Masters in Biotechnology: MS or PSM Degree?

Raghuram Sukumar Admission 60 Comments

Most universities in the U.S. offer M.S. or master’s degree programs in biotechnology, while some offer professional science master’s (PSM) in biotechnology. Do you want to know which program is right for you?

Master’s in Biotechnology

MS in biotechnology is offered by most universities in the U.S. Most of these graduate programs will require students to complete around 10 to 12 courses to earn the M.S. Sometimes, a program will include projects or thesis.

Once you have completed all the requirements, an M.S. in biotechnology or master’s in biotechnology degree will be awarded to you.

However, it’s common that most students don’t bother checking what courses are offered and the degree requirements before applying for any admission.

PSM in Biotechnology

Biotechnology companies help in formulating the curriculum of PSM programs. A PSM program typically consists of 70% biotechnology and 30% business related course work.

For instance, if you are required to take 10 courses to get a PSM degree, 7 will be biotechnology-based and 3 will be business-based courses.

It should be noted that you will be required to complete a 3 month internship program as part of the degree requirements.

MS or PSM – Biotechnology?

If you don’t have any work experience yet, then go for PSM. It’s not because you can study a few management courses, but you get to work as intern for at least 3 months.

Having some internship experience will help you find a job after graduation. If you have 1+ years work experience, then taking either PSM or MS will make not any big difference.

You can still apply to the same job with a PSM or an MS degree.

Comment from NK

I have got admits from three universities in USA for MS program [biotechnology].
Which among the following universities is the best:
1) Illinois Institute of Technology [for PSM] 2) California State University – Fresno [for MS] 3) University of Houston – Clear Lake [for MS] I have been offered PSM as well, so which is a better course, PSM or MS?

Here are few pointers to consider:

  1. You should have known even some substantial info about the courses and schools before applying for PSM and MS. Making the actual decisions only after getting admissions shows that you haven’t done much work about degree requirements and job prospects.
    However, it’s good that you are taking initiative to find some important answers.
  2. There are advantages and disadvantages in all the 3 schools.
    • IIT @ Chicago – PSM reasons stated above will hold if you don’t have work experience; it’s also quite a cold place to live in.
    • CSU – Fresno – Close to biotech companies in Silicon Valley; but expensive.
    • UH – Clear Lake – Cheap, good college, but you have to search for internship; it’s a nice and warm place.
  3. You have to decide how much money you can afford, especially if you don’t get any aid.
  4. My Choice will be UHCL – It’s cheap compared to the other choices. You can put 110% effort to search for internship.

I think you might want to read further about the subject. Please check this post, Biotechnology Job Search, which discusses the experiences of a recent M.S. biotechnology graduate.

Comments

  1. im looking for masters in biotechnology but some universities offering psm and MA in biotech. which one is better for jobs after completion of the course is it MS or PSM or MA . please tell me im in bit confusion and john Hopkins university offering MS biotech is it online or else class room program also.

    1. Author

      Go for MS in Biotech. But, if you get PSM go for that as well. In teh end you can’t get into management job just because of PSM unless you have several years of work experience.

      1. ok can you please the universities which are offering MS Biotechnology and PSM Biotechnology.

        Can You please tell me the universities which are offering Only Biochemistry some universites are having maths in biochem course i dont want that subjects only biochem and biotech course

  2. Hi,

    I am received admits from the following universities for Fall 2015 for PSM in Biotechnology.
    Please do let me know which would be the best option in all aspects.

    Northeastern university- Boston
    Rutgers- New Brunswick campus
    Texas A&M university

    Please do let me know asap as I need to go ahead with a decision at the earliest.
    Thanks in advance 🙂

  3. Hai Friends…

    this is Anushajay ..

