Masters of Science (MS) in Biotechnology in the United States of America (USA) will help you build a rewarding career with ample research and academic opportunities. It is a two-year course that you can pursue full-time, part-time, or even online at the US universities. MS in Biotechnology in the USA is a research-driven program costing roughly around $44,000 and $1,000,00 annually.
MS in Biotechnology is available to undergraduate degree holders in biotechnology, chemistry, biology, and medical technology, among other disciplines. Most colleges also require the students to submit a thesis based on research work done by them at the end of their programs. Masters programs in Biotechnology have varying names, including MS in Biotechnology, MA (Masters of Arts) in Biotechnology and PSM (Professional Science Masters) in Biotechnology.
Reasons for studying Masters in Biotechnology in the USA
Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology are two of the most flourishing industries in the USA. Therefore, demand for qualified professionals with research and professional expertise is steadily increasing. The USA is a highly advanced nation known for pioneering innovations in food production, medicine, agriculture, waste management, and more. Interestingly, these are all sectors where biotechnological research is the backbone of growth and development.
Here are some reasons for studying MS in Biotechnology in the USA:
As per a report by Statista, the funding received in the field of biotechnology by the National Institutes for Health was approximately USD 7.77 billion during fiscal year 2020 which is estimated to reach USD 7.9 billion in 2022.
Some of the acclaimed institutions or universities for pursuing STEM courses are based out of the US and International candidates can establish their career in research & development, with cutting-edge laboratories and infrastructure.
The demand for biotechnology professionals is bludgeoning. One can remain in the USA and work as a research associate or apply for PHD programs. The USA also gives an extension to students graduating out of STEM courses. Usually a work permit of 2 years is given to the Non- STEM graduates but for STEM graduates, it is 2 years with one year of extension. Around 3/5th of the biotechnology professionals in the US get more than USD 90,000 per year.
There is no paucity of jobs in the field of biotechnology as the sector is growing at a good pace with over 80,000 upcoming jobs. The R&D in the US is also backed by huge funds with over 7 billion utilized for Research & Development and health infrastructure.
The multicultural and diverse environment offers possibilities for global exposure along with world-class research and educational standards.
Many other institutions offer master’s courses to students in the USA. While choosing an institution to study MS Biotechnology in the country, students should account for the location, access to laboratories and research centers, and employment prospects at biotechnological firms and industries in the area.
International students planning to study MS in Biotechnology in the USA should take into consideration the tuition costs and other expenses.
Pre-Arrival costs include $213 as GRE fee and $194 as IELTS or TOEFL fee. The expected visa cost is $160, while application charges go up to $1,000. $160 is the surplus application charge. Flight tickets cost around $1,000. In addition to the visa fee component, international students must bear the SEVIS Fee, which costs around $350.
Tuition fees at several universities depend on the type of institution, total credit hours, location, and more. Average tuition costs are $30,000 – 40,000 annually. Accommodation is usually available on-campus for international students, although they may choose off-campus apartments (shared or private) as well. The cost of living in the USA is generally between $500 and $1,000 every month. Most dormitories on campus offer amenities like water, electricity, and food. They are comparatively cheaper options for students.
An average cumulative cost of MS in Biotechnology will fall around roughly $55,000 for international applicants.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized examination analyzing international applicants’ quantitative, verbal, and analytical capabilities. Many universities have the GRE scores compulsory for applicants, while some do not. Some of the institutions where you can apply without the GRE include the following:
The University of Illinois in Chicago
Other educational institutions, at times, waive the GRE score requirements if candidates have an excellent academic track record and strong co-curricular profile with relevant research activities. Students with sizable professional experience in related industries may also apply without the GRE.
After MS in Biotechnology in the USA, average salaries usually stand at $73,000 for skilled graduates. Graduates can take up positions like biotechnology research associates, research scientists, senior research associates, molecular biology research associates, and associate research scientists.
Salaries may start from $50,000 and go up to $73,000 and more. There are numerous research and development (R&D) opportunities for biotechnology students in the USA, while they can also choose to pursue doctoral programs.
F-1 Visas are usually required for full-time candidates. They may work for up to 20 hours each week, while being eligible for optional practical training (OPT) for 12 months. This gives them a chance to work for twelve months after graduating. Here are some of the other requirements for the visa:
Valid passport extending to at least six months after the end of your course
Payment receipt application
Form I-20 while applying for a student visa, with non-immigrant student status
Original provisional certificate or mark sheet
Score sheets for TOEFL, IELTS, GRE and other standardized examinations
Proof of funds in the applicant’s bank account. Bank statements must be submitted, and details of scholarship program or sponsors, if applicable.
