Professional Science Master's Degree in Biotechnology


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.