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Bioengineering at the University of Pretoria performs research in medical and biological engineering.

Cochlear model

Cochlear model

Bioengineering (Biomedical engineering)

Bioengineering is a postgraduate degree programme and also the name of the research entity responsible for the degree programme in bioengineering (sometimes called biomedical engineering).

The group performs research in bioengineering (or biomedical engineering), with a primary focus on auditory implants for the deaf.

Research topics include

  • cochlear stimulation electrodes, electrical fields and nerve activation,
  • computer modelling of the normal and electrically stimulated auditory system,
  • psychoacoustic research involving normal hearing people and cochlear implant users,
  • acoustic models of cochlear implants,
  • medical imaging and visualisation,
  • speech processing and
  • computational auditory neuroscience.

Postgraduate degree programme in bioengineering

The degree programme consists of an honours degree (four fulltime postgraduate modules), a masters degree (fulltime), and a PhD (fulltime). The last two are research-based degrees. Postgraduate studies typically commences with a 1 year fulltime B.Eng.(Hons) degree, which entails coursework consisting of four 32-credit modules. 

Students that have already completed an Honours degree, and/or come from disciplines other than Electronic Engineering or Computer Engineering, please see Note 1 below.

Note that these Honours modules are specifically intended for fulltime postgraduate students working towards a Masters, and are therefore tightly integrated with and presented as part of the Masters degree curriculum. The honours modules are specifically intended to support a Masters in Bioengineering, i.e. to build the necessary foundation for research in this area. The idea is that the curriculum incorporates a large part of the background and preparatory work required for a Masters and therefore allows students to focus on research during the Masters.

Before being allowed to register for ANY postgraduate studies in Bioengineering, prospective students are required to discuss their plans with the Group Head. Honours or Masters students can only enrol for Bioengineering with permission from the Group Head and with a supervisor for the Masters degree research having been identified. PhD students can only enrol for a PhD in Bioengineering with permission from the Group Head and with a promotor for the PhD having been identified. 

To enter into the Honours programme, a prospective student needs:

  • a solid commitment to fulltime Honours and Masters degree studies,
  • an undergraduate degree in Electronic or Computer Engineering, with an excellent academic record. Students with a Mechatronic Engineering background and excellent academic record will be considered;
  • appropriate basic training and experience in research, typically through a comprehensive and challenging research project as part of the final year of undergraduate study,
  • very good English reading, writing and speaking skills. The latter will be demonstrated through an interview, through a writing assignment, through a major undergraduate research report and often through results of TOEFL tests.
  • International students will generally need own funding, and availability of this needs to be demonstrated. Funding is available on competitive basis for South African citizens.

 

Please note that Masters and PhDs are research-based degrees, and one required outcome is that one or more articles should be published in high quality international journals during the study.

To enter into a Masters, a prospective student needs:

  • a solid commitment to fulltime Masters degree studies,
  • an undergraduate degree in engineering, 
  • depending on present research projects, students with an appropriate qualification in an appropriate field within natural sciences (e.g. Physics, Anatomy, Physiology, Audiology) may be considered, 
  • an appropriate Honours degree from a South African university, or equivalent,
  • appropriate basic training and experience in research, typically through a comprehensive and challenging research project as part of the final year of undergraduate study,
  • very good English reading, writing and speaking skills. The latter will be demonstrated through an interview, through a writing assignment, through a major undergraduate research report and often through results of TOEFL tests.
  • International students will generally need own funding, and availability of this needs to be demonstrated. Funding is available on competitive basis for South African citizens

 

To enter into a PhD, a prospective student needs:

  • a solid commitment to fulltime PhD degree studies,
  • an undergraduate degree in engineering, 
  • or, depending on present research projects, students with an appropriate qualification in an appropriate field within natural sciences (e.g. Physics, Anatomy, Physiology, Audiology) may be considered, 
  • an appropriate Honours degree from a South African university, or equivalent,
  • an appropriate research Masters degree,
  • appropriate experience in research, demonstrated through journal and conference publications resulting from the Masters, and a high quality Masters dissertation,
  • very good English reading, writing and speaking skills. The latter will be demonstrated through an interview, through a writing assignment, through the Masters dissertation and often through results of TOEFL tests.
  • International students will generally need own funding, and availability of this needs to be demonstrated. Funding is available on competitive basis for South African citizens.

Note 1. The intake of Honours students is limited and only open to fulltime students.To enrol for an Honours degree in Bioengineering, a student has to hold a four-year engineering degree (Electronic or Computer Engineering) from an ECSA-accredited university engineering progamme.  Students with a Mechatronic Engineering background may be considered, and if present research projects within the research group allow this, Mechanical Engineering. Entry will be on competitive basis. An excellent undergraduate academic record is required.

It is also possible to enter into Bioengineering at Masters and PhD level from disciplines other than engineering if a student already holds an Honours degree. An excellent academic record is required.These disciplines would need to have developed the correct technical background and skills to enable the student to perform research in biomedical engineering at Masters or PhD level. Appropriate technical background (apart from engineering) includes mathematics, physics, audiology, anatomy and physiology. There may be others as well. As degrees in medicine do not generally include a strong research component or appropriate technical background, these often do not offer appropriate background. Please discuss with the Group Head, Prof. J.J. Hanekom.

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