Proof showing the intent of the candidate for not staying back in the country for a long term and return on completion of the. One way could be to furnish a return ticket for India as evidence
Candidates will have to go through an interview at their nearest USA Consulate or Embassy. Once the screening procedure is done, they will be notified about the next steps. Here are some pointers on the application procedure:
Fill up the application form, attach your photograph and bring a print-out to the interview venue.
Schedule your interview at the Consulate or Embassy while paying $160 (INR 11,895).
Furnish all compulsory documents for the interview.
Appear for the interview and wait for the decision of the authorities.
Upon approval of your visa, you will be paying the issuance fee and planning your travel itinerary likewise.
Students will have to provide proof of funds equivalent to the total course fees and living costs for a year. Proof of scholarships (if any) must be provided along with completing the SEVIS-1901 form and registering at the global database of visitors. The SEVIS charge is $220 (J visa) or $350 (F visa), which works out to INR 16,355 or INR 26,020. Visa appointments may be scheduled online, while students can complete their DS-160 forms digitally.
Scholarships for MS in Biotechnology In USA: International Students
Here is a list of some scholarships that MS Biotechnology aspirants may check out:
California State University, Channel Islands- MS in Biotechnology Scholarship Program, sponsored by the institution. It is open to students from any global region.
Washington State University- The Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, offers the H.E. Goldsworthy Scholarship where graduate students breeding wheat or taking up vital projects for the Pacific Northwest are considered eligible. The Tracy Vincent-Sharp Memorial Scholarship is for food production students only.
Oregon State University- Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences offers the Don Burlingham Scholarship for backing senior and junior students in soil and crop sciences, along with bio-resource research.
Montgomery College- The Biotechnology Program at Montgomery College emphasizes training workers as part of the Paul Peck Biomanufacturing Scholarship. This supports those eligible to study in the USA and pursue a certificate in Biomanufacturing. It offers up to $500 or INR 37,172 for each semester. Students should furnish their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and the Montgomery College Foundation application form.
Community College of Allegheny County- This program trains aspirants in its program named the Biotechnology Workforce Collaborative Scholarship. It uses grants from the Government to offer scholarships that cover all educational costs like fees, books, tuition costs, and laboratory equipment.
Biotechnology contributes to higher employment in the USA owing to numerous job prospects and immense R&D opportunities. Those from Biology or related fields can pursue Biotechnology, especially if they do not wish to foray into avenues like MBBS. With the pandemic, demand has only increased for Biotech engineers. They are needed in major sectors like medicine and healthcare, waste treatment, agriculture, and food production.
Is GRE Required for MS in Biotechnology in the USA?
GRE is mandatory for pursuing MS in Biotechnology at many universities in the USA while some universities do not ask for GRE as their admission requirement. A majority of institutions do insist on GRE scores for applicants, although there are some which do not. However, due to the pandemic, the requirement for GRE scores has been rolled back by many US universities that waived off for specific periods during the pandemic making it an essential requirement for admission to MS courses.
Is the USA Good for Biotechnology?
The USA is one of the best global destinations for studying biotechnology. It is an automatic selection for those interested in research and innovation. It is one of the dominant international forces in biotechnology, biomedicine, and other related fields. There are 3,000+ institutions in the USA, offering high-quality education and top-notch research facilities. Students can also expect proximity to major biotechnology hubs and laboratories while studying in the USA. The country is also home to some of the top global firms, who hire skilled graduates in large numbers. The multicultural environment is another positive aspect for international students.
How Can I do a Masters in Biotechnology in the USA?
Students with undergraduate degrees in biology, medical technology or chemistry are eligible to apply for masters programs in biotechnology in the USA. They will require the minimum percentage of marks in their UG courses, as specified by universities. They also need GRE scores (in some cases) and English language proficiency test scores (TOEFL or IELTS). You have to apply online at leading universities’ websites while submitting all necessary documents, including the LOR and SOP. Thereafter, once you get the acceptance letter from your institution, you can start the visa formalities.
Neha Uppal is a passionate content creator and editor. She carries 7.5+ years of experience working with leading edutech companies where she worked as a Faculty, Community Manager, and Content Marketeer. At upGrad, she is helping out people keep informed about the scopes and opportunities of studying abroad via informational articles/blogs.