New online Master of Science in Applied Biotechnology fills need for skilled biotechnology professionals

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents has granted its approval to offer an 11-course, 31-credit online master of science degree in the high-growth field of biotechnology. The Master of Science in Applied Biotechnology is a collaborative partnership of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, University of Wisconsin Extended Campus, and six other University of Wisconsin campuses: UW-Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Whitewater.

headshot of Jocelyn Milner, vice provost for academic affairs
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Jocelyn Milner: UW–Madison is excited to be providing leadership and participating in the MS Applied Biotechnology consortium

“We at UW–Madison are excited to be providing leadership and participating in the MS Applied Biotechnology consortium,” says Jocelyn Milner, vice provost for academic affairs. “This program will serve the needs of both students working in biotechnology industries who are seeking advancement and those who are seeking to deepen their skills to gain access to this kind of employment.”

Taught by expert faculty from all seven campuses, the flexible new master’s degree program will fill a growing need for skilled biotechnology professionals who know the science, understand the industry and diversity of the market, and have the business acumen to help their organizations achieve success.

Courses will start in September pending approval from the Higher Learning Commission.

Biotechnology is booming

“Biotechnology is booming,” says Aaron Brower, executive director of UW Extended Campus. “Wisconsin has seen its share of that growth, being the home to 75 bio-manufacturing companies and internationally recognized for its contribution to biotech research.”

UW–Madison will be responsible for delivering three courses to the MS in Applied Biotechnology curriculum: Quality Control and Validation; Regulatory Practices and Compliance; and Product Development.

headshot of Bryan Husk
Assistant Director, UW–Madison MS in Biotechnology program Bryan Husk: MS in Applied Biotechnology is ideal for students who require a flexible, part-time course schedule

“These topics serve a critical function in commercial biotechnology and are areas the UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health is uniquely qualified to teach, having already established its own successful face-to-face MS in Biotechnology degree in 2002,” says Bryan Husk, assistant director for the UW–Madison MS in Biotechnology program.

Designed with input from industry leaders, the UW Master of Science in Applied Biotechnology will offer a rigorous, multidisciplinary curriculum that prepares students for a variety of roles within diverse areas of biotechnology. Students will graduate with an understanding of the principles and techniques of biotechnology, in addition to skills in organizational leadership, ethics, intellectual property and patents, communication, product development, quality control, and regulatory and compliance practices. Students will choose one or more specialization tracks: Quality Assurance and Compliance, Business Management, or Research and Development.

“Everything taught in the program will be relevant and useful to working students. They’ll be able to apply what they’ve learned immediately, on the job,” says UW System President Ray Cross. “The curriculum was designed to ensure students learn the skills necessary to succeed in the complex biotechnology field. They’ll be well versed in legal and regulatory concerns, capable of designing an experiment, and developing workflow for product quality, consistency, and safety.”

Looking for biotech innovators

The program features a flat-rate tuition that compares favorably to competing graduate programs from other institutions. Like other collaborative online University of Wisconsin programs, students will pay the same tuition whether they live in Wisconsin or out of state. Admission to the program will require a bachelor’s degree. Aptitude tests such as the GMAT and GRE will not be required.

The Master of Science in Applied Biotechnology program is intended for students with a bachelor’s degree in areas such as biological sciences, chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, wildlife ecology, agricultural science, biomedical engineering, environmental science, physics, or geosciences; and who have professional experience in biotechnology or related settings, but limited training in the management field.

“We’re looking for innovative problem-solvers who are passionate and curious, and who want to help bring the great discoveries of biotechnology to the public,” says George Kroeninger, associate dean for program development and management for UW Extended Campus. “Biotechnology can be a satisfying career choice with intrinsic rewards as well as financial.”

Growing catalog of online degrees

The UW Master of Science in Applied Biotechnology joins UW–Madison’s growing catalog of flexible, online degree and certificate programs designed for adult learners.

“Whether limited by geography or available free time, the MS in Applied Biotechnology is ideal for students who cannot access an in-person degree program and maybe require a more flexible, part-time course schedule to complete their degree,” says Husk. “This degree enables UW–Madison to offer a world-class degree beyond the state of Wisconsin to national, even global audiences.”

Prospective students seeking more information about the University of Wisconsin Applied Biotechnology program by calling 608-262-2011 or 877-895-3276, or emailing learn@uwex.edu.