Frequently Asked Questions

The following FAQ is designed to give you additional insights into the several important aspects of our program that represent the MBP competitive advantages and have generated considerable interest from the applicants. Whereas other MBP webpages frequently focus on the “big picture,” this FAQ is designed to help you get a more personal feel for our program. Some of the following questions and answers focus on operational and structural details of the MBP; others are included to give you an idea of the MBP environment and culture. 

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Admissions Questions

  1. Do you provide a research or teaching assistantship as part of the program?
    Students in our program do not qualify for paid research assistantships or teaching assistantships. Periodically, our program hires a few MBP students to help us teach MBP courses (in particular, the fall and spring laboratory courses), but this does not provide a significant source of income.

  2. Do you accept a three-year degree?
    We accept a three-year degree on a case-by-case basis.

  3. How can I increase my chances of being admitted?
    We value the ability to think critically and creatively (i.e., solve problems). Demonstrating these skills will increase your chances of being admitted.

  4. What is the minimum GPA required for admissions?
    We do not have one. We look at the application holistically. Extensive work experience, or strong post-graduate academic performance can offset weakness in the undergraduate GPA.

  5. Do you accept IELTS in place of TOEFL?
    Yes, we do.

  6. Do you have a part-time option?
    No. Our experience with part-time option in the past proved it to be unsustainable.

  7. May I begin the program in winter or spring quarter?
    No, you may only begin the program in fall quarter.

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Research Questions

  1. Are there many research groups with industry connections?
    There is a small number of research preceptors performing joint research with industrial partners. Opportunities for MBP students to engage with industry in these labs will depend on intellectual property and other contractual obligations. However, the MBP offers opportunities (7-10 projects per year) to conduct research at local companies instead of Northwestern University laboratories. These companies include Pfizer, Ohmx, Exicure, Nanocytomics, and BriteSeed. International students choosing to conduct research at local companies are limited to 3 month long internships due to a visa requirement.

  2. How many hours per week will I be spending in the lab?
    As a guideline, we require our students to spend at least 20 hours/week during the winter and spring quarters and award 1.5 units/quarter for these efforts. In the summer quarter, students continue research full-time (40 hours/week for 12 weeks) and receive 3.5 units. The research requirement is completed in the second fall quarter at a rate of at least 15 hours per week for a total of 1 additional unit. Students doing an internship during the first summer and fall quarters will complete 4.5 units of research (about 600 hours) during the second winter and spring quarters. All in all, an MBP graduate accumulates a total of at least 1000 hours of research (7.5 units).

  3. How will I manage my time between taking courses and doing research in the lab?
    The MBP accommodates research by scheduling all the required and core courses on Tuesdays and Thursdays, leaving Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays allocated for research. Students are encouraged to choose their electives judiciously, so that they do not fragment the three days allocated for research. Students doing research on the Chicago campus or in the industry should consider the time spent in commuting between campuses.

  4. How can I get more information about research? Can I contact research preceptors myself?
    You can get more information about research by exploring the websites/articles of the research preceptors listed on our website. You can also contact us with any specific question about research. We discourage students from contacting research preceptors prior to enrollment in the MBP because we have a structure and mechanism in the fall quarter that allows for sufficient interactions between students and preceptors.

  5. How would my decision to do an internship affect my research project?
    Your decision to do an internship may affect your choice of a research project. While most research preceptors do not object to students splitting the research project into two parts, others may insist on an uninterrupted research project. In the latter case, you will still have an opportunity to enroll in an internship after you have completed all five quarters of the MBP coursework and research.

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Career Opportunities Questions

  1. When should I start looking for an internship?
    If you are interested in starting an internship in June, we recommend that you start looking for opportunities in August - December because most large companies start recruiting way ahead of the internship start date. If you are interested in starting an internship in January, we recommend that you start looking in September - February.

  2. After an internship, will the company offer me a permanent position?
    A small but significant number of companies have hired our interns as permanent employees after they completed their internships. When this does not happen, an industrial internship still makes students more competitive and improves their chances of getting hired by other companies.

  3. What does the MBP do to help students find permanent positions?
    As part of our graduation requirements, students enroll in a three-quarter-long professional development course. This course provides students with the professional developmental skills necessary to succeed in the biotechnology industry. Each quarter, students learn different skills, such as fundamentals of resume and cover letter writing, the basics of LinkedIn for job/internship searches, networking skills, interviewing skills, and personal brand building. The MBP Assistant Director of External Relations & Career Management coaches students from the beginning of the program until they graduate and beyond.

  4. When should 2nd year students start looking for full-time positions?
    If the student is graduating in December, we recommend that s/he starts looking for a full-time position during the summer, preferably in June. If the student is graduating in June, s/he should start looking in December. Typically, it takes 6-8 months to find a full-time position.

  5. If I am an international student, will I have difficulty finding a job/internship?
    International students don’t usually have any significant difficulties finding internship opportunities. However, some companies do not sponsor international applicants for full-time jobs, so students should only focus on companies that do offer sponsorship.

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Additional Questions

If you have a question which is not discussed here, please email the program