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Professional Science Master's Degree in Biotechnology

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The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) Degree in Biotechnology seeks to provide advanced, interdisciplinary didactic coursework in the life sciences, training in business applicable to scientific industry and experiential training in an industrial setting. Graduates will be poised to enter positions in diverse biotechnology industries.

The PSM in Biotechnology requires 36 credits of graduate level course work plus a 6-credit internship. The program consists of

  1. Courses in the biological sciences
  2. Courses in biotechnology
  3. “Plus” courses to develop breadth in a business/industry track or a government/non-profit track
  4. An internship

In UD’s professional science master’s degrees you don’t just learn it from a book, you experience it.

You'll be at a University where cutting-edge research of benefit to human health, biotechnology industry, environment and agriculture, is under way, and you will gain the education and training you need to advance in today’s workplace, developed by a premier research and graduate university working with leading industries.

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Table of Contents

Admission

Admission to the PSM in Biotechnology program is competitive. Those who meet stated requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet all of those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths.

Admission requirements

Admission to the PSM in Biotechnology requires a prior scholastic index (grade point average on a 4.0 point scale) of at least 2.8 overall and 3.0 in the sciences. Those who meet the stated minimum requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet all those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths. 

There is also the possibility of entering the program after the successful completion of two courses of the Biological Sciences core with a grade of B or better (not B-) as a continuing education student and the achievement of an overall GPA of 3.0 in graduate classes attempted.  Students may also be admitted after successful completion of the “Certificate in Biotechnology”.

Applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 550 or higher on the paper-based test or 79 or higher on the Internet-based test. Previous education, training or residence in the U.S. does not exempt foreign nationals from these requirements. Requests for a waiver of the language test requirements (for example, for students from English-speaking countries outside of the U.S., or for foreign students who have a college degree from a U.S. institution) must be approved by the University of Delaware Office of Graduate Studies. Students who need further training in English prior to attending graduate school may apply for admission through the University of Delaware English Language Institute’s Conditional Admission Program http://www.udel.edu/eli/programs_grad_cap.html.

The Graduate Record Examination is required of all applicants to the PSM in Biotechnology including those who have successfully completed the “Certificate in Biotechnology”. 

Prior degree requirements

BA or BS degree, preferably in a science or engineering discipline

Application deadlines

Fall admission: Full consideration deadline: January 15th with rolling admission to continue until May 1st for foreign nationals and July 1st for US citizens/permanent residents.

Spring Admission: Full consideration deadline: October 1st with rolling admission to continue until November 1st for foreign nationals, December 15th for US citizens/permanent residents.

Special competencies needed

Applicants are required to have completed, at the undergraduate level, the following (or the equivalent): two years of biological sciences; one year of mathematics, preferably to include calculus and/or statistics; one year of college physics; one year of general chemistry; and one course in organic chemistry. 

Admission categories

Provisional admission may be offered with the stipulation that any deficiency in undergraduate training be made up (without graduate credit).

Students with TOEFL scores below the minimum required for admission may be considered for conditional admission if they enter the University of Delaware English Language Institute’s academic English program.  

How to apply

Application to this program must be made electronically to the University's Office of Graduate & Professional Education. Click here for the University of Delaware Graduate Admission Application online form.

Other documents required

Applications must include three letters of recommendation (sent electronically to the University of Delaware Office of Graduate & Professional Education) from persons able to judge the applicant's ability to pursue graduate study, a resume or CV outlining work and/or academic experience in the field of biotechnology as well as an application essay consisting of the answers to the following questions: 

1. What scientific research/employment experience have you had? Please be specific about the field of work and job responsibilities

2. What are your long-term professional objectives? 

3. What specific attributes of our Department and the PSM in Biotechnology make you feel that this degree is appropriate to help you achieve your professional objectives?

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Program description

The PSM in Biotechnology requires 42 credits of graduate level course work consisting of:

Biological sciences—12 credits of graduate level course work in the biological sciences comprised of at least one course in each of three of the five following areas: Molecular Biology, Genetics, Cell Biology, Physiology and Microbiology. (Click here to see degree requirements.)

Biotechnology—9 credits of graduate level courses in fields related to biotechnology including bioinformatics, engineering, chemistry, agriculture, food safety, health sciences and statistics. (Click here to see degree requirements.) One class must be from the category “statistics” unless the student has prior coursework in statistics. This determination is made by the program director.

"Plus" courses—15 credits of “Plus” courses, one from each of the following five categories: ethics, intellectual property/legal regulatory affairs, survey of business or public administration, leadership and organizations and project management/decision making. The Plus courses are designed to provide the breadth of knowledge needed in the work world. You choose either a business/industry track or a government/nonprofit track to suit your employment goals. (Click here to see degree requirements.)

