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Best Universities for Master’s in Biotechnology : Fees & Prospects

Updated on 09 April, 2024

Bulbul Sharma

Bulbul Sharma

Manager- Content @upGrad

The search for a suitable university can be a daunting task, especially for an intensive course such as Biotechnology. So, if you are curious to know about the best universities for master’s in biotechnology, they are listed below:

  • Harvard University
  • University of Cambridge
  • ETH Zurich- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
  • Imperial College London
  • University College London

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Course Brief

 Biotechnology uses fundamental biological and medical knowledge to develop new processes and products. These developments may occur in various domains, namely Health, Agribusiness, Food, and other areas of human technology.

A Master’s in Biotechnology allows a student to explore the aspects of the Biotech product pipeline. As a result, a candidate will be able to put their knowledge into practice with various organizations.

Additionally, in the US, technological advances are being made at an enormous rate. As such, the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical industries are among the largest in the US, and there is a great demand for professionals in the field. 

Specializations for Master’s in Biotechnology

A Biotechnology degree offers you the chance to specialize in any of the following: 

  • Animal Tissue Culture
  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Biochemical engineering
  • Bioinformatics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Bioprocess Engineering

Job Prospects of Master’s in Biotechnology

Biotechnology is often hailed as a complex and multidisciplinary field. As a result, a candidate can branch out to several jobs. Here are some of the employment opportunities with average salaries: 

  • Biomedical Engineer– USD 91,410 (INR 69,30,000)
  • Biochemist– USD 94,490 (INR 7,20,000)
  • Medical Scientist– USD 88,790 (INR 67,30,000)
  • Biomanufacturing Specialist – USD 83,017 (INR 62,90,000)
  • Microbiologist– USD 75,650 (INR 57,30,000)
  • Process Development Scientists – USD 94,739 (INR 71,80,000)

Best Universities for Master’s in Biotechnology 

1. Harvard University

Location: Cambridge, MA, United States

Status: Private Ivy League Research University

It is one of the best universities for a master’s in biotechnology in the USA and offers an MS/MBA Life Sciences program that builds upon existing biotechnology knowledge and equips the students with the latest business and scientific insights.

The curriculum focuses on developing effective business models in Life Sciences. The course leverages the entire resources of Harvard University and works closely with the Greater Boston area.

Additionally, Harvard University ranks #5 in the QS world university rankings, #1 in Biological Sciences, and #3 in the US.

As such, it is no surprise that Harvard Graduate School of Education witnessed the enrolment of 648 students for various master’s courses, including foreign recruits from a total of 64 countries. 

As a prospective student, you should also be aware of the cost structure of pursuing an MS in Biotechnology at Harvard. As such, we list the same below: 

  • Tuition– USD 84,455 (INR 64,00,000)
  • HUHS Student Health Fee– USD 1,242 (INR 94,000)
  • Student Health Insurance Plan– USD 4,040 (INR 3,00,000)
  • Course and Program materials fee– USD 1,785 (INR 1,35,000)
  • Room and Utilities – USD 14,340 (INR 11,00,000)
  • Living Expenses– USD 15,930 (INR 12,00,000)

Not to forget, Harvard University also has several research connections to facilitate faster development. These include:

  • Resilience
  • Kyowa Kirin
  • Northpond Labs
  • AbbVie
  • Astellas

2. University of Cambridge

Location: The Old Schools, Trinity Ln, Cambridge CB2 1TN, United Kingdom

Status: Research University

The University of Cambridge offers MPhil in Biotechnology, a program that consists of an in-depth curriculum at the interface of Biology with Physical Sciences and Technology. 

The course aids the students in gaining core and advanced knowledge in Biotechnology and enhances their research skills. It also helps students gain business awareness relevant to research in the field.

Additionally, the University of Cambridge is ranked #3 globally according to QS World University Rankings 2022 and is one of the most sought-after colleges for Biological sciences, maintaining a rank of #3 for the same.

As a result, the class of 2020-21 for MPhil in Biotechnology had 14 students from nine countries which speaks of its popularity globally despite the university not having any specific funding opportunity for the program. 

The fee structure is quite reasonable with the following divisions:

  • University Composition Fee- GBP 33,321 (INR 33,55,240)
  • Maintenance– GBP 13,980 (INR 14,07,710)
  • Settling In– GBP 350 (INR 35,240)
  • Total Maintenance– GBP 14,330 (INR 14,42,950)
  • Accommodation– GBP 120-GBP 190 per week (INR 12,100– INR 19,130)
  • College meals– GBP 4– GBP 7 per meal (INR 400– INR 700)

The University is also known to have forged mutually beneficial partnerships to facilitate research. Some of the university’s global partners include the following companies:

  • BP
  • Infosys
  • Tata Group
  • Ignitho
  • Cambridge Judge Business School Executive Education

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3. ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Location: Rämistrasse 101, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland

Status: Public Research University

ETH Zurich offers a master’s in Biotechnology, which explores the scientific aspects of the field, with a particular focus on Systems and Synthetic Biology. 

