The Curriculum

Tanesha Norris, Class of 2015
Tanesha Norris, Class of 2015
Sr. Director, Clinical Trial Solutions, Foundation Medicine
San Jose, CA

What do you learn from the courses in this degree program?

The M.S. in Biotechnology offers a powerful two-year curriculum integrating topics in science, business, regulatory policy and law to explain how technology discoveries become commercial products in the biotechnology industry.

Classes are held every other week with a convenient evenings/weekend course schedule. This allows you to work full-time while completing your degree in less than two-years.

This integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum has been custom designed and continuously refined since 2002 to fulfill the program’s mission of preparing students to become cross-functional professionals capable of leading the development and commercialization of emerging biotechnologies.

Courses are led by faculty teams of university experts and private industry leaders, providing a unique blend of theoretical and functional knowledge that students can apply immediately to their careers. Project-based assignments are a mix of individual and team papers, case analyses, and oral presentations. Three hands-on laboratory courses provide an experiential learning component to complement the traditional classroom.

Year 1, Fall Semester

Theme: Technology Assessment

The program begins with an emphasis on technology assessment. In addition to these courses, you’ll work as part of a team on a semester-long technology assessment project that puts everything you’ve learned into practice.

Courses: (8 credits total; September – December)

Year 1, Spring Semester

Theme: Product Development & Biomanufacturing

In the second semester, you’ll build on previous coursework and gain in-depth exposure to regulatory affairs, quality assurance and biomanufacturing practices.

Courses: (10 credits total; January – May)

Your summer off!

Year 2, Fall Semester

Theme: Drug Discovery, Commercial Development & Product Delivery

The three courses in this semester provide an overview of drug discovery and the process of taking new technologies to market. By blending science and business, you’ll gain a solid understanding of the complex management issues that can arise.

Courses: (8 credits total; September – December)

Year 2, Spring Semester

Theme: Strategic Planning, People Management & Career Growth

The unlimited potential of biotechnology comes with complex scientific, business and management challenges. In this final semester, you’ll complete capstone master’s thesis that integrates all aspects of the program’s curriculum. You’ll select a technology, assess its business potential and explore the management issues that define its potential as a marketable product.

Courses: (8 credits total; January – May)

Curriculum Themes and Courses

Business Regulatory, Policy & the Law Scientific Leadership & Management
Fall 1 Theme: Technology Assessment Business Fundamentals for Biotechnology Intellectual Property, Patents & Licensing;Biotechnology Regulation & Ethics Molecular Tech I: Diagnostic Testing
Spring 1 Theme: Product Development Biotechnology Operations Molecular Tech II: Biomanufacturing Project Management & Leadership
(May - August) No Classes during Summer Term
Fall 2 Theme: Commercialization & Product Delivery Commercialization Pathways Early Drug Discovery; Molecular Tech III: Assay Development
Spring 2 Theme: Scientific Frontiers, Strategic Planning, & Career Management Sustaining Growth Advanced Biotechnology: Global Perspectives Professional Development & Effective Management
Capstone Research Project

Related: Course Schedule, Program Calendars, and Class Locations

Commonly Held Positions and the Skills & Expertise Required

The following columns highlight the types of positions our graduates move into and the common defining skills and expertise enabling them to find career success.

Types of Positions Held by Alumni

Site Head
C-Suite Officer
Director of Manufacturing
Director of Regulatory Affairs
Director of Quality Assurance/Quality Control
Director of Clinical Studies Director
Director, Scientific Writing
Patent Agent
Licensing Director
Corporate Strategist
Principal Investigator
Operations Manager
Marketing Specialist
Chief Operating Officer
Sales/Sales Manager
R&D Scientist
Project/Product Manager
Business Analyst
Business Developer

Common Themes in Curriculum

Public Speaking
Emotional Intelligence
People Management
Program Management
Product Life Cycle Management
Market Analysis
Corporate Strategy
Effective Writing
Technology Transfer