Internship—6 credits of BISC 872, internship. The experiential portion of this class will in most cases be completed during a 7 month long, full time internship at a biotechnology company and be supervised jointly by a representative of the host company and a University of Delaware faculty member. (Click here for details about the Internship.)

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Degree requirements

Biological Sciences Core (12 credits)

At least 12 credits, four classes; must include classes from at least three of the five following categories:

  • Cell Biology
    • BISC612 Advanced Cell Biology (3 credits)
    • BISC625 Cancer Biology (3 credits)
    • BISC671 Cellular and Molecular Immunology  (4 credits)
    • PLSC635 Plant Developmental Biology (3 credits)
    • ANFS671 Paradigms in Cell Signaling (3 credits)
    • BISC639 Developmental Neurobiology (4 credits)
    • BISC690 Fundamentals of Pharmacology (3 credits)
    • BMEG605 Princ of BME I: Molec and cell systems (3 credits)
  • Genetics
    • BISC654 Biochemical Genetics  (3 credits)
    • BISC656 Evolutionary Genetics (3 credits)
    • BISC693 Human Genetics (3 credits)
    • PLSC636 Plant Genes and Genomes (3 credits)
  • Microbiology
    • ANFS635 Animal Virology (3 credits)
    • ANFS639 Food Microbiology (3 credits)
    • BISC682 Bacterial Pathogens; molecular mechanisms (3 credits)
    • BISC679 Virology (3 credits)
    • PLSC619 Soil Microbiology (4 credits)
    • PLSC629 Introduction to Fungi (4 credits)
    • MAST618 Marine microbial ecology (3 credits)
    • MAST625 Microbial Physiology and Diversity (3 credits)
  • Molecular Biology
    • ANFS670 Principles of Molecular Genetics (3 credits)
    • BISC602 Molecular Biology of Animal Cells (3 credits)
    • CHEM642 Biochemistry II (3 credits)
  • Physiology
    • BISC605 Advanced Mammalian Physiology (4 credits)
    • BISC615 Vertebrate Developmental Biology (3 credits)
    • BISC675 Cardiovascular Physiology (3 credits)
    • KAAP651 Neurophysiological Basis of Human Movement (3 credits)
    • BISC606 Advanced Mammalian Physiology II (4 credits)
    • BISC627 Advanced Neurophysiology (3 credits)
    • BMEG606 Princ of BME II: Tissue and organ systems (3 credits)

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Biotechnology-related science courses (9 credits)

Three courses from the following list adding up to at least 9 credits, one must be from the category “statistics” unless the student has documented prior exposure to statistical analysis of data.

  • Agriculture/food science
    • ANFS628 Food Chemistry (4 credits)
    • ANFS629 Food Analysis (4 credits)
    • ANFS636 Immunology of domestic animals (3 credits)
    • ANFS637 Avian immunology (3 credits)
    • ANFS643 Food engineering technology (3 credits)
    • ANFS649 Food biotechnology (4 credits)
    • PLSC603 Soil physics (3 credits)
    • ENWC611 Insect pest management (3 credits)
    • ENWC610 Medical, Veterinary, and forensic entomology (3 credits)
    • ENWC619 Biological control (3 credits)
    • ENWC805 Insect-plant chemical ecology (3 credits)
  • Bioinformatics
    • BINF644 Bioinformatics (3 credits)
    • CISC636 Introduction to bioinformatics (3 credits)
    • CISC841 Bioinformatics (3 credits)
    • MAST697 Bioinformatics programming for Biologists (3 credits)
    • MAST698 Environmental and systems bioinformatics (3 credits)
    • BINF650 Protein Modifications (3 credits)
    • BINF694 Systems Biology I (3 credits)
    • BINF695 Computational System Biology (3 credits)
    • BINF816 Systems Biology of Cells in Engineered Environments (3 credits)
  • Chemistry/Biochemistry
    • CHEM641 Biochemistry (3 credits)
    • CHEM645 Proteins, Structure and Function (3 credits)
    • CHEM646 DNA-Protein Interactions (3 credits)
    • CHEM686 Biophysical Chemistry (3 credits)
    • CHEM653 Bioinorganic Chemistry (3 credits)
    • CHEM681 Green Chemistry (3 credits)
    • CHEM643 Intermediary Metabolism (3 credits)
    • CHEM684 Biochemistry of Nucleic Acids (3 credits)
    • PLSC608/CHEM608 Environmental Soil Chemistry (3 credits)
  • Engineering
    • CHEG621 Metabolic engineering (3 credits)
    • CHEG625 Green Engineering (3 credits)
    • CHEG650 Biomedical Engineering (3 credits)
    • ELEG670 Biophysics of excitable membranes (3 credits)
    • ELEG671 Introduction to biomedical engineering (3 credits)
    • ELEG675 Image processing with biomedical applications (3 credits)
    • ELEG678 Introduction to nano and biophotonics (3 credits)
    • ELEG679 Introduction to medical imaging systems (3 credits)
    • MEEG612 Biomechanics of human movement (3 credits)
    • MEEG682 Clinical biomechanics (3 credits)
    • MEEG683 Orthopedic Biomechanics (3 credits)
    • MEEG684 Biomaterials and tissue engineering (3 credits)
    • MEEG685 Control of human movement (3 credits)
    • MEEG686 Cell and tissue transport (3 credits)
    • BMEG679 Introduction to Medical Imaging Systems (3 credits)
    • CHEG624 Bio-Based Materials (3 credits)
    • ELEG801 Advanced Topics in Biomedical Engineering (3 credits)
  • Health Sciences
    • BISC600 Biotechnology and molecular medicine (3 credits)
    • NURS687 Nursing Sciences Research (3 credits)
    • NURS621 Advanced pathophysiology (3 credits)
    • NURS622 Advanced pharmacology (3 credits)
    • PHYT623 Clinical Neuroscience (3 credits)
  • Advanced Laboratory Techniques
    • BISC601 Immunochemistry (4 credits)
    • BISC604 Nucleic Acids Laboratory (4 credits)
    • CHEM679 Biomolecular NMR Spectroscopy (3 credits)
  • Statistics/data analysis
    • BISC643 Biological Data Analysis (3 credits)
    • STAT608 Statistical Research Methods (3 credits)
    • STAT609 Regression and Experimental Design (3 credits)
    • STAT611 Regression Analysis (3 credits)
    • STAT615 Design and Analysis of Experiments (3 credits)
    • STAT616 Advanced Design of Experiments (3 credits)
    • STAT621 Survival Analysis (3 credits)
    • STAT656 Biostatistics (3 credits)
    • STAT674 Applied Data Base Management (3 credits)
    • STAT675 Logistic Regression (3 credits)

