In order to meet the needs of industry, graduate schools should consider adding design-based programs to their curriculum. A majority of Ph.D. students in bio-engineering and biomedical engineering (BME) seek employment outside of academia, implying that these students will need to be able to leverage their dissertation research for other types of positions. Here, curriculum elements are examined from several graduate programs across the United States and a strategy is proposed that combines bio-engineering design-based research and education at the doctoral level. Ideally, a design-based Ph.D. includes: traditional engineering and scientific coursework, coursework focused on the design and commercialization process, industry and clinical experiences, and design-centric research. A design-based dissertation leverages the design process into specific aims that build on each other to complete a body of work. These aims can occur at different points in the design process and should include evaluation of the technology against user needs. It is possible to orient the in-depth research of a doctoral dissertation to the design of an innovative medical product that can be of a benefit to patients.