Online Master’s in Biotechnology Programs

Evan Thompson
Updated October 24, 2023
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We may not be advanced enough to build a real-life Jurassic Park yet, but biotechnology is still one of the most intriguing fields of today’s scientific world.

Cell therapies that can reprogram a person’s cells inside their own body and human gut microbes capable of improving health are among the most anticipated breakthroughs. Many of the workers involved in these areas have degrees like an online master’s in biotechnology.

Explore this page to find out more about online master’s in biotechnology programs, which biotechnology careers are in demand, and how much you can expect to earn after graduation.

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Schools Offering Online Master’s in Biotechnology Programs

There are many options for online master’s in biotechnology programs. The cost, curriculum, and admission requirements of each program vary. Most take 1-2 years to complete.

Some programs offer generalized tracks to biotechnology careers. Others may offer specialization tracks in areas such as bioinformatics or biotechnology management. Some also have a combination of online and on-campus courses or hybrid programs.

Finding a program that matches your interests and preferences is key. To help you with your search, here are some of the many schools offering online master’s degrees in biotechnology.

Johns Hopkins University

  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Private nonprofit research university
  • Master of science in biotechnology
  • Online or in-person
  • Average program tuition and fees: $52,000

JHU’s master’s in biotechnology program core coursework includes biochemistry, advanced cell biology, and molecular biology. There are more than 100 electives, such as bioethics and marketing aspects of biotechnology. Six concentrations are also available, including biodefense, bioinformatics, and biotechnology enterprises.

Purdue University

  • West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Public nonprofit university
  • Master of science in biotechnology innovation and regulatory science (Hybrid)
  • Online and in-person
  • Average program tuition and fees: $30,000

Purdue’s biotechnology master’s degree is a hybrid program. Students take four semesters of courses online with one on-campus weekend each semester. The program links biotechnology innovation with regulatory science and quality assurance. The curriculum covers topics like drug development, good regulatory practices, and quality management.

Mount St. Mary’s University

  • West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Private, nonprofit Roman Catholic university
  • Master of science in biotechnology and management
  • Online or in-person
  • Average program tuition and fees: $25,200

Mount St. Mary’s program develops skills for navigating the worlds of science and business. Specific concepts include moving products to market, industry regulations, and product development. Science courses focus on protein biochemistry, molecular genetics, and drug discovery. Business courses explore organizational management, financial reporting, and information technology.

Harvard University

  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Private nonprofit research university
  • Master of liberal arts, biotechnology
  • Online and in-person
  • Average program tuition and fees: $38,640

Morehouse School of Medicine

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Private medical school
  • Master of science in biotechnology
  • Online
  • Average program tuition and fees: $33,250

Northeastern University

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Public nonprofit university
  • Master of science in biotechnology
  • Online or in-person
  • Average graduate tuition and fees: $27,009

University of Maryland Global Campus

  • Adelphi, Maryland
  • Public nonprofit university
  • Master of science in biotechnology (bioinformatics, biosecurity and biodefense, biotechnology management, and biotechnology regulatory affairs)
  • Online
  • Average graduate tuition and fees: $9,522 (in state) | $12,132 (out of state)

University of Wisconsin, Green Bay

  • Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Public nonprofit university
  • Master of science in applied biotechnology
  • Online
  • Average graduate tuition and fees: $9,571 (in state) | $19,126 (out of state)

University of Wisconsin, Madison

  • Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Public nonprofit research university
  • Master of science in applied biotechnology
  • Online
  • Average graduate tuition and fees: $12,251 (in state) | $25,577 (out of state)

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

  • Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Private nonprofit research university
  • Master of science in biotechnology
  • Online
  • Average graduate tuition and fees: $29,940

What to Know About Online Master’s in Biotechnology Coursework

Biotechnology combines biology and technology to develop or create new products and services to benefit humanity. It’s also an intersection of many disciplines, including medicine, agriculture, and genetic technology.

An online master’s in biotechnology is a flexible way to pursue careers in areas like food safety, environmental conservation, and biodefense. Many online programs offer customizable schedules that allow students to balance work and school.

Most degrees require 30-45 credits and take at least two years to complete. Many factors affect the path to completion, however. Some schools require cohorts in which a group of students enters together and takes all courses in lockstep.

While these programs make course planning and consistency easy, they may lengthen degree completion times. Other schools maintain generous transfer credit policies, which can shorten a student’s time to completion.

Some schools require online students to take labs or bootcamps in which they visit campus and delve into actionable, real-world biotechnology alongside their peers in the program. Other schools allow distance education learners to complete the program entirely from home.

Is Biotechnology in High Demand?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for biotech workers is high. The BLS projects jobs for life, physical, and social science roles, which includes biotechnology, to grow faster than the average for all professions from 2022-2032. The fastest-growing biotechnology jobs include medical scientists, biochemists, and biophysicists.

What Can You Do With a Master’s in Biotechnology?

Job options with a master’s in biotechnology are diverse. Biotechnology jobs at the master’s degree level include plant breeder, biomedical engineer, and clinical research coordinator. Scientists and nonscientists can work in areas like medical research, agricultural development, and biotechnology production.