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PSM Plus component (15 credits)

PSM students will take at least 15 credits of business/management coursework in addition to their science core distributed among the categories listed below

  • Survey of Business
    • BUAD700 Survey of Business* (preferred) (3 credits)
    • ACCT800 Financial Reporting and Analysis (3 credits)
  • Leadership and Organizations
    • BUAD870 Leadership and Organizational Behavior (3 credits)
    • BUAD872 Organizational Development and Change (3 credits)
    • UAPP761 Conflict Resolution Collab Prob Solving (3 credits)
  • Project Management, Operations or Entrepreneurship (select 1)
    • BUAD811 Globalization and Business (3 credits)
    • BUAD831 Operations Management and Management Science (3 credits)
    • BUAD871 Managing for Creativity and Innovation (3 credits)
    • ENTR860 High Tech Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
    • MISY840 Project Management and Costing (3 credits)
    • UAPP827 Program and Project Analysis (3 credits)
    • UAPP698 Management Decision Making in Public & NP Sectors (3 credits)
    • UAPP697 Leading Organizations in Public & NP Sectors (3 credits)
  • Intellectual Property
    • CHEG595 Intellectual Property for Engineers and Scientists (3 credits)
  • Ethics
    • BUAD840 Ethical Issues in Global Business Environments (3 credits)
    • BINF815 Ethics, Business & Communication (3 credits)
    • *BUAD700 meets prerequisites for BUAD831 and BUAD871
Internship (6 credits)

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Advisory committee

The University of Delaware's Professional Science Master's degrees were developed with input from leading industry representatives to prepare students to go directly from the classroom to work. Many of these companies provide internship opportunities to PSM students, giving you experience applying your scientific knowledge to real world problems.

PSM Biotechnology Industry Advisory Committee

  • Ray Yin, President, ANP Technologies Inc.
  • Dr. T. Ben Hsu, CFO, Jan L. Ekoniak, B.A., PHR, Director and Head of Human Resources, QPS, LLC
  • Dale Ervin, Director of Operations, Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology
  • Greg Hollis, Vice President-Applied Technology Group, Incyte
  • Tiffany J. Brown, Ph.D., Product Specialist, Medical Products Division,W. L. Gore & Associates
  • Phil Cox, Chief Scientist, Noramco Inc.
  • Cathy Williams, Marketing Director, NanoDrop Products, Thermo Fisher Scientific

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Internships

The experiential portion of this class will in most cases be completed during a 7 month long, full time internship at a biotechnology company and be supervised jointly by a representative of the host company and a University of Delaware faculty member.  

Students pursuing the PSM degree who have significant prior bench experience will be encouraged to focus their capstone on improving a company’s business/management plan or moving a newly developed product to market.  Such projects could include; an analysis of how to bring a product to market, how to improve team interactions between company groups or how to scale up a research project to commercial scale.  

