundations of Medicine med school course, but in much more depth.

*Other biology courses, including quantitative biology courses thru BME, systems bioengineering through BME, School of Medicine graduate courses, Homewood biology courses, etc.

Options for Engineering Courses

Alternatively, many students start taking engineering courses their first year. Courses from a wide variety of departments can count (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Material Science, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical/Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Applied Math, Computer Science, just to name a few).

One of these courses must be a 600 level course or higher and be deemed to have “substantial theory content.”

If you want to know if an engineering class has “substantial theory content,” the best way to find out is to ask Kay Beard via email.