MS Biotechnology in the US- Top Universities, Programs, Requirements, Cost & Salary

by shishant.kumar

The master’s program in biotechnology is a 2 year-long course offered as a regular, part-time and online degree by top universities in the United States. It is a research oriented course which costs not more than $25,000 per year and trains students to pursue their careers or higher academic aspirations in various specialized fields of biological sciences.

MS biotechnology in USA is available to students with a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university in biology, chemistry, medical technology or other related subjects. By the completion of this course, most colleges in the US ask students to submit a thesis paper based on the research work undertaken by them.

A master’s of Biotechnology degree is offered under various nomenclatures in the United States. While MS Biotechnology remains the most popular, Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Biotechnology and Masters of Arts (MA) in Biotechnology are some other names under which a Master’s degree in Biotechnology can be pursued in US.

Why Study MS Biotechnology in USA?

Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical industries are one of the biggest industries in America. The demand for professionals with biotechnological expertise is evidently on the rise and the opportunities are endless.

The United States of America is a technologically advanced country which has brought revolutionary developments in the field of medicine, agriculture, food industry and waste management by extensive study and application of biotechnological processes.

Pursuing MS Biotechnology from USA opens up numerous possibilities for international candidates. Not only does the country provide a congenial atmosphere for learning, growth and development, colleges and universities in the United States offer the world’s best laboratories and equipment for research.

The completion of MS Biotechnology degree course from the US makes candidates eligible to opt from the following common prospects:

  • Stay in academics as a research associate in the field of your interest.
  • Apply for a doctorate program, PhD.
  • Work in multiple industries at various job positions depending on your specialization and area of interest.

MS biotechnology in USA exposes international students to an environment which is rich in cultural diversity. It provides a world-class education, research facilities and presents numerous areas of employment to candidates attending the program.

MS Biotechnology in USA Top Universities

MS Biotechnology is offered by various universities across the United States. The table given below presents some of the best American colleges that offer regular master’s in biotechnology programs.

College/UniversityProgram Offered
John Hopkins UniversityMS Biotechnology
University of PennsylvaniaPSM Biotechnology
University of WisconsinMS Biotechnology
Purdue UniversityMS in Biotechnology Innovation & Regulatory Science
University of GeorgiaMS Biotechnology
Northwestern UniversityMS Biotechnology, MBP (Master of Biotechnology Program)
Boston UniversityMS Biotechnology & Biomedical Science
Columbia UniversityMA Biotechnology

Several other colleges in the United States offer various master’s degree programs in Biotechnology. While selecting a college to pursue MS Biotechnology in United States, students should keep in mind factors such as the demographic (proximity to research centers in the USA, university clusters, biotechnological industries etc.) of the colleges they want to apply in.

MS Biotechnology in USA: Types & Specializations

Master’s degree in Biotechnology is offered under various names in the United States. These are:

  • MS in Biotechnology/ MSc in Biotechnology: Master of Science degree in Biotechnology is the traditional master’s degree received at the end of two-years of study at most American colleges. The two-year program involves theory, laboratory/research work, and paid/unpaid internships. MS in Biotechnology prepares students for a doctorate level education while also equipping them with the necessary skills to get jobs related to their field of specialization/study.
  • PSM in Biotechnology: PSM in Biotechnology is more of a profession-oriented program well suited for students that want to excel and get advanced training in their field without a doctorate level degree. It is designed to teach students the necessary business skills to secure jobs in various biotech industries.
  • MA in Biotechnology: This program is offered at the Columbia University and familiarizes students with the modern aspects of molecular biology while emphasizing on the processes utilized in biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Candidates that do not want to spend 5-7 years of study on a PhD but want a career in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical industries, should choose this program.