    I need your assistance in what course i need to take up in my MS… my education details are I did my MBA HR with CGPA of 7.9 and my UG in B.sc Bio-Tech with 78% from Andhra University….also currently working as an HR with 3 + yrs of experience.. Also today i have been to Choprra’s an overseas consultants… they suggested me to take up MS in PSM… but i thought of taking MS in HRM…. i dont mind taking up any of the course… HSB please guide me with which program to take up with the cost (as am looking for some low cost program)…. I have my GRE on Jul 18th… Also advise me on the scores i should get…. Awaiting for your response…

  4. Hello HSB,

    Quick update, When would your guide to PSM studies int he US be ready :)?

  5. Hello,
    My interest is in doing phd in biological sciences like stem cells/ molecular genetics. is it good idea to go for double masters in usa as i am late for phd in fall 2013 as per deadlines…

    1. Hello Gipshu, It is a little difficult to comment upon the situation you have posted for. As it looks like you are already a post graduate, you can take up some projects to build a strong application for PhD for Fall of 2014. This way you can save an additional year you would be spending on your second Masters. Another aspect to this is, PhD admissions are quite tough specially into biological sciences programmes. Thus a second Masters in USA would make PhD admissions a little easy. Think over the two possibilities to take a final call on the same. For further suggestions feel free to post complete profile details in the forums section.

  6. Hai HSB,

    I really need your help friends.. I am an Undergraduate student currently at my final year of BIOTECHNOLOGY programme in INDIA. I would like to do my masters in US. I am in a great mess to choose whether MS in BIOTECHNOLOGY or MS in BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING? As far I heard, Job scenerio after MS in Biomed was so poor. I am not aware of jobs after MS in BIOTECHNOLOGY.
    Can anyone please suggest me what course to take up for my grad studies? I m seeking course which would offer me great job exposure..

  7. Hi,
    I am currently trying to decide which program to take up between an M.S.Bioengineering at Tufts University (http://engineering.tufts.edu/academics/gradprograms/bioengineering.htm) and professional M.S.Biotechnology at University of Pennsylvania (http://www.upenn.edu/biotech/),I have admits from both.

    My interest still lies in Bioenterpreneurship,perhaps still slightly inclined towards the technical aspect of it,however definitely not strictly academic research.In my understanding,the professional Master’s sounds like a better fit.UPenn is also ranked higher than Tufts.However,I do so love Boston and its amazing Biotech culture!

    It would really help to know your opinion is about this.How do the two degrees compare when it comes to job opportuntities post graduation? How does Philadelphia compare to Boston in terms of the industry and exposure?
    Thanks in advanced.
    p.s.-It would also be great to connect with anyone who has done such a degree (someone mentioned the JHU AAP degree above and the KGI degree too)

  8. Hi all,

    i have got admit so far from four universities for PSM biotech
    1. North eastern university
    2. university of delaware
    3. keck graduate institute in california (MBS program)
    4. univ of massachusetts lowell

    As of now i have finalized on north eastern univ

    but i have also applied at san jose state university (california)

    just wanted to know among the two i.e.
    1. north eastern university
    2. san jose state university
    which one is better in terms of job prospects and placement cell ?

    1. Hi Gargi,
      Did you find anything regarding San Jose? Can you please let me know how is the PSM program there.

    2. keck is expensive but job opportunities are good….may i know ur gre n toefle score??

  9. Hi,

    I have received admits for MS – Biotechnology Fall 2012 from following universities so far:
    1. Northeastern, Boston
    2. NYU – Poly Tech
    3. University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford

    Which one is the best among these, according to you?

  10. Hi All,

    My GRE scores is 294 – total , Quant : 152 and Verbal : 142 and IELTS – 7 overall.
    I am looking forward for MS in Biotechnology(mainly Food technology and not Food Science)
    I have listed few universities . Pl can you guys comment on it :
    Uni of Texas San Antonio
    Oklahoma state univ
    IIT
    mississippi state univ
    univ missouri columbia coll
    north dakota state univ
    uni of Toronto
    univ of Calgary
    Uni of British Columbia

  11. hey i got admission in rooseveltuiversity for ms biotechnology and science . now if i want to take admission in psm for jan 2012 intake is that possible?
    if i got visa on roosevelt university admission than it is possible to change course after reaching to us?

