The Benefit of Hands-On Experience in Biotechnology Graduate Programs
Biotechnology is not only an exciting career that covers a broad range of career fields engaged in advancing medical technology—it’s also a quickly growing job choice. In fact, according to Grand View Research, the biotechnology market is expected to reach $727.1 billion by 2025.

The skills and experience that students can gain from biotechnology graduate programs are crucial to excelling in this rapidly evolving field. But not all biotechnology graduate programs are created the same—while it’s essential to master the curriculum, some lessons are better grasped through hands-on experience and training.

This is what sets Azusa Pacific University’s MS in Biotechnology apart. The program focuses on internships and master’s projects with pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and medical device companies.

The Importance of an Involved Biotech Graduate Program

Academic laboratories are crucial and, at APU, courses are taught by industry professionals. But with the biotech industry changing continually, it can be a challenge for students to experience current technical advances unless they’re directly in the field. APU’s program incorporates onsite internship experiences to ensure every program graduate is well-versed in the industry landscape.

Almost half of the top biotech companies are headquartered in California, in cities likes San Francisco and Los Angeles. APU is just 26 miles from L.A., which gives biotech students many opportunities to work alongside top professionals in the field. Students collaborate with companies like Gilead Sciences, Amgen, and Medtronic, where they’re able to observe state-of-the-art technical practices currently used in the industry. David Dyer, PhD, executive director of APU’s MS in Biotechnology program, explained that this experience also allows students to understand aspects of a company’s work environment, including communication, team function, leadership, and management style.

Preparing for a Career in Biotech

The goal is for grad students to obtain the skills needed to go from classroom to career field seamlessly.

“A second reason the MS in Biotechnology program emphasizes in-person work with companies is that the company can get a ‘long look’ at the student as a potential future hire,” said Dyer. “Companies can also place students on projects where they may require additional assistance.”

Justin Hoang, a current biotech student, said that his internship with Grifols was a valuable learning experience. “I learned how to operate new systems and software that pertained to the career I wish to pursue after graduation,” he noted.

Graduates of APU’s biotech program receive a head start on their résumés as well, as they’re able to list their experience with widely recognizable companies. The program prepares individuals for a variety of biotech careers, including those in epidemiology, genetic counseling, and microbiology.

Is a Master’s in Biotech Right for Your Career Goals?

APU alum Najeh Salamah enrolled in the MS in Biotechnology program after being away from school for a while. Salamah said, “The well-rounded program sets you up for success, and you don’t have to be a traditional biology/chemistry major.”

Students of the program are required to complete 900 hours of onsite training, so every graduate will be adequately exposed to corporate practice and culture—but you won’t be alone throughout the program. Salamah said that the program’s faculty, counselors, and director are like family and work to guide their classes to have fruitful and compelling interaction. The faculty want their students to succeed and work to make everyone feel welcome.

Are you interested in becoming part of the biotech family at Azusa Pacific University and working toward your MS in Biotechnology? Learn more about the program’s associated coursework and academic requirements.