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Business Leadership in Biotechnology

Poised at the intersection of science, policy, and industry, American University’s Master of Science in Biotechnology will prepare you to become a business leader in biotechnology. A partnership between the AU science department and the Kogod School of Business, this interdisciplinary professional science master’s program will transform your understanding of science into a new kind of entrepreneurial thinking. Students choose between our BiodefenseBioinformaticsBiotechnology Management, and Drug Discovery and Design tracks to tailer to their degree to their interests.

You will acquire cutting-edge biotechnology skills while developing your entrepreneurship and business management portfolio. Your program of study will include innovation courses to prepare you to translate scientific research into a commercial enterprise and advanced science courses that will teach you the practical and theoretical foundations for innovation.

This unique integration of innovation and business training with advanced science will prepare you for a wide variety of career paths. Upon graduation, our students pursue doctoral degrees at prominent institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, Temple University, and the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy; obtain high-profile positions at private biotechnology firms; become biotechnology entrepreneurs; or apply their skills at federal government agencies.  

The Master’s for Business-Savvy Scientists

The MS in Biotechnology integrates the latest research in the biomedical sciences with entrepreneurial immersion. You will conduct impactful scholarly research while developing technology ventures under the mentorship of innovative faculty and local business leaders. With coursework in biology, regulatory science, financial analysis, management, and statistics, you will develop fluency in science and business. Students become life science technology leaders through partnerships with the American University Center for Innovation, AU’s Entrepreneurship Incubator, and external entities, including FedTech, DC I-Corps and regional biotechnology firms.

Full-time students can complete the 30-credit hour program in just 16 months.  With evening, online, and summer courses, this program is also an excellent fit for part-time students and working professionals.

See all admissions and course requirements.

Make a Difference in Your Career and the World

Consistently ranked as one of the best cities for job seekers, Washington, DC, offers access to an extraordinary array of professional opportunities. The numerous cutting-edge government and private industry laboratories in this biotechnology hub offer unlimited opportunities.

You can build ventures with government-sponsored tech-transfer programs, including DC I-Corps and FedTech. With an internship, you can gain hands-on experience and get your foot in the door with local biotechnology employers. Our students have held internships and obtained employment with large firms like AstraZeneca, start-up companies such as Sanaria Inc., and government agencies including the Smithsonian Institution, the National Institutes of Health, and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Knowledgeable Mentors Dedicated to Your Success

Our students benefit from close, one-on-one mentorships with our innovative faculty. You will learn the science of biotechnology from industry veterans with expertise in genomics, computational biology, and science communication. You will also have the opportunity to conduct scholarly research in genomics, bioinformatics, microbiology, and neuroscience. At the same time, you will learn business skills from the exemplary faculty at the highly ranked Kogod School of Business and receive business and entrepreneurial mentorship from executives-in-residence at the American University Center for Innovation.

Tailor your degree to your career goals

Choose one of our four highly sought-after skillsets to focus your studies. Students are required to complete nine credit hours in one of these areas:


  • BIO 501 Mechanisms of Pathogenesis 
  • BIO 541 Cellular Immunology 
  • BIO 685 Bioinformatics 
  • CHEM 636 Clinical Laboratory: Analysis, Quality Assurance and Control
  • CHEM 668 Medical Biochemistry 
  • CHEM 679 Chemical Warfare Agents 
  • ENVS 685 Remote Sensing of the Environment 
  • ISCI 625 BioPhysics 
  • JLC 678 Investigating Terrorism 


  • BIO 678 Computational Genomics
  • BIO 685 Bioinformatics 
  • STAT 612 Statistical Programming in R
  • STAT 613 Data Science 
  • STAT 622 Advanced Biostatistics 


  • CHEM 636 Clinical Laboratory: Analysis, Quality Assurance and Control

  • FIN 630 Financial Analysis of the Firm: Concepts and Applications
  • SCI 622 Healthcare Information Technology
  • ITEC 660 Business Intelligence 
  • MGMT 611 Leading and Managing Change
  • MGMT 660 Entrepreneurship and Innovation  


  • BIO 541 Cellular Immunology 

  • BIO 650 Developmental Biology 

  • BIO 655 Endocrinology 
  • BIO 685 Bioinformatics 
  • CHEM 624 Application of Spectroscopy in Medicinal Chemistry 
  • CHEM 636 Clinical Laboratory: Analysis, Quality Assurance and Control
  • CHEM 668 Medical Biochemistry 
  • ISCI 622 Healthcare Information Technology 

Our Alumni: Michelle Biederman '17

Michelle Biederman with sign that says "I heart science"

“As a US Navy veteran, the MS in Biotechnology at AU was the perfect combination of biology and business courses. The program has allowed me to transition back into science while being able to use the management and leadership experience I acquired in my military career.”

A former navy officer, Michelle Biederman enrolled in the Biotechnology program at American University, where she was a research assistant and a teaching assistant. She is currently a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University, studying in the Cell, Molecular, Developmental Biology, and Biophysics doctoral program at Johns Hopkins University.

“When I started my master’s in biotechnology at AU, I knew I wanted to change my career field, but I wasn't sure where I would fit in the science community after serving nearly nine years in the US Navy. The director of the program, Dr. Kathryn Walters-Conte, sold me on the versatility of the program, and I am so glad she did! The program provided many research options, as well as experience in science communication and business applications. The biology and chemistry faculty at AU helped me to focus my interests and guided me to make the career decisions that fit. As I pursue my PhD in Biology, the diverse perspectives on the science community presented in the AU biotechnology program make me confident that I will be able to explore the opportunities that are right for me.”

Career Questions?

Read an interview with Biotechnology Program Director Kathryn Walters-Conte at the Mid-Atlantic Biology Research and Career (MABRC) Network's Career Counselor Conference.

Q & A: Kathryn Walters-Conte


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