Duke MD Students

MD/Master of Engineering Dual Degree Program at Duke University

MD candidates in Duke’s School of Medicine have the option of adding the Master of Engineering (MEng) degree in a 5-year program. Students spend four years (Years 1, 2, 4 and 5) in medical school to fulfill the MD curriculum requirements, and one year (Year 3) to take the required MEng courses. In the fourth year, students work on development of new technologies or engineering approaches (including optimization/system analysis or feasibility analysis, etc.) for improving human health and write a thesis, for which they will receive School of Medicine credit in fulfillment of their Third Year thesis requirement.

School of Medicines Requirements

The MD curriculum requirements for typical Years 1, 2, and 4 (Year 5 for dual students) remain unchanged by this program.

School of Medicine Third Year thesis credit will be based on submission of a document whose rigor is consistent with current Third Year theses. As with all current Third Year theses, the thesis proposals will require Third Year School of Medicine approval. The thesis would consist of a detailed Business Plan, complete with extended Introduction (similar to the extended Introduction currently required of Third Year students who choose the manuscript or grant alternative theses) stating more thoroughly the human health need being addressed. The scope, subject, and outcomes of the thesis will be determined by the Engineering program of specialization in collaboration with the School of Medicine. A thesis alternative can be submitted in the form of a SBIR/STTR grant application since the grant thesis alternative is already an approved option offered to all Third Year medical students. At the discretion of and selected by the Third Year Committee, the thesis may be reviewed by faculty or other experts well versed in the specific technology field who are not on the Committee. These external reviews would be used by members of the Third Year Committee to grade the theses in order to ensure that the grading standards, rigor and criteria are consistent with current theses. The thesis may also be used to fulfill requirements for the MEng 550/551 courses.

Pratt School of Engineering Requirements

Master of Engineering students in all majors must complete 30 credits comprised of key program elements as follows:

  • Core industry preparatory courses (6 credits)
  • Departmental or interdisciplinary core courses (15 - 18 credits, varies by major)
  • Technical electives in a concentrated area (6 - 9 credits, varies by major)
  • Internship, Project, or Equivalent

Additionally, some majors have a seminar participation requirement.

The MD/MEng student will fulfill all of the requirements of the MEng degree. To accomplish this, the following accommodation has been made for those seeking a dual degree:

  • 6-9 credits (depends on MEng major) required for the MEng degree may be fulfilled based on satisfactory completion of the School of Medicine 1 Basic Sciences curriculum (see table below).
Major MD credits
applied to
MEng degree
Biomedical Engineering 9 3 Credits - Life Science Requirement
6 Credits - Technical Electives
Civil Engineering 6 6 Credits - Technical Electives
Electrical and Computer Engineering 9 9 Credits - Technical Electives
Environmental Engineering 9 9 Credits - Technical Electives
Materials Science and Engineering 6

6 Credits - Technical Electives

Mechanical Engineering 6

6 Credits - Technical Electives

Photonics and Optical Systems 6

6 Credits - Technical Electives

  • Internship, project, or equivalent requirement may be fulfilled as described below.

In the 4th year, each MEng student is required to undertake a practical internship, which must encompass at least 320 hours of effort (as documented in their detailed laboratory notebook). These internships are by nature focused on engineering applications and technology development. To achieve this, each MD/MEng student may work under the auspices of Faculty in the School of Medicine, MedBlue Program, the Pratt School of Engineering, or other similar program to be reviewed and approved by representatives from the MEng and SOM faculty. Specifically, each MD/MEng candidate will: 

  1. work under the guidance of one or two attending physicians and engineers during their 4th year (“second third year”) to identify and complete at least one comprehensive Confidential Need Specification with the sponsorship of one of the clinical faculty;
  2. develop new technologies or engineering approaches (including optimization/system analysis or feasibility analysis, etc.) for improving human health based on the Need Specification;
  3. present their proposed technology or engineering approach to a select group of prospective investors and/or end users (clinicians);
  4. complete an Invention Disclosure Form approved by faculty advisor for the project and the faculty who teach the internship course, MEng 551
  5. (optional) submit the IDF, which requires review and signature of appropriate SOM Department Chair; review and signature by appropriate Engineering Department Chair.
  6. (optional) provide required information and support to OLV to assist in their review and action.

Example Curriculum

The MD/MEng is most closely aligned with the Biomedical Engineering major and is ideal for medical students with an interest in innovation and entrepreneurship. The example below shows the Pratt course work requirements for a major in Biomedical Engineering with an emphasis in Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The Master of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering with emphasis on Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Requirement MD/MEng Fulfillment of Requirement
Core Industry Preparation Courses (6 credits)
  • MEng 540 Management of High Tech Industries (3 credits)

  • MEng 570 Business Fundamentals for Engineers (3 credits)

Life Science (3 credits)
  • Satisfactory completion of SoM 1 Basis Sciences

Advanced mathematics (3 credits)
BME courses (9 credits)
  • BME 590.01 - Biomedical Device Innovation (3 credits)

  • Select from BME offerings described in BME curricular notes (6 credits)

Engineering Elective (3 credits)
  • BME 490 Special Topics in BME Design (3 credits)

Other technical electives (6 credits)
  • Completion of SoM 1 Basic Sciences fulfills this requirement

Internship, Project or Equivalent (zero credits)
  • MENG 550 Internship or Applied Research Project

  • MENG 551 Internship/Project Assessment

  • Note: students perform internship as described in this proposal

BME seminar (zero credits)
  • EGRMGMT 501 Engineering Management Seminar

Application Requirements and Process

The applicant must be in good standing with the School of Medicine. Applications should be submitted using an application to the Master of Engineering program. MD/MEng students should indicate on their application that they will be pursuing MEng as a concurrent degree.

Although the application deadline is June 1, students interested in this program should apply by March 15, the second round deadline, in the second year of the MD program.

See the links below for more information.

Review Process

The student must inform the Third Year Study Program Director in the School of Medicine, the Director of Masters Studies in the appropriate MEng major, and the Pratt Professional Masters Admissions Office so that the application and dual degree plan can be reviewed and approved separately from the Pratt School general admissions review.


Students will pay Master of Engineering tuition for one year (two semesters) after the MS2 year and School of Medicine tuition for four years (SoM 1, SoM 2, SoM 3 [year 4], and SoM 4[year 5]). The typical MEng degree is 3 semesters and so obtaining a concurrent degree saves students the equivalent of one semester of tuition compared to obtaining both degrees separately.

Granting of Degree

Because this is a concurrent degree and Medical School courses are being used to fulfill MEng degree requirements, the MEng degree will be granted simultaneous to the granting of the MD degree, typically at the end of the 5th year. If a MD/MEng student leaves the MD program before completing both degrees, a case-by-case analysis may be performed to determine if the MEng degree may be granted independently or if additional coursework is required to independently fulfill the MEng degree requirements. Since no accommodation has been made to the MD requirements, students withdrawing from the MEng degree will not impact MD degree requirements.