How to Choose a Masters in Biotechnology Degree + Online Option

This article presents an overview of the masters in biotechnology degree program, some of the subjects and courses that are included, and why you may want to complete the degree to advance your career. It will also present a masters in biotechnology degree program that can be completed online and which you may want to consider.

What Is a Masters in Biotechnology?

What makes the Masters in Biotechnology degree program so unique is that it combines biology and chemistry with engineering and design. In this field, living organisms are used in order to create final products or controlled processes. As part of the degree, you will be exposed to a wealth of different topics, usually divided into various areas of science.

As part of the biological element of the degree, you will likely learn about:

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular biology
  • Microbiology
  • Genetics

Meanwhile, as part of the design and engineering element of the degree, you will likely learn about:

  • Genetic engineering
  • Process design

The degree also emphasizes critical thinking and problem solving skills. This will enable you to take on various engineering and design challenges with confidence. Being a graduate degree, the courses will be more advanced, with an increased focus on the biotechnology industry. Some of the courses you are likely to study as part of the degree are:

  • Drug discovery
  • Regulatory affairs
  • Biotechnology enterprise
  • Biodefense
  • Molecular biotechnology
  • Biomedical technologies
  • Engineering biotechnology
  • Biopharmaceutical biotechnology

Why Earn a Masters in Biotechnology?

When you complete a masters in biotechnology degree, you will have advanced knowledge of various engineering principles within the biological and medical sciences. This will enable you to create software, computer systems, devices, and equipment that are used in the health care industry. You will be responsible for every element of this, including design, implementation, evaluation, training, maintenance, repairs, strategies, and research.

Holding a master’s degree, you are likely to take on a position of coordination and leadership, essentially guiding those who perform the physical product creation. There is a strong focus, in modern medicine, on the design of artificial body parts and rehabilitative exercises tools. On the other hand, others will focus more strongly on computer systems, while others still will build models to understand biological systems.

Furthermore, after you have obtained this degree, you may also be able to work in research. This could be in medical design, pharmaceutical design, biofuel production, genetic engineering, or industrial biotechnology products. You could find employment in private companies, research institutions, universities, hospitals, equipment manufacturing, the pharmaceutical industry, and the government, to name but a few.

Completing a master’s degree greatly increases your opportunity of finding a secure position, more than likely in a role of leadership. Being able to apply your advanced skills will provide you with a greater degree of personal satisfaction. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that biomedical engineers had median earnings of $85,620 per year, but this is at the bachelor’s degree level. Those who complete a master’s degree are more likely to be in the top 10% of earners, who enjoy annual salaries of $134,620 or more. The BLS has also reported that there will be a 23% increase in demand for professionals in this field from 2014 to 2024, translating into some 5,100 new jobs.

Online Option for Masters in Biotechnology

Johns Hopkins University

One online Masters in Biotechnology degree program that you may want to consider is offered by the Krieger School of Arts of Sciences of Johns Hopkins University, a recognized global leader in biotechnology and biological research. The degree is challenging and will prepare you to take on positions of increased responsibilities. You will learn about applied science, basic science, and lab science, usually focusing on a specific industry. The basis is in proteomics, genomics, cell biology, molecular biology, and biochemistry.

The degree covers ten courses and students can choose to submit a thesis. It can also be completed 100% online. Students are respected for their research skills, their ability to lead teams, their decision making skills, and their marketing and management skills. Five different concentrations are available to choose from:

  1. Drug discovery
  2. Regulatory affairs
  3. Biotechnology enterprise
  4. Bioinformatics
  5. Biodefense

Interestingly, students of this degree have the chance to apply to the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health for a fellowship. To achieve this, students must take part in onsite research and they must take courses in Drug Discovery Technologies and Molecular Targets. These cannot be completed online, but require attendance at the Montgomery Count Campus. Upon completion, students will receive a stipend, as well as in-depth experience in cancer research. Few other universities provide students with this opportunity, particularly because the National Institutes of Health are incredibly selective about who they allow to participate in fellowships. This is a true credit to the quality of this particular degree program.

The core courses included as part of the online degree include:

  • Bio-Organic Chemistry
  • Foundations in Bioscience
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Advanced Cell Biology

Students must then complete the core courses as part of their concentration. Enterprise and regulatory affairs core courses include but are not limited to:

  • Biotechnology
  • Translational Biotechnology – From Intellectual Property to Licensing
  • Bioethics
  • Economic Dynamics of Change in Biotechnology
  • Food and Drug Law
  • Leading Change in Biotechnology
  • Bioscience Communication

Health science intensive core courses include:

  • Communication for Health Care Professionals
  • Building and Leading Teams in Health Care
  • The Psychosocial Determinants of Health, Implications on Diagnostics

Students must also complete laboratory courses and science courses, which include independent research.

Clearly, the Johns Hopkins degree is highly intensive and covers all possible areas of biotechnology. It is a very respected degree, and graduates are in high demand across various industries. Some of the careers you could take up once you graduate are:

  • Analyst
  • Research scientists
  • Clinical trial manager
  • Consultant
  • Pharmaceutical project coordinator


By completing a masters in biotechnology degree, you can greatly accelerate your career in research and development, as well as in leadership. You can work in a variety of different industries, choosing from a wealth of different positions. You will be respected for your skills and knowledge in terms of leading teams and innovative thinking and new design. There is also an increasing demand for people with this type of degree because of an industry commitment to attract more people educated at the graduate level. Not just that but there are also changes in the health care industry due to the aging population and their complex health demands and needs. As such, completing this degree will almost guarantee a long and fruitful career.