Our nurturing and multidisciplinary environment allows students to cultivate important learning and innovation skills.Our nurturing and multidisciplinary environment allows students to cultivate important learning and innovation skills.

Program Overview

Northwestern University's Master of Biotechnology program (MBP) prepares scientists and engineers for fulfilling and dynamic careers in biotechnology and associated professions by offering integrated coursework, extensive laboratory research, and training in current industry practices.

Our real-world approach, relies on the input of our Industrial Advisory Board to ensure the program keeps students up-to-date on the latest biotech industry changes and challenges. Graduates leave with a full set of competencies designed specifically to satisfy the demands of modern biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

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Program Duration

The MBP is a 15-month, full-time program with an optional internship that extends the program duration to 21 months.

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Program Outcomes

Our nurturing and multidisciplinary environment allows students to cultivate important learning and innovation skills through:

  • Education: Acquiring the technical and soft skills necessary to succeed in biotechnology
  • Research: Pursuing a 1,000-hour research project in a Northwestern University or industry laboratory
  • Practical Experience: Obtaining an optional co-op internship in an industry, non-profit, or academic laboratory
  • Professional Connections: Connecting with biotechnology professionals via seminars, site visits, and other events
  • Alumni Network: Participating in alumni communities and making connections around the world
  • Social Good: Contributing to community and global causes via research and volunteer opportunities

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Research Emphasis

MBP students gain hands-on research experience by completing at least 1,000 hours in a single Northwestern University faculty laboratory—planning and executing experiments, analyzing data, and drawing conclusions. Students select a research project in one of the following areas:

  • Life Sciences
  • Biological Engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterial Sciences
  • Clinical Research

Learn more about student research
View a list of research areas and preceptors

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The M.S. in Biotechnology curriculum includes 13 units of coursework and 7.5 units of research. Students have the option of completing the 20.5 units required for graduation in 15 months, or they may enroll in our six-month co-op based industrial internship, which extends the duration of the program to 21 months. Students may also select from a range of certificates, minors, and electives to tailor the program to their area of interest.

Learn more about the curriculum

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The Cohort Experience

The program is limited to approximately 35-40 students per year who progress through the program as a group. This ensures that students receive a high level of instructor attention and also creates the opportunity to form close bonds with their fellow classmates, which often transcend academia and continue into the workplace.

Learn more about our student demographics

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The success of this interdisciplinary program depends upon the collaboration of a diverse team of faculty. MBP instructors create a supportive yet challenging environment for their students, one that engages their cognitive ability while developing interpersonal and relationship-building skills. Each faculty member takes a different approach and offers a different perspective.

View all faculty members

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Career Placement

We connect our students with companies who discover and develop products in the pharmaceutical, medical device, agricultural, and industrial fields.

With our emphasis on research and bioprocess engineering, most graduates tend to find positions in biologics research, process development, pharmaceutical discovery, or medical diagnostics. However, students looking for alternatives to research or process development careers may consider opportunities in regulatory affairs, intellectual property law, or business operations where some MBP graduates now work.

Learn more about career placement
Find MBP alumni and board members around the world

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Chicago: A Key player in the Biotech Industry

Invention is in the air here in the Windy City. Chicago’s mayor consistently advocates for a growing biotechnology industry, and over the last ten years, Chicago and its suburbs haven’t disappointed. In 2012, over 800 patent applications came from the Chicagoland area (360 of which were granted), the area received over $87 million in venture capital funding, and another $48.4 million in NIH funding. (Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, 2015)

Chicago also routinely hosts the annual BIO International Convention, and is home to pharmaceutical powerhouses, Takeda Pharmaceutical, AbbVie, Abbott and Astellas Pharma, as well as several start-ups, research parks, and incubators.

See a list of local biotech companies and organizations