Engineering at Hopkins

Johns Hopkins has always been at the forefront of innovative knowledge and new fields of study. In the engineering world, that means bioengineering. A number of majors and programs are exploring how engineering principles help solve problems in medicine and biology. Each program prepares students for careers in research, medicine, industry, and academia; all are ABET accredited.

Biomaterials Engineering

Biomaterials engineering is a challenging specialized program track within the materials science and engineering major; successful completion of the track is noted on the student’s transcript. Biomaterials is a rapidly developing interdisciplinary field at the interface of materials science, engineering, biology, and medicine. Biomaterials engineers develop materials used in applications such as tissue engineering, drug and gene delivery, and medical implants and devices. Biomaterials engineering requires in-depth understanding of the properties of materials and their interactions with the physiological environment.

Designed to provide a firm grounding in the physics, chemistry, and biology of biomaterials, the program also emphasizes breadth in general engineering, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences. Students are encouraged to gain hands-on experience in biomaterials research laboratories. The program seeks to educate students to reach the forefront of leadership in the field.


Biomechanics is a concentration offered both within the mechanical engineering and engineering mechanics majors. The essence of mechanics is the interplay between forces and motion.

In biology, mechanics is important at the macroscopic, cellular, and subcellular levels. At the macroscopic level, the biomechanics of soft and hard tissues plays important roles in computer-integrated surgical systems and technologies, such as medical robotics. At the cellular level, issues such as cell motility and chemotaxis can be modeled as mechanical phenomena. At the subcellular level, conformational transitions in biological macromolecules can be modeled using molecular dynamics simulation, statistical mechanics, or techniques that rely on principles from the mechanics of materials.

In consultation with their adviser, students pursuing a biomechanics concentration choose technical electives that best match their interests.

Biomedical Engineering

The Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering department is recognized as a world leader in preparing students for careers in industry and business and for graduate education in engineering, medicine, and science. Biomedical engineering differs from other branches of engineering in that there is no particular subject matter or set of techniques that belong exclusively to this discipline. Rather, biomedical engineers integrate knowledge from the traditional engineering disciplines to solve problems in living systems.

The curriculum challenges students to analyze problems from both an engineering and a biological perspective. Beginning in the freshman year, the department strives to empower students to explore and define their own frontiers in a context of ethical, professional conduct.

Important note: Students wishing to enroll in the biomedical engineering (BME) major must indicate BME as their first-choice major on their application. Students are admitted specifically into the BME major, based on evaluation of credentials and space available. Students can be admitted to the university without acceptance to the BME major. No separate application is required.

Notification of acceptance into the BME major is given at the time of decision notification. A limited number of transfer majors for matriculated students may be available through the Biomedical Engineering Department at the close of each academic year.

Early Decision applicants who are admitted to Johns Hopkins and who applied to but were not admitted to the BME major at that time will be allowed to apply to and consider offers of admission from other institutions. Students in this circumstance only will be released from the obligation to matriculate at Johns Hopkins under the original conditions of the Early Decision Plan. Such candidates must still reply to Johns Hopkins’ offer of admission by the January 15 deadline.


Biophysics is the application of the analytical viewpoints, methods and/or instrumentation of physics to the investigation of biological problems. The discipline ranges over areas such as molecular structure and energetics, motility, protein folding, and membrane structure and assembly. The foundations of the biophysics major at Johns Hopkins are core courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, and biology. Upper-level biophysics courses are both molecular and systems based, and two courses offer an introduction to computer programming with an emphasis on molecular questions. Additional upper science electives can be chosen to customize the major to have an emphasis in a desired area, such as physics or biology. The biophysics major requires two semesters of original research that is carried out in a nationally funded laboratory of the student’s choice.

The biophysics major meets all the requirements for medical school, prepares undergraduates for graduate school in a number of different areas, and enables students to obtain a research job immediately after graduation.

Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

The chemical and biomolecular engineering major is dedicated to chemical, biological, and physical transformations starting at the molecular scale. Students find employment in industries such as chemicals, biotechnology, materials, energy, pharmaceuticals, biomedical, consumer products, and the environment.

Graduates may embark on a career to produce the next biopharmaceutical blockbuster drug treating cancer or autoimmune disease, design more efficient fuel cells, design a new gene therapy or drug delivery device, create a material for organ therapy and tissue replacement, or create an engineered nanodevice for the electronics industry.

Students are educated in the essential chemical and biomolecular engineering paradigms of transport, kinetics, and thermodynamics essential to solving complex engineering problems. Electives can be chosen from areas such as materials science, nanotechnology, and bioengineering.

Students also have the opportunity to complete one of two possible concentrations. Students wishing to study nanomaterials, surface science, self-assembly, and applications of these subjects can pursue a concentration in interfaces and nanotechnology. Students wishing to study molecular and cellular events in biological systems and their applications can pursue a concentration in molecular and cellular bioengineering.


Students interested in biotechnology areas such as robotic surgery, bio-informatics, natural language processing, image processing, or computer security might consider a major in computer engineering or computer science.

Computer Engineering

Airbag systems in automobiles, biomedical sensors that automatically administer medication, computer-controlled flight management systems in aircraft, speech recognition systems—these are just a few of the transformative technologies that involve computer engineering. Solutions to many of society’s challenges require the development of intricate sysems that integrate computers and electronics.

The curriculum emphasizes hands-on laboratory experience to complement more theoretical courses. Courses include digital system design, integrated circuit design, computer architecture, microprocessors, design and analysis of algorithms, software engineering, and communications and networking. A combination five-year B.S./M.S.E. degree program is offered.

Computer Science

Computer science is an evolving discipline which consists not only of fascinating problems and fundamental techniques within the field, but also impacts many other disciplines. Whether your dream job is to develop the latest applications for Google or Microsoft, create the greatest computer game ever, solve the current problems with electronic voting systems, invent robots for medical or environmental applications, build a universal language translator, or run your own e-business, a computer science degree at Johns Hopkins can get you started.

We offer a bachelor of science (BS) degree and a bachelor of arts (BA) degree. Both programs build a balanced foundation in computer science, but also afford students flexibility to specialize in their junior and senior years. Concentrations within the department revolve around our course work and research strengths: computer security, natural language processing, computer systems, computer games, software engineering and robotics. Combinations with other programs, such as a minor in business and entrepreneurship, a double major in mathematics, or a master’s in security informatics, are quite feasible.

Environmental Engineering

The field of environmental engineering is dedicated to the study and amelioration of Earth’s environmental problems. Such problems are complex and multifaceted, and successful solutions must operate within the constraints imposed by societal concerns. As a result, environmental engineering is a highly interdisciplinary endeavor. The B.S. program is intended to provide a strong foundation in the physical, chemical, biological, and social sciences, as well as in mathematics, engineering science, and engineering design.

This broad and flexible training provides an ideal preparation for future employment in business or industry or for subsequent study at the graduate level, either in environmental engineering or in a field such as environmental law, public health, or medicine. A combination five-year B.S./M.S.E. degree program is an option.