What is a professional science master’s?

The Professional Science Master’s or PSM is a type of Master of Science degree that combines courses in advanced science, math, or technology with business and professional skills courses and real world hands-on training. It is a non-thesis program.

What degree will I be awarded when I graduate?

You will be awarded a Master of Science (MS) in Biotechnology.

Is the program full or part-time?

Applications are accepted for both full and part-time for the Boston campus and part-time for the Seattle campus. Full-time application are accepted for the fall semester only. Part-time application are accepted for both fall and spring. Students who attend part-time go through the program at their own pace.

I work during the day. Will I be able to attend classes?

The program was designed to accommodate working students.  Classes are scheduled for the late afternoon or evening.  Most classes begin at 5:00 or later.

How long does it take to complete the program?

For students who attend full-time, 2 to 2⅓ years.  Students who attend part-time usually take one or two courses per semester typically completing the program in 3 to 4 years.

I am an international student.  Can I apply to the program?

Yes. International students are accepted at the Boston campus and must attend on a full-time basis.

How do I choose a concentration?

Students are asked to declare a concentration after they have been in the program for two semesters.  There are three concentrations:

Biopharmaceutical Analytical Sciences Concentration (available on ground and online with lab residency)
The biopharmaceutical analytical sciences track focuses on structures and activities of biological molecules and their variants formed during the production of biopharmaceuticals. Students learn the diversity of molecular forms derived from the biological products through various biological and chemical mechanisms, and the impact of these structural changes on the safety and efficacy of these biopharmaceuticals. The students learn the science and practice applied in the biotechnology industry to analyze and characterize these molecular forms. This is accomplished through both lecture courses of the analytical sciences and project-driven laboratory experience that utilizes analytical techniques such as mass spectroscopy and molecular separations.

Process Sciences Concentration (available on ground and online with lab residency)
The process development track focuses on the production of drug substance of biopharmaceuticals from cell culture process to purification of the biologic molecules.  The students learn the principles of development and implementation of biological manufacturing processes through the integration of concepts and fundamentals of engineering and life sciences. The track addresses biochemical engineering, mammalian cell culture process development and protein purification.  The learning of the students is reinforced by both lecture courses and project-driven laboratory experience that provides hands-on learning of cell culture and protein separation.

Pharmaceutical Technologies Concentration (available on ground)
The pharmaceutical technology track focuses on the conversion of purified proteins to biopharmaceutical drug products that are compatible for clinical use. This track addresses the design of the product formulation, the development and implementation of the drug product manufacturing processes. Students learn the sciences of the interactions of the biologic molecules in the process conditions and the relevant process technology, such as aseptic operations and freeze-drying, needed for drug product manufacturing. This is accomplished through both lecture courses and project-driven laboratory experience that provides hands-on learning of formulation design and drug product process development.

I started but did not finish a program at another institution.  Can I transfer credits?

Students are allowed to transfer up to 9 credits from another institution provided the credits were not used to obtain another degree.  The courses must be graduate level and the student must have earned the equivalent of at least a “B” grade.  Students must be accepted into the program before they can petition for credits to be considered for transfer. A description and syllabus for each course must be submitted.  Courses must be the equivalent of a core course or approved elective in the Biotechnology PSM Program.

Are there pre-requisite course requirements?
Yes.  At least one undergraduate course in each of the following subjects is required:

-molecular biology or genetics or physiology
-organic chemistry
-college-level calculus

Physics is not a requirement. It cannot be substituted for any of the four above courses.

What if I am missing a pre-requisite course?  Can I still apply?

Yes. Missing the pre-requisites is not a barrier to application for any potential applicant.  However, if accepted, those applicants missing pre-requisites must complete them by a specific date.

I took calculus in high school, will that fulfill the calculus pre-requisite?
If the course was recognized by your undergraduate institution as fulfilling that institution’s mathematics requirement and is acknowledged/credited on the undergraduate transcript then it may fulfill the Biotechnology Program’s calculus requirement. Submit the course syllabus for review.

What are the application requirements?

[See the website, Future Students, Admissions or Educational Programs, Admissions]

My research has been published.  Should I include publications in my application package?

Publications, reports, competition projects and/or awards are not required to be uploaded to the application, but they should be referenced (publication title/award name) on your CV/resume.  Another option would be to cite or summarize key results from past projects as part of your accomplishments in your personal statement if that is compatible with the composition.

Can I waive the GRE requirement?
[See the website, Future Students, Admissions or Educational Programs, Admissions]

I am currently employed.  Am I still required to perform the co-op?

Yes, students with permanent jobs will work with the graduate co-op coordinator, their work supervisor, and their academic track advisor to design a special project that meets the co-op requirement.  A student’s permanent job will not fulfill the co-op requirement – the project must be separate from daily work.  There is not a specific number of hours required for the special project.  The project description will be reviewed and approved by the academic director and will be 3 months (12 weeks) to 6 months in length.  The co-op coordinator will perform a site visit with the student and supervisor during the co-op period.

How long is the co-op?

The co-op is a minimum of 3 months (12 weeks), maximum of 6 months in length.

Am I responsible for finding my own co-op?

Yes, students are responsible for securing their own co-op.  However, the program has a dedicated co-op coordinator who is available to help students produce a professional resume and improve their interviewing skills. She will inform students of available positions, train them on how to perform a search, and help them successfully navigate the interview process. The co-op coordinator teaches the co-op preparatory course that covers subjects such as how to dress for the interview and how to negotiate salary.

Is the co-op paid?

Ideally the student obtains a paid co-op.  However, there is no guarantee that the position will be paid.

Does the co-op have to take place in a lab?

The co-op is not limited to laboratory positions. Students have performed co-ops related to the business side of the industry, for example, in technology licensing or in marketing.  However, all co-op descriptions are carefully reviewed and must be approved by the faculty and staff of the program to ensure that the student receives a quality experience.

When does the co-op take place?

Students are not allowed to perform the co-op in their first year of study. They are expected to focus on their courses during that time.  Ideally the co-op occurs at or near the end of the program. Students who have completed their coursework are better positioned to be accepted for a co-op position. Students must be in good academic standing in order to perform the co-op.