Students pursuing the PSM degree without prior experience working at the bench will be encouraged to focus their capstone on a specific scientific research question.  Such projects could include: testing methods to increase production of recombinant proteins, testing the specificity of antibodies being developed or direct research product development.  

The capstone is assessed by the quality of the work performed at the internship and two written reports.  

The first is due within one month of the start of the internship and includes a comprehensive description of the work environment including corporate history, corporate organizational structure including a description of the corporate focus, and a detailed description of the organization of the internship environment emphasizing its value to the company as a whole. This document should also include a plan of work outlining the background of the project, the learning objectives for the internship and goals to be accomplished developed in consultation with and approved by both the faculty and internship mentors.

The second, a paper is due at the completion of the internship and should outline the objectives of internship, the value of these objectives to the company, what was accomplished on each objective, and recommendations for future work.  This document should also discuss what skills the student learned/refined during the internship, what aspects of the PSM curricula were helpful for success in the internship and what additional knowledge would have been useful.  

Internships may be full-time or part-time depending on the schedule/needs of the student and employer.  Internships may be paid or unpaid with the final grade based on the written reports and mentor evaluation.  Students who are employed in the field of biotechnology are encouraged to develop their capstone projects at their place of employment as part of a professional development plan, however the expectation is that the “capstone” will be different than the student’s normal job responsibilities.

The program will make every effort to assist students with identifying internship opportunities and negotiating internship plans.  However, students bear significant responsibility in this process as well and failure to either identify an internship and/or formulate an acceptable internship plan by the end of the student’s third semester of full time study (or completion of 33 credits of course work) is considered failure to make satisfactory progress towards degree.

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Financial aid

General information

Advisement

All students will develop a plan of study in consultation with their advisor upon matriculation into the program.

The director of the program will compile a list of University of Delaware faculty members who are willing serve as academic advisors for PSM Biotechnology students. Students will select advisors from this list who have expertise most appropriate for their career interests within the first two weeks after matriculation. The academic advisor in consultation with the program director will provide guidance on course selection and the academic advisor will also be responsible helping the student formulate the expectations for their internship experience and for evaluating the student’s capstone internship report.

It is highly encouraged that part-time students working in biotechnology-related fields work with both their UD academic advisor and employer prior to matriculation to develop a comprehensive professional development plan that coordinates PSM Biotechnology degree requirements with work responsibilities.

Course substitution

All petitions for course substitutions and variances in the completion deadlines must be made to the Graduate Affairs Committee, Department of Biological Sciences.

Grades

Only graduate courses completed with a grade of B or higher fulfill the biological sciences core and the biotechnology-related course requirements for the PSM in Biotechnology. Students must also complete BISC872, internship with a grade of at least B.  Students receiving a B- or lower in a required core course are subject to dismissal from the program.  However, they may file an appeal to the Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Affairs Committee for approval to retake the course and remain in the program.  If the appeal is not approved, the Graduate Affairs Committee will recommend to the Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences that the student be dismissed from the program.

Students must also earn a minimum index of 3.0 in all “plus” component courses attempted to earn the PSM in Biotechnology.

All graduate courses successfully completed with a B or higher that were applied towards earned graduate certificates, but not graduate degrees, at the University of Delaware will be directly applicable to the PSM in Biotechnology.

Academic timetable

Full-time students will enroll in at least 9 credits of classes per semester (fall and spring), however, in order to complete the degree in two years, the student will need to enroll in 12 credits of classes at least two semesters. Part-time students are expected to enroll in at least one class per regular academic semester to remain matriculated in the program and are expected to complete their degree within five years. A timeline for the degree is as follows:

Semester 1- enroll in 9 credits of courseworkSemester 2- enroll in 12 credits of courseworkSemester 3- enroll in 12 credits of courseworkWinter after semester 3- begin internshipSemester 4- enroll in BISC 872 internship and single remaining didactic course (Plus course taken during evening hours, 9 credits)Summer after semester 3- sustaining status, complete internship and final report, graduate

Normal progress towards degree is reviewed for all students in the program at the end of every academic semester and is assessed based on grades, participation in program activities and performance in the internship.

Program objectives

Five student learning goals are defined. Students will:

  1. Have advanced knowledge of the discipline of biotechnology
  2. Have experience working with interdisciplinary teams on biotechnology
  3. Achieve competence in scientific communication
  4. Be knowledgeable in scientific business ethics
  5. Understand the application of business/management theory to science

Contact us

For more information about the Professional Science Master's Degree in Biotechnology, please write to Betty Cowgill (bcowgill@udel.edu).

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  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • 105 The Grn, Room 118 Wolf Hall
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • University of Delaware
  • Phone: 302-831-6977
  • bio-questions@udel.edu