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    Biomedical Engineering

    School of Chemical, Materials and Biological Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

    Our MSc is designed to provide you with all of the necessary technical knowledge, expertise and transferable skills to succeed in one of the fastest growing engineering disciplines.
    A photo of a Bioengineering postgraduate using modelling technology

    Course description

    Biomedical engineering (or bioengineering) is a multidisciplinary field that combines biology and engineering, and which allows you to apply engineering principles to medicine and healthcare.

    This unique course combines biomaterials, imaging and in silico medicine. It gives you the medical background, specialist knowledge, and theoretical and practical skills you’ll need to integrate biology and medicine with engineering and ultimately solve problems related to living systems. 

    We'll introduce you to the field of biomaterials, and important factors in the selection, design, and development of biomaterials for clinical applications.

    You’ll also have the chance to explore the medical devices field and product design, together with their regulatory aspects. You’ll develop experimental skills in our world-class laboratories and advanced skills in modelling. These skills are useful for simulating the complexities of the human body and for more traditional engineering contexts.

    You’ll be taught by world-leading scientists. We work closely with specialist research centres at the University of Sheffield, including Insigneo and POLARIS, along with research groups focusing on advances in biomaterials, biomedical engineering and health technologies. This means you’ll be positioned at the forefront of biomedical innovation and become part of a community of professionals in the field while you study.

    You can tailor the course to suit your interests and research project. Through optional modules and an in-depth research project you’ll have a variety of ways to explore your area of interest. Optional modules range from biomechanics to the use of virtual reality and 3D visualisation approaches.


    The course has been developed in line with accreditation standards and we aim to formally apply to IPEM and IET for the course to be accredited in the near future. We will also aim to backdate this status to those who have previously studied on the programme.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Core modules:

    Anatomy and Physiology for Engineers

    This module aims at providing students with an understanding of human physiological function from an engineering, specifically mechanical engineering, viewpoint. Introduction to human anatomy and physiology with a focus on learning fundamental concepts and applying engineering (mass transfer, fluid dynamics, mechanics, modelling) analysis and medical devices applications.

    15 credits
    Introduction to Medical Device Regulation

    Medical devices bring great benefit to patients, but it is essential to ensure that such devices are fit for purpose. This module explores the principles of regulation, and demonstrates how two of the world’s largest regulatory frameworks (European and American) reduce risks and ultimately benefit the patient, the user and the manufacturer. You will simulate companies operating in this area, and learn the roles of Quality Standards, CE Marking, Notified Bodies, Competent Authorities and other key agencies. You will develop appreciation for the changing regulatory landscape, with special attention to the emerging use of computational modelling in this context.

    15 credits
    Applied Modelling Skills and Virtual Reality

    This module aims to combine computational modelling with state-of-the-art virtual reality and demonstrate the synergistic value of these technologies. You will apply advanced finite element and finite volume modelling skills to investigate biomechanics problems associated with both cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, and deliver your results in the virtual reality format. You will also experience clinical radiation technologies such as X-ray and Angio systems through VR. The course involves a combination of theory (lectures) and computational labs. You will use the virtual reality tablets to study human anatomy and the virtual reality lab to deliver your final presentation.

    15 credits
    X-rays for Planar and Volumetric Imaging in Medicine

    This module recognises the dominant role that ionising radiation plays in imaging diagnostics and considers both planar and volumetric imaging modalities in the form of planar X-Ray imaging and Computed Tomography (CT). An important element of the module is to consider the underlying physics and engineering principles, so attention is given to ionising radiation and imaging theory as well as the technologies themselves. The principles elaborated within the lectures are consolidated through lab work which encourages exploration and deeper understanding of the taught material. The mathematics underpinning the technologies is also explored and forms a central component of the assessed material.On completion of the module, the student will have a strong grasp of X-ray imaging and the challenges of its application in the clinical environment. To add broader context, the module finishes with a cursory overview of other important imaging technologies that may be found in the hospital.

    15 credits

    Optional modules:

    Computational Biomechanics of Musculoskeletal System

    This module aims to provide you with an overview of the state-of-the-art approach for modelling the musculoskeletal system from a biomechanical point of view. The course starts with a brief review of vectors and tensors, followed by anatomy and physiology of the musculoskeletal system. You will then be introduced to a range of modelling and experimental methods applied to a variety of bones and muscles. More specialised topics will be introduced towards the end of the course giving examples where biomechanical models can be used in various clinical applications.

