Shape the future of healthcare and technology with a Master of Science in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Engineering (MS-BTPE) from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). In 1.5 years, our full-time degree program trains you to excel at the intersection of biology and engineering to spearhead innovation in one of today's most impactful and rapidly advancing fields.

Admissions

Apply to the MS-BTPE

How to apply: all applicants go through the biological sciences department

Biotechnology and pharmaceutical engineering researchers drive breakthroughs that transform lives worldwide, from developing life-saving vaccines to gene- and cell-based therapies. With CMU's MS-BTPE program, you can effect real change in public health.

CMU's College of Engineering ranked seventh in the U.S. News & World Report's prestigious list of best graduate engineering programs. The chemical engineering department offers the MS-BTPE jointly with CMU's biological sciences department so that you can study directly with renowned faculty in both fields. Leverage our culture of cross-disciplinary collaboration to drive the biotech revolutions of tomorrow with the biotechnology and pharmaceutical engineering master's degree program.

Why earn a master's degree in biotechnology and pharmaceutical engineering at Carnegie Mellon?

Interdisciplinary learning that brings results

Bringing together experts across disciplines, CMU's pioneering MS-BTPE program embodies our ethos of boundary-pushing collaboration. Learn from chemical engineering faculty and biological sciences faculty, who bring together foundational, fundamental, and entrepreneurial expertise to uncover new findings.

Many of our professors jointly share research projects, fostering the development of more expansive knowledge that bridges chemical engineering, molecular biology, and medicine.

Hands-on research opportunities

Here at Carnegie Mellon University, we understand the immense value of real-world experience, which is why we offer research opportunities that let you apply what you have learned. Work directly with our faculty in cutting-edge campus labs spanning drug delivery systems and cellular production system improvement.

Our professors train and mentor you as you assist in projects or conduct original research that could lead to published papers. You can also choose to write and defend a research thesis.

We encourage you to seek internships after your first year, whether at CMU or pharmaceutical companies.

Tailored, interdisciplinary curriculum

We have designed the MS-BTPE curriculum to give you well-rounded chemical engineering and biology expertise. In the first semester, students from each discipline take courses to build knowledge in the other area, so engineers take intensive coursework in modern biology, while biologists take foundational engineering principles.

In subsequent semesters, students learn side-by-side with peers from different backgrounds. This approach mirrors the industry spaces where engineers and scientists work hand-in-hand to advance research and bring new technologies to market.

Industry-aligned courses

CMU has developed the biotechnology and pharmaceutical engineering master's program in close consultation with industry leaders. In addition, many CMU faculty engage in research on biomanufacturing and therapeutics, putting them at the forefront of the field.

Informed by these industry collaborations, our program responds to needs expressed by major pharmaceutical and start-up companies for employees who can immediately contribute to the industry. Through advanced coursework and hands-on experience, gain expertise in the following key fields:

  • Bioinformatic integration
  • Commercial research
  • Drug development
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Regulatory compliance

Curriculum for the Master of Science in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Engineering

The MS-BTPE program requires 108-117 units to graduate, and full-time students typically earn their degree in 1.5 years. Program requirements include:

  • Background courses (0-18 units)
  • Core courses (39 units)
  • Biology elective courses (24 units)
  • Chemical Engineering elective courses (24 units)
  • Additional elective courses (12-21 units)

Learn more about the MS-BTPE curriculum.

Meet the faculty

Students in the MS in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Engineering program have the opportunity to learn from and conduct research with CMU's world-class professors.

James Schneider

James Schneider

Professor
Chemical Engineering

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Jonathan Minden

Jonathan Minden

Professor
Biological Sciences

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DJ Brasier

DJ Brasier

Associate Teaching Professor
Biological Sciences

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Natalie McGuier

Natalie McGuier

Assistant Teaching Professor
Biological Sciences

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Michael Domach

Michael Domach

Emeritus Professor
Chemical Engineering

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Anne Skaja Robinson

Anne Skaja Robinson

Trustee Professor
Chemical Engineering

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Kathryn Whitehead

Kathryn Whitehead

Professor
Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering

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Careers and outcomes for MS-BTPE students

Our curriculum and lab work prepare you to work in professional and academic settings, from pharmaceutical companies to hospital labs. Recent CMU students have gone to work for:

  • Genentech
  • Ginkgo Bioworks
  • Oxford Biomedica
  • Scribe Therapeutics

Recent job titles for MS-BTPE graduates include:

  • Automation engineer
  • Process development program associate
  • Research associate

See more post-graduation salaries and destination information for recent CMU master's graduates.

Admissions and application deadlines

Learn more about the admissions process

How to apply through the biological sciences department

Application FAQs

To apply to CMU's Master of Science in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Engineering program, you should have a background in biology, chemistry, biomedical engineering, or chemical engineering from an accredited four-year college or university or have earned equivalent credentials.

The MS-BTPE program admits students for the fall semester.

  • Priority admissions deadline: December 15
  • International application deadline: March 18
  • Domestic application deadline: April 29

View more MS-BTPE admissions information

Meet MS-BTPE students

Take the next step to a career in biotechnology

Accelerate breakthroughs in healthcare and related industries with a Master of Science in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Gain the interdisciplinary skills to pioneer new therapies and develop new biotech innovations.

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