Thomas Royston

Thomas J. Royston, Professor & Department Head

Mission of the Richard and Loan Hill Department of Bioengineering is to provide an environment where students can achieve a high level of competence in the skills and knowledge inherent to the discipline of bioengineering. The discipline of bioengineering is distinguished by the application of quantitative engineering analysis and design to systems that include living components. Mastery of these skills and knowledge will prepare students for careers in the growing biomedical industry and for admission to graduate and professional schools.

The bioengineering department core faculty is complemented by a large cadre of adjunct faculty drawn from almost every College within the University (Liberal Arts and Sciences, Medicine, Applied Health Sciences, Business Administration, Public Health, Dentistry, and Pharmacy). The faculty teaches a comprehensive curriculum that addresses each of the educational objectives necessary to achieve the department’s mission.


1. Graduates will compete effectively and favorably with peers from Big Ten universities for positions in industry, professional school, or graduate programs, as dictated by the students’ broader goals while at UIC.

2. Graduates will remain active contributors to the field of bioengineering through professional societies, service to scholarly or technical journals, alumni activities, mentoring, contributions to education or human resources, or other activities beyond the basic requirements of their occupation.

3. Graduates will demonstrate leadership in their professions, as evidenced by scholarly and technical publication or other measure of professional productivity, including awards and honors, and advancement within the organizations in which they are employed, as appropriate to the individual career path.

The Objectives above are supported by a dynamic curriculum that is updated every two years to meet the needs of our students and other constituencies (industry, graduate programs, and professional programs). This curriculum is designed to allow our students to achieve excellence in fourteen areas. These fourteen Learning Outcomes describe the knowledge, skills and behaviors that students will acquire by completing the Bioengineering curriculum.


The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is one of three campuses in the University of Illinois system. Located in the heart of Chicago, the UIC campus hosts a diverse constituency of students, attracted by the quality of UIC programs and the metropolitan setting. UIC ranks as one of the most diverse institutions in the country. It is the only major state-supported Research I institution in the city of Chicago. The Department of Bioengineering at UIC employs a rigorous and energetic process of continuous improvement of its curricula. Historically, graduates of our undergraduate program enter positions in industry (40%), professional schools (medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, law; 30%) and graduate programs (30%). Alumni of our graduate programs have pursued careers in industry, academia, national research labs and medicine.

UIC Bioengineering traces its roots to 1965 when it started as undergraduate and graduate programs offered by the UI College of Medicine in collaboration with the new UI Chicago-Circle (UICC) University and Presbyterian-St. Lukes Hospital, which later became Rush Medical University. The graduate program was one of the first ten in the nation to receive an NIH training grant for bioengineering students. In 1976, the undergraduate program was third in the nation to receive ABET accreditation (when ABET came into existence). In 1981, when UI Medicine and UICC merged to form the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the Bioengineering programs became a part of the UIC Department of Bioengineering, housed in Engineering. In 2011 Bioengineering returned to its roots, being the first department at UIC housed in two colleges, Engineering and Medicine. In 2013, in recognition of long-time support and Alum of Bioengineering, Richard Hill, and his wife, Loan Hill, the department became the Richard and Loan Hill Department of Bioengineering.

The department has a tradition of strong programs in cell and tissue engineering, neural engineering, bioinformatics, biomedical imaging, biomechanics and biomolecular engineering and continues to offer excellent opportunities in these research areas. Current enrollment totals over 100 Doctoral (Ph.D), over 50 Master of Science, and over 270 undergraduate (Bachelor of Science) students. There are currently twenty full-time equivalent core faculty members and over 100 affiliate faculty members in many departments throughout the Colleges of Liberal Arts & Science, Applied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Engineering, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Nursing.

The UIC chapters of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), Engineering World Health (EWH), and IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society (EMBS) are very active. They provide a coordinated outlet for students to meet and discuss topics in Biomedical Engineering and to work together on projects to promote health in the community and around the world using what they are learning in the classroom. In Fall 2001, the first UIC Scientific Undergraduate Research Journal (SURJ) was published. SURJ allows UIC students to engage in scholarly discourse and get an early start on their research careers.



UIC Bioengineering Trifold Brochure

Learning Outcomes