    15 credits
    Clinical Engineering and Computational Mechanics

    The complexity of the geometry and boundary conditions of structures within the body are such that the physical governing equations rarely have closed-form analytical solutions. This module describes some of the numerical techniques that can be used to explore physical systems, with illustrations from biomechanics, biofluid mechanics, disease treatment and imaging processes. The primary technique that will be used is the finite element method, and the fundamental concepts behind this powerful technique will be described. The lectures will be supported by laboratory sessions in which the student will apply commercial codes to investigate problems in the medical sphere.

    10 credits
    Dental Materials Science

    Evaluating the scientific principles underling Materials Science is key for evaluating the uses and applications of dental materials. There is a pressing need for the development of new approaches to dental materials teaching with focus on delivering relevant theory-orientated content in a practically addressed context. A more clinically-driven teaching scenario will allow students to be able to understand and critically analyse properties and applications of key materials currently used in Dentistry. The module will begin with an introduction to materials science, including the properties of materials and their transitions. It will then focus on dental materials used in indirect restorations, mainly metals, composites and ceramics.

    15 credits
    Bio-imaging and Bio-spectroscopy

    This unit provides a comprehensive overview of the practical and theoretical techniques for physical and chemical imaging of natural tissues, cells, and synthetic materials. The underlying physical principles behind each imaging approach will be addressed. Accordingly, the unit covers imaging techniques used for analysing biological samples, including electron, optical, fluorescent, multi-photon and super resolution microscopy techniques, alongside atomic force microscopy (AFM), Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy.

    15 credits
    Fundamental Biomechanics

    This module introduces you to the interdisciplinary field of biomechanics. You will learn how to identify fluid dynamic or fluid-structure interaction processes that occur in biological systems and will gain an understanding how to translate them into mathematical models to use as a basis to analyse them. The mechanical analysis will be carried out using the concepts of continuum mechanics. The module will cover the physics of internal flows (cardiovascular flows) and external flows (swimming and flying).

    15 credits
    Cardiovascular Biomechanics

    This module aims to provide you with an overview of state-of-the-art modelling approaches used to study the cardiovascular system from a biomechanical perspective. The module starts with a brief review of relevant principles and theories in fluid mechanics, followed by anatomy and physiology of the cardiovascular system, including blood rheology and vessel tissue mechanics. The second part gives you an overview of the modelling, analytical and experimental methods applied to several parts of the cardiovascular system. The final part will focus on more specialised topics, like the application of modelling techniques to investigate correlations with disease.

    15 credits
    Human Movement Biomechanics

    Biomechanics of human movement is the science concerned with the internal and external forces acting on the human body and the effects produced by these forces. This module will teach the students both the kinematics (the branch of biomechanics of entailing the study of movement from a geometrical point of view) and kinetics (the branch of biomechanics investigating what causes a body to move the way it does) of human movement and leverage on practical laboratory sessions to expose them to the most advanced technologies to measure and model the associated mechanical phenomena of interest.

    15 credits
    Experimental Skills for Tissue Modelling

    This module aims to provide students with an overview of in vitro cell and tissue growth and how this is measured and modelled. Students will undergo hands on training in cell culture by creating a case study in vitro system in which they will monitor cell growth and characteristics using microscopy and biochemical assays. They will learn how to calculate and predict growth rates and test conditions that may influence these. They will learn about the appropriate controls and standards that must be included to achieve robust data. By doing this they will also learn and practise professional laboratory skills.

    15 credits
    Tissue Engineering Approaches to Failure in Living Systems

    The lecture course will continue the systems-based introduction to human physiology and anatomy introduced in level 2 and explore through lectures the tissue engineering approaches to cope with disease, failure and old age in body systems. The emphasis is placed primarily on generic technologies of relevance to tissue engineering recognising that this is an enormous and growing field. Thus, the first part of the course focuses on generic issues relevant to tissue engineering of any tissues and then for the remainder of the course exemplar tissues are selected to illustrate current tissue engineering approaches and identify the challenges that remain ahead. 

    The lectures are supported by linked tutorials which focus on: (a) assessing the students understanding of their current knowledge so that they achieve immediate and informal feedback, and(b) giving the students the experience of working in small groups to apply what they have learnt in the preceding lectures to current problems. Thus a key feature of this module is to stimulating the students in critical thinking, essentially by giving them a toolkit to equip them to look critically at any tissue engineering challenge and come up with pertinent questions and experimental approaches.

    20 credits
    Biomaterials Science

    This module will explore the range of materials, both synthetic and natural, that can be used as implants in the human body, from a materials science perspective. This module will highlight the materials properties of implant materials, and will give an overview of possible host responses to the implant materials. Additionally, both physical and chemical routes to reduce the host response will be discussed. Case studies of hard and soft tissue implants will be discussed. Finally, the module will highlight the use of artificial organs. 