  12. hello sir/mam,
    i am currently in 7th sem doin btech in biotechnology,i have scored 323 on 340 on revised GRE scale,i don’t want to do my masters in core biotech fields,i am considering PSM as an option,which good clgs r offering PSM in US???R there any other options apart frm PSM if one doesn’t wishes to do masters in core biotech…
    Waiting for a quick reply!!!

  13. Hey, i want to ask some questions regarding studying biotechnology in Houston, because i am also applying for my masters in UHSL. can you provide me your email id ?

  14. Hello,

    I want to apply to a short MS or PSM program, but my academic average is 76.4-graduated from Jordan- and my GRE is low ranged (900-1100; Quantitative rages 550-650, I still haven’t got my scores yet) but I think it’ll be hard to find a university to admit in such grades.
    Who can kindly advise me to which universities to apply to, (Illinois preferable)

    Thanks,
    Hanna

  15. I am looking for admission in spring for PSM. Is it okay? I have IELTS ( general ) score 6 with graduation in biology. Please let me know.

    1. Hi Ben,

      There may be PSM programs that admit for the spring semester, but not all programs offer that option. I would also say that is more widely available for part time programs than full time and as an international student in the US, you would be required to be a full time student.
      Best,
      Daniel Chatham

  16. Hi all,

    I am an undergrad student pursuing B.Tech Biotechnology from Anna University,Chennai, India. I want to pursue masters in biotech with industry experience. I had applied to various universities in this regard. I had applied for a Professional Science Masters program as it offers courses from biotech and business and requires 3 months internship.

    I have admits from Texas A&M University and North Carolina State University for PSM in biotechnology. Which university is a better option?

    Aparna

    1. Hi Aparna
      I have studied your post.I have completed my graduation in B.Tech Biotechnology from Anna University,Chennai, India. Iam applying for masters in U.S Can you help me how to get financial aid and how much it would cost to complete the course.

  17. Hi All,

    I have applied to the PSM Microbial Biotechnology graduate program at NCSU.. If anyone else has applied to the same course please share your interview experience.. Thanks a lot !

    Sandra

  18. I AM JUST COMPLETING MY BS (HONOUR) IN UNIVERSITY OF MALAKAND (PAKISTAN).I WANT TO COMPLRTE MY MS IN BIOTECHNOLOGY IN USA WHOULD U LIKE TO PROVIDE ME A SCHOLARSHIP. I ALSO BELONGS TO SWAT WHICH ARE REALY EFFECTED BY TALIBANS AND OUR WHOLE EDUCATION SYSTEM IS DESTROYED.KINDLY HELP ME

    THANKYOU

  19. i want do ms in biotechnology without gre ,ilets exams in europe any university without these exams please mail me name of the university to my mail id please

  20. Hii HSB,

    I have completed my Integrated M.Tech (Biotechnology), B.tech (Bioinformatics) with 74%. My gre score is 1280 (560 verbal n 720 quant). And my TOEFL score is 97. I wish to pursue MS from USA.

    I also have 1 research paper accepted in an international journal and one article submitted in a national journal. Along with that i have done 2 internships in Piramal Healthcare. Plzzz suggest me some univ where i can find scholarships and job won't be a problem.

    Guys plz help me out.

    Thanx in advance!! 🙂

  21. Hi,

    I have got two offers from US universities:

    1) PSM Nanoscience from Arizona State university

    2) MS Biology from IIT, Chicago

    I have done BSc in Zoology and MSc in Biotechnology from India.

    Kindly advice me what to opt for.

