Program Category: MA Programs
Chair: Brent Stockwell
Director of Graduate Studies: Lili Yamasaki
Email Address: [email protected]
Degree Programs: Full-Time/Part-Time: Free-Standing MA

Columbia University’s Master of Arts in Biotechnology trains students in modern aspects of molecular biology with a particular emphasis on approaches used in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. The curriculum focuses on the basic principles of biotechnology and specific applications in various fields. The use of biotechnology to fight disease is emphasized. 

Thirty (30) points of course work plus a master’s thesis are required for the MA in Biotechnology. The coursework includes three core courses, a practical training experience, and elective courses selected from the Department of Biological Sciences and a variety of other departments according to the student’s specific interests. The thesis includes a review of a topic in biotechnology. The program can be completed by full-time students in one year including the summer term or at a reduced pace by part-time students.

Who Should Apply?

Research career in biotechnology:
Anyone interested in becoming a research scientist in biotechnology will benefit from this program. The program covers basic and advanced aspects of biotechnology and allows students to start careers in research and development in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Moderate biology background: 
Students with a moderate biology background have the opportunity to extend their course work in biotechnology and biological sciences and continue in these fields.

Regulatory affairs:
Those interested in regulatory affairs and management in the biotechnology industry are able to enhance their previous or future training in these fields with a firm scientific background.

Management, investment, and patent law:
Professionals in management, investment, and patent law in the biotechnology industry are able to extend their knowledge of the science behind this industry, enabling them to make better decisions regarding this rapidly developing field.

Students wishing to apply for an MD or PhD:
Students interested in MD or PhD programs are able to explore the field of biotechnology with a relatively short time commitment and increase their prospects for admission to top programs. 

Special Admissions Requirements

Applicants should have a BA or BS in biology or a related field. Applicants with a significant background in biology and chemistry but who have majored in other fields will be considered. Students will be selected for admission based on their academic background as demonstrated by grades, recommendations letters, and adequate relevant scientific expertise.

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, a personal statement, and three letters of evaluation from academic sources.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to our Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

*GSAS will accept up to four recommendations, regardless of the number required by your program of interest. However, to be eligible for admission at GSAS, at least TWO letters must be submitted by academic recommenders.