Interestingly, apart from the curriculum, the University also offers insight into current research topics through project work- an eight-month thesis- on a topic. As such, the course prepares students for advanced development activities in various fields like Biomedical Research and Development, Pharmaceuticals, and the Food and Chemical industry.

ETH Zurich is also one of the most prestigious universities globally, standing at an enviable position of #8 in the QS World University Rankings. Moreover, it is especially renowned for its Biological Science department, occupying a position of #7 for the same. 

These opportunities hence resulted in the class of 2020 witnessing an influx of diversity as 81 students from 26 nationalities enrolled in the master’s program at ETH Zurich. Out of these figures, 22% of candidates were women, with 24 being the average age.

Additionally, as a student of ETH Zurich, you may have to take care of the following finances:

  • Tuition fee – CHF 730 per semester (INR 59,980)
  • Semester fee – CHF 69 (INR 5,670)
  • Rent (room incl. heating etc.) – CHF 834 per month (INR 68,520)
  • Meals (incl. Meals at the refectory/cafeteria) – CHF 500 per month (INR 42,720)
  • Public transport (tramways, bus)- CHF 48 per month (INR 3940)
  • Health insurance – CHF 110 per month (INR 9000)
  • Leisure activities, holidays, clothes– 160 per month (INR 13,150)

Lastly, ETH Zurich constantly promotes technology and knowledge transfer. In addition, it also supports joint research projects and regularly undertakes the same in collaboration with various organizations. Some of these institutes include:

  • Appenzeller Bahnen
  • MeteoSchweiz

4. Imperial College, London

Location: Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2BX, United Kingdom

Status: Public Research University

The Imperial College of London offers MSc in Applied Biosciences and Biotechnology. The full-time program lasts for one academic year to facilitate an in-depth understanding of the core principles and methodologies related to modern Bioscience research. In addition, the curriculum places equal emphasis on research-based projects encompassing Biochemistry, Molecular Cell Biology, Bioinformatics, and Entrepreneurship. 

As a prospective applicant, you should note that the teaching sessions for this course begin in October and last for the duration of the Autumn and Spring terms. Moreover, the Spring term also marks the start of the research-based elements.

Additionally, Imperial College of London invites several applications worldwide, owing to its rank of #7 on the QS world university rankings. Not to forget, it also ranks high in terms of Biological Sciences, occupying a rank of #13 worldwide. 

Furthermore, the University also had an acceptance rate of 42.9% in 2020 for international students, while the rate of acceptance for a Master’s program was around 28%.

It also has a good fee structure for its Master’s programs. The divisions for the same are as follows:

  • Tuition– GBP 32,400 (INR 32,62,502)
  • Accommodation– GBP 874 per month
  • Food– GBP 259 per month
  • Travel– GBP 114 per month
  • Personal and leisure– GBP 183 per month

Lastly, the MSc programs of the Imperial College of London also have strong connections with the industry to ensure that their curriculum stays up to date. Some of the companies that are affiliated with the university are as follows:

  • BP
  • Baker Hughes
  • C&C Reservoirs
  • ERC Equipoise
  • ExxonMobil
  • Halliburton (Landmark)
  • IKON Science
  • Midland Valley
  • Paradigm
  • Petroleum Experts
  • Schlumberger
  • Senergy


5. University College London

Location: Rämistrasse 101, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland

Status: Public Research University

UCL offers an MSc in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Management. The course combines Business with Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals, which makes it the first business school dedicated to health. 

Given the ever-increasing need for the development of new drugs, applying a business model to the field of health is brilliant.

Additionally, the UCL Global Business School of Health and other centers like the UCL Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology have partnered with big industry names to enable students to gain crucial insights into the Pharmacoeconomics discipline. 

As such, UCL is considered one of the leading schools globally for Education and is ranked #8 on the QS World University Rankings. Moreover, it is considered one of the best places to study Biological Sciences, with a ranking of #15.

However, the University has a low acceptance rate of 7%, although students from around 150 countries get accepted every year. It means the number of applicants applying to the University is incredibly high, and admission is cut-throat. 

Nevertheless, the total student population in the institute is around 43,800.

As a prospective student, you should also note that studying for the master’s in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Management would involve the following costs:

  • Tuition: GBP 16,500 (Full-time) (INR 16,61,460)
  • Average rent: GBP 213 per week (INR 21,450)
  • Student bus pass: GBP 15 per week (INR 1510)
  • Food: GBP 30 per week (INR 3020)
  • Course materials: GBP 4 per week (INR 400)
  • Mobile phone bill: GBP 4 per week (INR 400)
  • Going out: GBP 12 per week (INR 1210)
  • Clothes, health, other expenses: GBP 14 per week (INR 1410)

Lastly, the UCL network also enables a two-way exchange. Students gain customized experience throughout their course, whereas employers get a chance to fast-track innovation with the help of some of the brightest minds. Some of the organizations associated with UCL include:

  • IBM
  • Santander

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Bulbul Sharma

Manager- Content @upGrad

Bulbul is a self-driven professional and an expert writer & editor. She has been a part of the ed-tech industry for the past 2 years now and is motivated to provide study abroad aspirants with factually correct and relevant information. Her knack for impactful writing makes her blogs worth a read!

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