    Thankyou

  22. I completed my B. E. biotechnology i.e. 12+4, i got admission to California State University, but not getting visa for USA, now i am appearing for IELTS and wants to go to Canada, but under spp program there is not good course as advanced Diploma in biotechnology so which step i have to follow, please guide me

  23. hi freinds,

    i have graduated in biotechnology (BSc three year degree and one year MSc part I from India) . Now I am in process of taking admit in a US university for MS graduate program in Biotechnology. May i get some opinion and input regarding ranking and comment on following US universities:

    -Houson clearlake

    -georgetown

    -william paterson

    -univ of central missouri st. louis

    is william paterson good. pl comment

    1. What's your GRE ??

      DROP William Patterson.

      Check with UMass-Lowell, Brandeis Univ for MS in Biotech

  24. i have finished my btech in biotech with a 70%aggregate and have a GRE score of 1440 plus TOEFL score of 113..i had applied to 7 us universities for ms in cell and molecular biology and was rejected by most..m assuming bcoz of my lack of research experience..i have an admit from iupui for ms in biology with scholarship..and the degree they offer is from purdue university..now m very confused as to whether i should opt for the course or wait for a year and do some research and apply for ms in biotechnology itself

    1. Your GRE and TOEFL scores are very good! plus you had a Btech in Biotechnology.

      Could you tell me where all did you apply?

      And which universities accepted you?

  25. Hello,

    I have got admits from the following universities for M.S in Biotechnology for Fall 2010.

    Georgetown University

    University of Illinois, Chicago (MS in Medical Biotechnology)

    Northeastern University (PSM Biotechnology)

    University of Central Florida

    Texas Tech

    Kindly comment on the above mentioned list (especially UIC).

    Also,please suggest me regarding selection of the University.

  26. I got in the Biotechnology master programs in Columbia and Johns Hopkins. My goal is getting into the business path in the Biotech industry. Now I am having a hard time choosing between these two programs.
    Columbia seems to have a mroe prestige program than Hopkins has. Columbia only accepts 20+ student per year in a very strict manner for the program while Hopkins admission is year long without even asking for recommandations. Columbia's program is offered within the GSAS, Hopkins program is under something called Advanced Academic Programs within its GSAS, which kind of like a continue education program and the program can be even completed online. However, Hopkins ranks much higher in the field of Bioscience than Columbia.
    The main reason I cannot decide between these two program is the focus of the study.
    Hopkins's program has a concentration in Biotech Enterprise. This track allows me to take many business classes that is related to biotech buisiness. It seems to fit in my career goal.
    Columbia's program is more a general Bioscience program. It does not focus on the field I want to get into. So I am worried about getting the degree from Columbia would not get me into the business path. However, Columbia does offer some buisiness classes within its program, and these classes are taught in Columbia's buisiness school, which are quite attractive.
    After all, I am more toward to attend Columbia.
    Any advice or suggestion from any one?

    1. Sorry don't have any advice for you… but do have some questions. I'm currently an undergraduate at The Ohio State University and these are the two programs that I have the most interest in mostly for the same reasons as you. I'm set to graduate next fall and I was just wondering about the admissions process of the two schools and how difficult you think it is to to get into both of them. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

    2. I’d suggest Columbia. At a graduate level, it really matters where you get your degree from. And you also walk away with an MA is a year’s time as opposed to most other places.

      You can always do a sponsored MBA later. Look for combined programs (something I believe John Hopkins offers).

  27. i ve completed my post graduation in biotech from india…will i be able to pursue psm…and is gre very tough because i am not good at maths and it scares me… are there psm courses in uk?

    1. Mrinalini,
      PSM are non-thesis programs offered only in USA uiversities.
      If you have already done masters in relevant specialisations, there is no point of applying to PSM unless you are not interested in doing Ph.D.
      Regarding GRE, quite a lot students from India without
      core background of maths give GRE every year and do well.
      Its upto you only to prepare yourself for the GRE.

  28. Hi,

    I have just completed my B-tech Biotech and and currently studying for my GRE exam.I would like to know if doing an M.S in biomedical sciences would be beneficial or not.Are the job prospects good enough after doing a masters in this subject?