Biotechnology has distinct specializations in which candidates can pursue a master’s degree. Some of these are:

  • Food Biotechnology
  • Medical Biotechnology
  • Cellular and Molecular Biotechnology
  • Biotechnology Enterprise
  • Bioinformatics
  • Biodefense
  • Regenerative and Stem Cell Technologies
  • Regulatory Science

MS Biotechnology in USA: Eligibility & Requirements

Eligibility and requirements for admission to MS Biotechnology slightly differ from college to college across the United States. However, the prerequisites and application requirements broadly remain the same for international students.

MS Biotechnology Prerequisites

  • Student should possess an undergraduate degree (preferably finished in 4 years) in related fields of study from a recognized university.
  • Minimum GPA of the student must be 3.0 or above (different marking schemes can be converted into their equivalent Grade point Average through WES).
  • Language Proficiency Tests like IELTS or TOEFL is compulsory for International students with a native language other than English.
  • Student needs to undertake GRE test for admission to most science courses in the US.

MS Biotechnology Application Requirements

Given below is a list of some basic application requirements for universities in the US needed from candidates seeking admission into the MS Biotechnology degree programs.

  • Transcript of all previous academic reports and qualifications.
  • Scanned copy of passport.
  • Statement of Purpose (SoP)/ Letter of Intent: Students need to specify what their goals and aspirations are and how the degree they wish to pursue will help them.
  •  Letter of Recommendations (2-3)
  • TOEFL and IELTS scores (should not be below 80 & 6.5 respectively).
  • Submission of Application fee.
  • Proof of participation or achievements in extra-curricular activities.
  • Academic/Professional CV.
  • GRE score.

MS Biotechnology in USA without GRE

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test which judges the analytical, verbal and quantitative skills of students seeking admission into masters or doctoral degree programs in the United States.

While there are various universities in the US that make it mandatory for students to take the GRE and have a minimum score that confirms their eligibility into the desired course of study, it is not unusual for institutions to neglect or compromise the weightage given to GRE.

Given below is a list of some universities in the United States that do not mandate submission of GRE scores for admission into the MS Biotechnology course:

  • Northwestern University
  • Georgetown University
  • Brown University
  • The University of Illinois at Chicago (GRE not required with substantial work experience in the course-related field)

Other universities might waive-off the GRE requirements if the candidate meets one of the following criteria:

  • Student maintains an exceptional academic history.
  • Student has undertaken or participated in relevant research work.
  • Student possesses considerable work experience in industries related to their discipline.

MS Biotechnology in USA Fees & Cost of Living

For an international student planning to pursue higher education in the US, being aware of the tuition fee and other expenses they will incur, is crucial information which will help plan and procure (if the need arises) the funds  necessary for their sustenance, well in advance.

The tuition fee charged for MS Biotechnology at various universities across America is not the same and relies on factors such as: nature of the university (private/public), location, number of credit hours/course units etc.

MS Biotechnology in USA costs $15,000-$30,000 per year. And that is just the tuition fee. While actually applying to colleges in the United States, there are many more expenses to cover for international students. These expenses include:

  • GRE fees: $205
  • TOEFL/IELTS fees: $170
  • VISA fees: $160
  • Application Fees: $1000
  • Surplus Application Fees: $160
  • Flight Fares: $1000 (one way)

These expenses might not seem as hefty as the tuition fee and accommodation charges, but the sum of these is not trivial enough to be neglected. Instead, students should judiciously select the colleges that they want to apply in to reduce application fee charges.

Accommodation is available in different modes across American colleges. While on-campus housing is the most favored and recommended accommodation available to international students, candidates can also choose to live in off-campus shared apartments.

Cost of living in the US ranges from $500 to $1000 per month depending on the type of accommodation students opt for. Most on-campus dormitories come with basic utilities such as electricity, water and food and are considerably cheaper than off-campus apartments which require tenants to pay separately for the utilities.

Conclusively, pursuing MS Biotechnology in USA will cost around $55,000 for international students. This is an estimated cost that might change in accordance with scholarships or other modes of financial aid that the students receive.

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