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Business Leadership in Biotechnology

The Biotechnology Professional Science Master’s at American University is an interdisciplinary partnership between College of Arts and Sciences and Kogod School of Business, designed to transform your understanding of science and prepare you to be a leader in the biotechnology industry. Our curriculum will immerse you in research, healthcare, management, public policy, and entrepreneurship.

  • Students specialize in one of four tracks: Biodefense, Drug Discovery, Biotechnology Management and Bioinformatics.
  • The new AU Hall of Science opened in fall 2020 fosters collaborative research between the Departments of Biology, Environmental Sciences, Chemistry, and Neuroscience.
  • Recent graduates now work or pursue doctoral study at
    • MedImmune
      Genova Diagnostics
      East Coast Institute for Research
    • Johns Hopkins University
      Temple University
      Virginia Tech
  • This program is designated as a STEM degree program.
Washington, DC
Degree Tracks

The Master’s for Business-Savvy Scientists

The MS in Biotechnology integrates the latest research in the biomedical sciences with entrepreneurial immersion. You will conduct impactful scholarly research while developing technology ventures under the mentorship of innovative faculty and local business leaders. With coursework in biology, regulatory science, financial analysis, management, and statistics, you will develop fluency in science and business. Students become life science technology leaders through partnerships with the American University Center for Innovation, AU’s Entrepreneurship Incubator, and external entities, including FedTech, DC I-Corps and regional biotechnology firms.

Full-time students can complete the 30-credit hour program in just 16 months.  With evening, online, and summer courses, this program is also an excellent fit for part-time students and working professionals.

See all admissions and course requirements.

Make a Difference in Your Career and the World

Consistently ranked as one of the best cities for job seekers, Washington, DC, offers access to an extraordinary array of professional opportunities. The numerous cutting-edge government and private industry laboratories in this biotechnology hub offer unlimited opportunities.

You can build ventures with government-sponsored tech-transfer programs, including DC I-Corps and FedTech. With an internship, you can gain hands-on experience and get your foot in the door with local biotechnology employers. Our students have held internships and obtained employment with large firms like AstraZeneca, start-up companies such as Sanaria Inc., and government agencies including the Smithsonian Institution, the National Institutes of Health, and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Knowledgeable Mentors Dedicated to Your Success

Our students benefit from close, one-on-one mentorships with our innovative faculty. You will learn the science of biotechnology from industry veterans with expertise in genomics, computational biology, and science communication. You will also have the opportunity to conduct scholarly research in genomics, bioinformatics, microbiology, and neuroscience. At the same time, you will learn business skills from the exemplary faculty at the highly ranked Kogod School of Business and receive business and entrepreneurial mentorship from executives-in-residence at the American University Center for Innovation.

Tailor your degree to your career goals

Choose one of our four highly sought-after skillsets to focus your studies. Students are required to complete nine credit hours in one of these areas:


The Washington, DC area is a hub for technology and research that supports national defense. Students in this track take courses in physical, material, and microbial science, while preparing to work with organizations contracted by the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and others.

  • BIO 501 Mechanisms of Pathogenesis 
  • BIO 541 Cellular Immunology 
  • BIO 685 Bioinformatics 
  • CHEM 636 Clinical Laboratory: Analysis, Quality Assurance and Control
  • CHEM 668 Medical Biochemistry 
  • CHEM 679 Chemical Warfare Agents 
  • ENVS 685 Remote Sensing of the Environment 
  • ISCI 625 BioPhysics 
  • JLC 678 Investigating Terrorism 


Genomics and data science have accelerated biological innovation in the last decade. Students in this track graduate with advanced knowledge in the life sciences and highly soft-after computational skills.

  • BIO 678 Computational Genomics
  • BIO 685 Bioinformatics 
  • STAT 612 Statistical Programming in R
  • STAT 613 Data Science 
  • STAT 622 Advanced Biostatistics 


Behind every scientific discovery, there is a strong leadership team supporting research. The management track prepares students to become industry executives through courses and experiences in entrepreneurship, finance, and information technology.

  • CHEM 636 Clinical Laboratory: Analysis, Quality Assurance and Control

  • FIN 630 Financial Analysis of the Firm: Concepts and Applications
  • SCI 622 Healthcare Information Technology
  • ITEC 660 Business Intelligence 
  • MGMT 611 Leading and Managing Change
  • MGMT 660 Entrepreneurship and Innovation  


Careers abound in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Students in this track take courses in molecular biosciences, as well as applied courses, including QA/QC, spectroscopy, and healthcare IT.

  • BIO 541 Cellular Immunology 

  • BIO 650 Developmental Biology 

  • BIO 655 Endocrinology 
  • BIO 685 Bioinformatics 
  • CHEM 624 Application of Spectroscopy in Medicinal Chemistry 
  • CHEM 636 Clinical Laboratory: Analysis, Quality Assurance and Control
  • CHEM 668 Medical Biochemistry 
  • ISCI 622 Healthcare Information Technology 

News & Notes

Julian Urrutia-Cater

Grad School Leads Julian Urrutia-Carter to New Start, Biotech Career

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Students working on carbon electrodes in Prof. Zestos' lab.

Fast Sensor Has Potential Use as a Tool

In less than a second, a small sensor used in brain chemistry research can detect key molecules.

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Our Alumni

What Biotech MS grads are doing now (n=25): PhD 20%, 20% biotech company (management), 20% biotech company (science), 12% med school, 8% clinical research (hospital), 8% university research, 4% university teaching, 4% government.
Chart of 25 recent Biotechnology MS post-graduation roles.

Post-graduation role of selected recent alumni:

  • Julian Urrutia-Carter, '23
     Research Fellow, Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Conservation Genomics
  • Nathanael Jiya, '22   
    Strategy Consultant, IBM
  • Kishnoor Bhasin, '22
    Market Development Manager, Parexcel 
  • Michelle Biederman, '17 
    PhD candidate, Johns Hopkins University

Spotlight: Michelle Biederman '17

Michelle Biederman with sign that says "I heart science"

A former navy officer, Michelle Biederman enrolled in the Biotechnology program at American University, where she was a research assistant and a teaching assistant, before entering the Cell, Molecular, Developmental Biology, and Biophysics doctoral program at Johns Hopkins.

"When I started my master’s in biotechnology at AU, I knew I wanted to change my career field, but I wasn't sure where I would fit in the science community after serving nearly nine years in the US Navy. The director of the program, Dr. Kathryn Walters-Conte, sold me on the versatility of the program, and I am so glad she did! The program provided many research options, as well as experience in science communication and business applications. The biology and chemistry faculty at AU helped me to focus my interests and guided me to make the career decisions that fit. As I pursue my PhD in Biology, the diverse perspectives on the science community presented in the AU biotechnology program make me confident that I will be able to explore the opportunities that are right for me."