Career Profiles

Biochemists and Biophysicists

These professionals conduct experiments and analyze the results to advance the body of knowledge regarding the physical and chemical principles of biological processes and living things. Most biochemists and biophysicists need a doctoral degree, but a master’s in biotechnology can serve as the academic foundation for the doctorate.

  • Median Salary (May 2022): $103,810
  • Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: 7%

Biomedical Engineers

Biomedical engineers solve engineering problems and develop new technology for improving human health. A biomedical engineer works with healthcare devices, equipment, software, and computer systems. For example, biomedical engineers sometimes build artificial body parts or rehabilitative exercise equipment. Other focus areas include bioinstrumentation, biomechanics, biomaterials, and rehabilitation engineering.

  • Median Salary (May 2022): $99,550
  • Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: 5%

Agricultural and Food Scientists

Agricultural and food scientists modify and improve crops, animals, and food using biotechnology. Scientists working with crops may cross-breed plants to produce superior genes. Agricultural scientists might develop tests and antibodies for animals to avoid ailments. Many agricultural and food scientists have a master’s or doctoral degree.

  • Median Salary (May 2022): $74,940 per year
  • Projected 10-Year Job Growth: 6%

Medical Scientists

Medical scientists work in schools and research and development centers to conduct clinical trials and other research that results in findings that improve overall human health. Most medical scientists must have a Ph.D. in biology or a related field. But, a master’s degree in related fields like biotechnology or biology and work experience may qualify you for some roles.

  • Median Salary (May 2022): $99,930 per year
  • Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: 10%

Natural Sciences Managers

Serving primarily in manufacturing centers, the federal government, and research and development institutions, natural sciences managers oversee scientists who perform research, development, quality control, testing, and production activities. People in this field often blend a background in management with knowledge of and experience in the natural sciences.

  • Median Salary (May 2022): $144,440 per year
  • Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: 5%

How Much Does a Master’s in Biotechnology Degree Cost?

Costs vary, but a master’s degree is usually a big investment. Most master’s programs cost over $57,000, according to BestColleges research. In 2020, an online-only graduate degree in science, engineering, and math cost $12,217 in average annual tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics data shows.

Many students combine funding from different sources to meet the gap between what they owe and what they can afford. Federal aid, scholarships, and fellowships are among the most common ways to help pay for a master’s degree in biotechnology. Some funding is also available for certain groups of students, such as women or those belonging to minority groups.

  • checkFederal Financial Aid: The U.S. government offers many low-cost loans and other funding opportunities to master’s degree students. Applicants must use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form to apply. Scholarships and loan repayment assistance are also available for military members and their families.
  • checkDepartment of Energy: The Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE CSGF) is available for biotechnology graduate students. Established in 1991, DOE CSGF provides funding to first-year graduate students in computer, mathematical, physical, engineering, or life sciences.
  • checkScholarships: Some master’s in biotechnology programs, such as the University of Texas at Tyler Health Science Center, award internal scholarships who meet eligibility criteria. The University of San Francisco’s graduate biotechnology program considers every student for merit-based scholarships during the admissions process.
  • checkDiversity Scholarships: Nonprofit organizations the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and American Indian Graduate Center award scholarships to graduate students of Hispanic descent or Native American students focusing in STEM fields.

How Can I Choose a Quality Online Master’s in Biotechnology Program?

The best online biotechnology master’s programs hold regional accreditation with the appropriate agency along with programmatic accreditation from a reputable organization such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology or the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Along with accreditation, top schools offer a multidisciplinary curriculum that blends research and innovation with the latest trends and discoveries in biotechnology. Courses should draw from molecular biology, genomics, cell biology, biochemistry, and proteomics. In the best programs, students take both traditional courses and labs.

A hallmark of any great academic program is the quality of the faculty. While online faculty members may not be the same people as their on-campus counterparts, they need to hold equivalent academic qualifications.

Usually, that means a Ph.D. from a top program, a background in research, and extensive teaching and publication credits. Prospective students should pay careful attention to graduation rates. A low rate may signal a degree program without adequate support for students.

Professional Organizations in Biotechnology

Professional organizations offer skills development, connect you with top professionals, and enhance your business profile. The biotechnology field has many professional organizations, including:

  • American Biotechnology Association: The American Biotechnology Association facilitates diverse career pathways for biotech students, including underrepresented minority (URM) students.
  • Biotechnology Innovation Organization: This organization serves primarily as an advocate for the industry, promoting public policies that improve patient access and support innovation. Members can attend conferences, join committees, and read journals to stay up to date on policy-related happenings in the field.
  • Institute of Biological Engineering: Engineers, technologists, scientists, and allied professionals who join this organization can take advantage of meetings and publications, along with a career center and access to educational materials. The institute also publishes the Journal of Biological Engineering.
  • Biomedical Engineering Society: More than 7,000 biomedical engineering students and professionals make up this society. Members receive a subscription to the Annals of Biomedical Engineering along with discounted attendance at conferences. The organization also offers awards, fellowships, and a job board.
  • International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering: Pharmaceutical professionals can join this society, which offers conferences, training courses, and regulatory resources. Students and young professionals can participate in activities designed just for them, and local chapters allow members to network in their areas.
  • Society for Biomaterials: Academic, healthcare, governmental, and business professionals who join the society can take advantage of professional development and networking opportunities along with annual meetings and publications such as the Journal of Biomedical Research and Applied Biomaterials.

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