Graduate Division

Biotechnology MS

Section 1


Biotechnology utilizes basic knowledge from the biological sciences, chemistry, and chemical engineering to solve practical problems in the fields of medicine, agriculture and chemical manufacturing.

Over the last 20 years, biotechnology has revolutionized the pharmaceutical industry through the creation of recombinant protein products including bovine and human growth hormones, insulin, interferons, and erthythropoietins. In agriculture, biotechnology has produced herbicides and insect-resistant plants and will have a major impact on society by producing high-yielding nutritious crops that can grow in high salinity, drought, and in extreme cold. In the field of medicine, genetically engineered animals, as well as human gene therapies, have immense potential.

Recently, the discovery of stem cells has been suggested by many to represent one of the most important medical discoveries of past 100 years. Over the last several years there has been a remarkable surge in literature documenting the feasibility of using stem cells to treat a broad spectrum of human diseases including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, ALS, type-1 diabetes, arthritis, burns, and spinal cord injury. In addition, stem cells are being used in basic research laboratories to help elucidate fundamental concepts in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology.

Quick Facts

Program Type

Academic Master's Program

Normative Time to Degree

2 years

Capstone Type

Research Project Report and Presentation

Accordion Section

Admissions Requirements

This program requires an extensive background in calculus, physics, organic chemistry, genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, immunology and virology. Laboratory courses in at least three of the last five subjects must be completed. However, research experience in those fields may, in certain cases, be substituted for formal laboratory courses.

If your background meets this criteria, we encourage you to apply. If not, another program may be better suited to your background.

Admission is contingent upon the successful completion of a bachelor of science degree, or equivalent. Applications are evaluated on the basis of grades (minimum 3.0 GPA), three recommendation letters, General GRE scores, and other relevant qualifications. Foreign students will be required to submit a TOEFL score and occasionally a TSE score. Applicants from India must submit one of the following in order to be eligible for Graduate studies consideration: a continuous 4 year degree from an accredited University, College or Institution or a completed 3 year Bachelor’s accompanied with a completed 2 year Masters. The combination of 3+2 would be the equivalent of the U.S. Bachelor’s. We do not accept a straight 3 year Bachelor’s nor do we accept a 1 year completion of the 2 year Masters in the 3 + 2 combination. Deadline to apply for the Fall quarter is March 1st. Applicant may contact Jackie Ramirez, Program Administrator, at for additional information.

Enrollment in the stem cell emphasis is limited to 8 continuing students per year. Biotechnology graduate students interested in this track apply for admission during the winter quarter of their first year in the program. The stem cell curriculum differs slightly from that of the traditional biotechnology program, although the total number of courses and laboratories is the same.

Financial Support

  • No support other than financial aid and awarded fellowships is provided for this program.
  • If qualified, students may apply for positions as Teaching Assistants.
  • The University limits employment of enrolled graduate students to 50% time.
  • Students will work in research labs during their second year to earn research units (Mol Bio 200 courses); students may not be compensated for this time.

Tuition & Fees

Graduate/Credential Student Fees 2019-20

  Fall 2019 Winter 2020 Spring 2020 Annual
Student Services Fee 376.00 376.00 376.00 1,128.00
Tuition 3,814.00 3,814.00 3,814.00 11,442.00
Assoc. Grad Students Fee 9.00 9.00 9.00 27.00
Student Center Fee 139.69 139.69 139.68 419.06
Bren Events Center Fee 23.00 23.00 23.00 69.00
Recreation Center Fee 88.00 88.00 88.00 264.00
Document Fee * 80.00 0.00 0.00 80.00
Student Health Insurance 1,459.18 1,459.18 1,459.18 4,377.54
Total California Resident $ 5,908.87 $ 5,908.87 $ 5,908.86 $ 17,726.60
Nonresident Supplemental Tuition 5,034.00 5,034.00 5,034.00 15,102.00
Total Nonresident $ 10,942.87 $ 10,942.87 $ 10,942.86 $ 32,828.60


Posted 12 July 2019 at

The tuition, fees, and charges posted to your billing statement or account are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by increases or reductions in State funding, or other developments. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus your final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.

* The Document Fee provides lifetime access to official transcripts and academic verifications without a fee for in-person pickup or delivery by USPS. In addition, there is no fee for mailing the initial diploma. Effective Fall 2018, new undergraduate, professional, and graduate students are assessed the one-time document fee. Eligible students are able to use financial aid to cover the Document Fee.

Core Faculty

Christopher C.W. Hughes
Regulation of angiogenesis, tissue engineering and microphysiological systems
Dana W. Aswad
Regulation of protein function by covalent modification
Alexander D. Boiko
Molecular and Cell Biology of Tumor Initiation, Stem cell biology, application of neural crest and melanoma models
Michael J. Buchmeier
Arenaviruses, Coronaviruses, Biology of RNA Viruses, Viral Pathogenesis, Structural Biology of Viruses, Biology of Zoonotic and Emerging Viruses, Biodefense
Melanie Cocco
NMR spectroscopy, DNA-binding proteins, membrane proteins, cancer
Michael G. Cumsky
Mitochondrial protein import; regulation of gene expression in yeast
David A. Fruman
Targeting signal transduction pathways in leukemia, lymphoma and autoimmune disease
Paul D. Gershon
Protein mass spectrometry/systems biology; virus-host systems; virus structure; protein experimental molecular dynamics
Charles G. Glabe
Amyloid A b peptide in Alzheimer’s pathogenesis; gamete recognition
Celia Goulding
Structural and biochemical studies of molecular assemblies in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Michael T. Green
Chemical Biology, Inorganic and Organometallic, Physical Chemistry and Chemical Physics, Theoretical and Computational
Yilin Hu
Bioinorganic Chemistry, Assembly & Function of Metalloproteins
Matthew Inlay
Molecular mechanisms regulating developmental fate decisions in embryonic and adult hematopoietic stem cells in mice and humans
Anthony A. James
Genetic engineering of insect vectors of malaria and dengue
Pavan Kadandale
Increasing student learning and retention in Biology
Mei Kong
Nutritional microenvironment in tumor development and drug response, metabolism and epigenetics, protein phosphatase regulation in diabetes and obesity
Melissa Lodoen
Host-pathogen interaction, immune evasion, and parasite immunology
Ray Luo
Computational biochemistry and molecular biophysics. Intermolecular interactions in proteins and nucleic acids and their applications to drug design.

Maria “Julia” Massimelli
Teaching strategies to immerse students in the scientific field (research-labs, grant proposal writing, paper discussions); strategies to advance minority students; gene regulation in microorganisms.
Ilhem Messaoudi
Viral pathogenesis, host defense, modulation of immunity by nutrition and aging, impact of the microbiome on immunity
Naomi Morrissette
Parasitology, cell biology, microtubules and tubulin function, drug resistance, genetic analysis
Irene Pedersen
MicroRNA and disease
Thomas L. Poulos
Protein engineering and crystallography
Olga Razorenova
Biology of cancer, including molecular, cellular and genetic basis of the disease
Markus Ribbe
Assembly & Function of Metalloproteins
Brian Sato
Assessment of best practices that enhance student learning, Regulation of worm capture by a nematophagous fungus
Donald F. Senear
Interactions of proteins and DNA in transcriptional regulation
Andrea J. Tenner
Complement mediated regulation:  Neuroinflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, Neuroprotection, Autoimmunity
Sheryl Tsai
Drug design and crystallography of protein complexes
Craig Walsh
Signaling in immune homeostasis, tolerance and autoimmunity
Katrine Whiteson
Host-associated microbial communities in health and disease, polymicrobial interactions, metagenomics, metabolomics