Master’s of Professional Studies: Biotechnology

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UMBC’s Biotechnology curriculum is intended to address changes in the needs of the biotechnology industry through experiential learning. The program offers advanced instruction in the life sciences, plus coursework in regulatory affairs, leadership, management, and financial management.

The M.P.S. Biotechnology represents a new kind of degree designed to prepare science professionals to fill management and leadership roles in biotechnology-related companies or agencies organizations. This unique degree offers an alternative to a MBA or Ph.D. degree.

The core consists of five courses (15 credits) that precede a capstone course (3 credits) for a total of six courses (18 credits). The Biotechnology core provides students with key practical skills needed to succeed in biotechnology industries. The capstone project is initiated during the first semester and culminates in the capstone course.

Required Core Courses

BTEC 675: Business Principles of the Biotechnology Industry

This course is an overview of the life science industry, current and future trends. In depth discussions of the relationship between science and business and the process by which biotech products are designed, developed and brought to market. Course topics will include, biotechnology entrepreneurship, starting, leading and managing biotech companies, and comprehensive thesis on the workings of the biotechnology industry.

BTEC 655: Emerging Topics in Biotechnology

This seminar-style course is an in-depth exploration of emerging technologies, innovations, and new products that are noteworthy to the biotechnology industry. The course focuses on examining and critiquing what new scientific discoveries will likely impact the industry and in what ways. Literature research expands and deepens the student’s understanding of key fields within the life science area and allows the student to gain more in-depth knowledge on subjects that are relevant to their careers. Oral presentation and written papers help to refine the student’s communications skills.

BTEC 656: Experimental Design

This course introduces the basic concepts which underlie the design of experiments. The use of statistical methods to discriminate between real effects (those caused by changes in controlled variables) and experimental error in systems which are inherently noisy are taught. Statistically designed experimental programs which can help test many variables simultaneously are very efficient tools for developing empirical mathematical models which accurately describe physical and chemical processes. These techniques are readily applied to production plant, pilot plant and laboratory systems, and should be a part of every practicing life science professional’s repertoire. At the end of this course, the student will be able to select an appropriate experimental design for the problem at hand, to set up, conduct and analyze the results of statistically designed experiments, and to understand the statistical basis for these techniques.

BTEC 665: Management, Leadership and Communication

This course teaches the fundamentals of management and managerial leadership and communication. Managers juggle operations, finance, information technology, strategy, and projects, yet much of their success depends less on their own direct input than on their ability to enlist the active involvement of others: direct reports, other managers, other team members, and those above them on the organizational chart. It is imperative, therefore, that managers be adept at influencing those over whom they have no formal authority as well as guiding and directing those who report to them.

BTEC 670: Legal & Ethical Issues in the Science Professions

This course offers an overview of legal issues affecting biotechnology and other science-based industries and frames basic philosophical and ethical considerations regarding genetic data and manipulation. The course includes a discussion of intellectual property issues.

BTEC 654: Capstone

This seminar-style, capstone course is an in-depth exploration of emerging technologies, innovations, and
new products that are noteworthy to the biotechnology industry. Each student will select an emerging technology
within the biotechnology sector and prepare a research plan designed to bring that technology to commercial
fruition. The students will give oral presentations on the technology that builds the case for the envisioned
product. In addition, each student will prepare an SBIR grant application composed of the technical and
commercialization plans for their invention. Students will also be expected to read the scientific literature in
preparation for each of their classmates’ presentations with the goal of being sufficiently knowledgeable to
participate in a scientific discussion. The objective of the course is to give the student insight into the process of
translating scientific discovery into innovative products.

Prerequisite: BTEC 653

Regulatory Electives

These courses focus on the regulatory environment. The curriculum provides students with a foundation in regulatory affairs, GMP manufacturing, quality control and systems and clinical trials management.

BTEC/ENCH 660: Regulatory Issues in Biotechnology

This course provides a comprehensive coverage of all steps involved with the regulatory approval process for a biotechnology-derived product. Documentation preparation for IND, NDA, BLA. Pre-clinical safety data, clinical studies, facilities inspection and scientific and regulatory principles.

