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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
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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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 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.
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
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.
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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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 (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 (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 (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 (Internship details).
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Biological Sciences Core (12 credits)
At least 12 credits, four classes; must include classes from at least three of the five following categories:
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.
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
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
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.
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.
All petitions for course substitutions and variances in the completion deadlines must be made to the Graduate Affairs Committee, Department of Biological Sciences.
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.
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.
Five student learning goals are defined. Students will:
For more information about the Professional Science Master's Degree in Biotechnology, please write to Betty Cowgill (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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