The Master of Science degree in Biotechnology is designed in consultation with scientists at Indiana University and in the biotech industry to prepare students for careers in the life sciences.
- Is this program a good fit for you?
Biotechnology practitioners work to harness biological principles and knowledge to address problems that affect people and society. Biotechnology enterprises intersect many areas of daily life and involve key aspects of commerce and regulation. Among many others, people with interests in the following areas could strengthen their career options with this degree:
- Conception, development, and production of new medical treatments
- Development of improved diagnostic methods
- Management of drug or medical device manufacturing and trials to assure safety and efficacy
- Enhancing global food availability through development of plants with improved drought resistance, extended temperature resilience, increased pest resistance, and disease resistance
- Reducing emergence of antimicrobial resistance through improved antimicrobial stewardship, animal disease management techniques, broadened wastewater treatment techniques, and enhanced monitoring capabilities
- Enriching the nutritional value of staple foods by developing plant strains with capabilities to produce essential, but missing, nutrients.
- Developing new sources of renewable fuels by modification of microorganisms and algae
- Increasing efficiency of capture of solar energy by extending capabilities of photosynthetic mechanisms
- Advancing benefits of green chemistry by developing methods to produce valuable, complex molecules by agricultural or microbial fermentation processes
- Promoting environmental improvement by developing non-polluting approaches to pest control and reduced need for fertilizer application in agriculture
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by development of alternative building materials, such as biocement, based on harnessing capabilities of bacteria and fungi
Many students have found that completion of this master’s program has broadened their academic credentials on the way to a doctoral or professional degree program.
- Undergraduate degrees that best prepare you for our program
Some undergraduate majors that would facilitate easy transition into the program include:
- Biology/Microbiology/Human Biology/ Molecular Life Sciences
- Community Health
- Computer Science/Data Science/Informatics
- Sociology (Medical emphasis)
- Environmental and Sustainability Studies/Environmental Science
- Intelligent Systems Engineering
- Nutrition Science
Other undergraduate majors could transition into the Biotechnology master’s program as well because biotechnology impacts and is impacted by many aspects of modern life. Minimum expectations to succeed in the program include undergraduate coursework in biology and chemistry with laboratory experience. Some of the basic requirements can likely be made up in the graduate program, although some additional time may be required to complete the program.
- Program overview + highlights
The Master of Science in Biotechnology degree is affiliated with the Professional Science Master’s degree program. That means that while at least half of the course work is science-based, other courses are designed to develop high value organizational and enterprise skills to prepare graduates for leadership positions in a variety of biotechnology-based organizations, or for further graduate work.
In particular, the coursework is designed to provide knowledge and experience in:
- Biotechnology research planning and execution
- Written and oral communication skills
- Ethical expectations and practices in biotechnology research and commerce
- Regulatory systems designed to assure safety and efficacy of biotechnology products
- Critical aspects of manufacture, distribution, and commercialization of biotechnology products
- Team building and leadership skills
- Networking with biotechnology research and business leaders
- Funding sources
Typically, no special funding is available for master’s students in this program. In recent years, some assistant instructor positions have been available. While this type of support may continue, it cannot be assured, and should not be expected. Additional student support from Indiana University sources continues to be possible.
- Career opportunities
Possible areas of endeavor range from research and development to manufacturing, supply chain management, quality assurance, marketing and commercialization, regulatory compliance, intellectual property, clinical or field trial management and many related areas. Opportunities exist in the pharmaceutical and agricultural-related industries, in government agencies, health care delivery, agricultural support businesses, contract research organizations, legal firms, and broadcast and print media, among others.
The position titles of some recent graduates of the program include:
- Biologist, Eli Lilly
- Specialist, United States Food and Drug Administration
- Supervisor, Indiana State Department of Health
- Molecular Biologist, IHMA (International Health Management Associates)
- Contract Researcher, United States National Institutes of Health
- Microbiologist, Catalent
- Associate Scientist, Bristol Myers Squibb
- Scientist, Covance
- Chemist, Seaway Pharma
- Scientist, B2SLifeSciences
- Scientist, Advanced Testing Laboratory
- Senior Project Specialist, Syneos Health
- Senior R+D Scientist, MilliporeSigma
- Study Coordinator, BioAgilytix
- Application requirements
While it may be possible to do so, there is no need for any graduate level courses to be taken prior to admission to the graduate program.
GRE NOTE: Our program does not require the GRE.
More information about application requirements can be found on our website: https://biology.indiana.edu/graduate/how-to-apply/index.html.
Coursework needed for admission
Successful completion of the Master of Science in Biotechnology degree program requires understanding of principles of biology and chemistry (ideally through completion of introductory courses in organic chemistry). Courses providing hand-on experience in biology and chemistry laboratories are expected. While this foundational understanding and experience could be developed after admission to the program, it likely would extend the time required to earn the degree.