BTEC/ENCH 662: Good Manufacturing Practices for Bioprocesses

In-depth coverage of developing and implementing good manufacturing practices (GMPs) in the biotech industry. Topics include building and facilities, equipment design, utilities, in-process controls, records, and adequate process validation. 

BTEC/ENCH 664: Quality Control & Quality Assurance for Biotechnology Products

In-depth coverage of the key issues associated with adequate quality-control systems, assays and stability for novel biotechnology products: quality concepts, product release testing and specifications, in-process testing, product characterization, quality assurance documentation and audits and vendor certification.

BTEC/ENCH 666: Biotechnology GMP Facility Design, Construction and Validation

Presents an in-depth discussion of the engineering design of a biotech facility under GMP compliance. Topics covered include bulk plant design, process equipment design, utilities, instrumentation, controls and computerization, facility and software validation.

Bioprocessing Electives

These courses focus on the technology of making and purifying commercially valuable products from living systems. Students interested in bench-science careers in biotechnology related to the development and manufacture of biologic products will benefit from choosing these courses.

BTEC 653: Principles of Upstream Processing

A chemical engineering course covering basic process engineering, from the milliliter to the kiloliter scale. Topics relevant to the commercial bioprocesses used in the food, pharmaceutical and waste treatment industries will be introduced. Both upstream processes (e.g., fermentation, cell growth, energetics, mass transfer and enzyme kinetics) and downstream processes (chromatographic separations, ultrafiltration, and waste treatment) will be covered. 

Prerequisite: BTEC 652 or permission of instructor

BTEC 658: Principles of Downstream Processing

In depth study of quality control measures and the analytical tools used to monitor bioprocesses and establish and monitor product specifications. The course aims to provide the student with working knowledge of product finishing techniques, design of stability studies, identification of degradation pathways and the use of statistical analyses.

BTEC 659: Fundamentals of Bioprocess Development

BTEC 659 provides an in-depth study into the concepts of industrial biotechnology. Industrial biotechnology is defined as the exploitation of enzymes, microorganisms, and plants to produce energy, industrial chemicals and consumer goods. It is based on the use of renewable plant-derived carbohydrates, lipids and other compounds to replace petroleum and other fossil fuel feedstocks that are currently the raw material and energy basis of modern industrial societies. This course focuses on the interaction of chemical engineering, biochemistry, and microbiology for the production of commercial products. Key topics include design strategies, concepts of integrating quality systems and process economics used for the production of biomolecules in the biomedical and industrial biotechnology sectors.

BTEC/ENCH 664: Quality Control & Quality Assurance for Biotechnology Products

In-depth coverage of the key issues associated with adequate quality-control systems, assays and stability for novel biotechnology products: quality concepts, product release testing and specifications, in-process testing, product characterization, quality assurance documentation and audits and vendor certification.

FAES @ NIH

Students can transfer in coursework from Foundation for Advanced Education in Science (FAES) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to serve as a nine-credit Bioinformatics pathway within the MPS. Within Bioinformatics, FAES offers three-credit courses, as well as one-credit and two-credit courses. The one and two credit courses will need to be combined to be considered as equivalents to three-credit graduate level courses offered at UMBC. See more at professional.umbc.edu/faes.

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Learning Outcomes

By the end of this program, you will be able to:

  • Explain the relationship between science and business related to biotechnology;
  • Interpret and analyze new scientific discoveries and technologies relevant to biotechnology;
  • Assess and apply established and emerging biotechnology techniques used for commercial development;
  • Describe the process of biotechnology product development, including clinical trial design, inspections, and regulatory filings;
  • Plan for and manage innovative technologies and/or products
  • Apply the elements of effective management and leadership within an organization;
  • Effectively function in and lead multidisciplinary teams
  • Communicate ideas effectively and persuasively in writing and oral presentations;
  • Describe and apply sound legal and ethical standards, reasoning, and tools in a biotechnology context;
  • Design and plan experiments and evaluate research results.

Program Highlights

  • 30-credit masters program (10 courses)
  • 2 optional pathways: Regulatory & Bioprocessing
  • Advanced level science, business and regulatory courses (“science plus”)
  • Nationally accredited Professional Science Masters
  • No thesis required
  • Evening and hybrid classes

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