  29. Iam currently studying in 7th semester[B.Tech Biotechnology].

    I wish to apply for MS in Biotechnology course in Fall 2010!!My average academic score is around 50%!!

    My GRE score is 1160[verbal-590 and quant-570]…i plan to give my TOEFL in november…!!

    i dnt wanna go for research…!!I wish to do management studies after my masters!!wat course wud be best for me PSM or MS ??

    wat are my chances of getting admission in a good university??

    1. @jay sharma

      what do you mean exactly by good university

      each university is good, depending up on your needs, and outlook

      one person taste is different from other person

      beauty lies in the beholders eyes friend

      join the premium club member and benefit

      writ to the admin of this blog for enrolling , paid member ship only

      cheers

      easwaran

      Member premium club , blissfully

    2. @Jay Sharma,

      Which Undergraduate university you are from ?

      What is the average % of topper from your university/college ?

      To me, your quant score looks very very low.

      If possible, I would prefer you retake GRE and score at least 700+ in quants.

      Which management studies are you talking about (MBA or MS or MIS)

      Make sure you know that most of the good USA universities offering MBA require to have a job experience and excellent GMAT score.

    3. @Jay Sharma,
      I have a resembling situation now, my academic average is 76.4 but my GRE is low ranged (900-1100; Quantitative rages 550-650, I still haven’t got my scores yet) I want to apply to a short MS or PSM program, but I think it’ll be hard to find a university to admit in such grades. so what happened with you, what universities accepted you? what do you advise me?

  30. Hye,

    i have completed Bachlor of science in bioteechnology in india which is 3 years course.Now, can i apply for M.S. in biotech in US.?plz reply.I m preparing for GRE.

    1. dear friends to study MS in USA, most of the universities require a 4 years degree . Remember GRE and TOFEL will help you obtaining a admition in the European countries.

      1. hi Babu

        thanks for your posting

        yes US higher education needs 16 yrs of education

        in fact one is 15yrs education can get admitted in to

        community college in usa and then proceed to pg

        Europe is a general word

        my friend

        please be specific

        is it uk, Germany,Norway,Ireland

        etc

        thanks for your view

    2. hi devansh,
      were you able to get into some university in usa with your 3 yr degree. i am also planning the same but i am really confused rite now. please reply….

  31. hi,

    i have completed 3 years of bachelors degree in biotechnology from india.i would like to know wchich examinations shud i appear inorder to study in us to persue my masters in biootec.and i wud like to know the minimum number of years of education inn india to study abroad…

  32. Hi,

    I have just completed my BTech in Biotechnology from India. I wanted to know whether i can apply for the spring session 2010 ? And if I can then which all good colleges have intakes for students during this session. I will be looking for both PSM or MS in biotechnology.

    Thnks !!

    1. Akshit – Yes, you can apply for Spring 2010 and if you subscribe to news letter, you will get an update regarding premium contents that will help with your GRE and University Selection.

  33. Hi,

    I have just completed my BTech in Biotechnology from India. I wanted to know whether i can apply for the spring session 2010 ? And if I can then which all good colleges have intakes for students during this session. I will be looking for both PSM or MS in biotechnology.

    1. Hi

      I have just completed my BSc in Biotech and I want to pursue my Masters in Biotechnology in US. Can you tell me if I would fit in their requirement as what I have in hand is 12+3 years and US universities recognizes 12+4 years of course. Please help me as I am really confused.

      Thanks
      Prerna

      1. Hello, I need some valuable advice. i am admitted into Johns Hopkins MS of Biotechnology and also California state university PSM. Due to some issue i can only complete the degree on line if i plan to attend johns hopkins. On the other hand, i live near the state U and therefore i can attend go to class physically. Besides, the state university is in an area where many biotech firms are located. I have a hard time choosing between these schools. Any suggestions?

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