    15 credits
    Structural and Physical Properties of Dental and Bio-materials.

    The bulk and surface properties of biomaterials used for regenerative medicine and dental applications directly influence and control the dynamic interactions at the interfacial level. Therefore, it is not only important to understand Structural and Physical Properties of Biomaterials but also view it as a process between the implanted materials and the host environment. It is important to understand these specific properties of biomaterials prior to any medical or dental applications. This module will provide students with knowledge of Structural and Physical Properties in relation with Dental Materials and Biomaterials, enabling them to understand links between biomaterials, regenerative medicine, dentistry and engineering. In addition, it will help them in understanding the hard and soft materials, chemical properties, mechanical properties, thermal properties, including surface modification and their characterisation. The module will provide an understanding of how these elements play a vital role in the success of regenerative medicine and clinical dentistry.

    15 credits
    Human Factors and User-Centred Design

    The module is designed to give students an introduction to human factors and user-centred design and how they are used within the design process (alongside engineering analysis, manufacturing considerations, marketing etc.). The module concentrates on developing an understanding of how populations are characterised and how that influences design decisions. It gives an overview of the theory and practices surrounding design with humans before asking students to apply those theories in a series of case studies. The module gives students an opportunity to work within a team and learn from peers as they tackle the case studies.

    15 credits
    Computational Mechanics with Clinical Applications

    The complexity of biological systems typically requires numerical approaches to solve the governing systems of differential equations. This module introduces the finite difference and finite element techniques, with examples of applications for clinically relevant problems. This includes both direct implementation using programming methods and use of established computational codes. Module assessment focusses on the application and critical review of finite difference and finite element analysis.

    15 credits
    Vascular Cell Biology

    This module explores the molecular mechanisms underlying cardiovascular disease and introduces the students to basic knowledge on which the following module is based. The module builds upon the research in the Department of Cardiovascular Science, exploring the cellular mechanisms, molecules and signalling pathways involved in the pathology of vascular diseases.
    The module incorporates a laboratory experience; students will gain hands-on experience of cell biology methods that we use to understand vascular biology function. There is a strong emphasis on using experimental approaches to test hypotheses and an ability to apply background knowledge to assess experimental results.

    15 credits
    Vascular Disease: models & clinical practice

    This module builds on the basic cellular and molecular principles learnt in the previous module (CDL401). The module examines the value of in vivo model systems in testing hypotheses and the development of classical and emerging therapies is explored.
    The module also examines how basic science is translated into clinical practise and therapy. The module covers global epidemiology, drug treatment and clinical intervention and considers relevant ethical issues. Students will have the opportunity to visit the cardiovascular and cardiology clinical departments, clinical research facility and to observe a current clinical interventional technique.

    15 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    1 year full-time


    You’ll learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, laboratories and coursework assignments. You’ll be expected to conduct private study, the amount of which will vary from module to module. Reading lists will be provided.

    You’ll also work closely with one of the masters teaching staff on a project topic of your choice.


    You’ll be assessed by a variety of means, including written examinations, coursework submissions (which include design studies, laboratory reports, computational assignments and research topics), poster and oral presentations and a formative assessment.

    Your career

    Our graduates develop a broad skill set to succeed in a growing discipline, which is at the interface between engineering and the life sciences.

    You'll have the opportunity to work as a clinical engineer or as a research and development engineer in the biomedical engineering industrial sector. 

    The breadth of skills you’ll acquire also gives you the opportunity to flourish in a more traditional engineering environment. For example, you could become a consultant engineer or you could follow a research pathway and continue to study on a PhD.

    Careers and employability - Biomedical Engineering MSc


    School of Chemical, Materials and Biological Engineering

    Like the industry, biomedical engineering at Sheffield is interdisciplinary. You'll be taught by experts in materials, mechanical, control, electrical, chemical and biological engineering, computer science, medicine and biology.

    From 3D printing and biophotonics, to tissue and bone engineering, we're helping to develop products that improve medical care and quality of life. Our research-led teaching produces multi-skilled graduates who can carry on that work.

    You will develop the knowledge and skills employers are looking for by working closely with partners in the healthcare profession and in industry such as Philips, Johnson and Johnson and the NHS.

    Entry requirements

    A minimum 2:2 in a bachelors honours degree in an engineering subject (eg mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, control engineering, general engineering, chemical engineering, bioengineering, or biomedical engineering) or a pure sciences subject (eg maths, physics).

    You will need a strong background and high previous performance in a maths module (eg advanced maths, calculus, modelling) and a physics module (eg solid/fluid mechanics, materials).

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.


    You can apply now using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.