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Biological and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Master of Science

The program gives students a thorough understanding of the scientific theory and advanced laboratory research techniques vital to success in pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Students also receive valuable internship experience in this revolutionary field.

​Improving the Way We Live

From new medications to genetics, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries harness biological processes to meet our society’s commercial and health-related needs.

  • Prepare for an exciting career in a vital, fast-growing field.
  • Gain the scientific and laboratory skills to conduct research that can improve lives.
  • Develop the administrative skills to advance in the biotech industry.
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Degree Type
Area of Interest
Science & Mathematics
Associated Colleges or Schools
Program Location
  • Queens Campus
Required Credit Hours


Students complete a 33 credit, interdisciplinary program with courses offered by the Department of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Pharmacy and Administrative Sciences—15 credits in a pharmaceutical biotechnology “core,” 15 credits in elective courses and a three-credit Internship in biotechnology at an approved site. Students must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 in the program.  All courses are given in the evening.

Application Requirements
Applicants need to submit the following items with their admission application:

  • B.S. or B.A. or equivalent with a major in life sciences or physical sciences
  • Official transcripts reflecting a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Satisfactory GRE scores
  • A minimum of two letters of reference
  • Foreign-born students who have not received a U.S. degree are required to present evidence of proficiency in English such as the TOEFL test

Program Requirements
The outlined curriculum provides a strong conceptual foundation upon which students can build the practical skills to excel in this exciting field. Students must complete a minimum of 33 credits, 18 of which are satisfied by the completion of the required core courses, including an off-campus internship that students take preferably in their final semester or after they have completed a minimum of 21 credits with a 3.0 index.

Attendance Policy
Regular and prompt attendance is expected of all students. Absence from class does not excuse a student from work missed. Individual faculty member have discretionary power to determine whether a student who has missed an announced test is to be given a make-up exam. This policy does not apply to final examinations which are administered by the Dean’s office at an appointed time.

There are no fellowships or graduate assistantships offered for this degree program. However, sometimes, the scholarship committee may award $2000, $3500, $5000, or $6500 per year for up to two years to the excellent applicants.  In addition, we may waive the second year’s tuition fee (up to 12 credits) for the best student of the class at his/her first academic year (This is only offered to the fall semester admission students).

Academic Standing
Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0. A student with a GPA of less than 3.0 is placed on academic probation and has one semester to correct the deficiency. If uncorrected after one semester, the student will be dismissed from the program. Students may appeal dismissal to the Director of the Institute for Biotechnology who acts as Dean for the program.

Transfer of Credit
A student may transfer up to six (6) graduate credits from another fully accredited institution of higher learning to substitute for courses in the curriculum. The student should present a syllabus of the course for which he or she is requesting credit and an official transcript for the College or University to the Director of the Institute for Biotechnology. The syllabus will be evaluated by the chair of the department offering the corresponding course in the curriculum. If it is deemed to be the equivalent the student will receive transfer credit for the course.

Admission Contact

Office of Graduate Admission



Core Courses
(All students are required to take the following six courses)
BIT 207 (BIO 207)Biomolecules and Cell Structure3 credits
BIT 248 (BIO 248)Laboratory Techniques and Applications I3 credits
BIT 249 (BIO 249)Communication Skills in the Life Sciences3 credits
BIT 252 (IPP 252)Biostatistics3 credits
BIT 270 (PHS 270)Introduction to Biotechnology3 credits
BIT 900Internship in Biotechnology3 credits
Elective Courses
(Students must take a minimum or any five of the following courses)
BIT 201 (CHE 201)Instrumental Methods of Analysis3 credits
BIT 203 (PHS 203)Research Methods in Pharmacology3 credits
BIT 208 (BIO 208)Molecular Genetics3 credits
BIT 209 (BIO 209)Bioinformatics3 credits
BIT 212 (BIO 212)Cell Biology3 credits
BIT 215 (PAS 215)Foundation of Regulatory Affairs3 credits
BIT 250 (PHS 250)Cell and Tissue Culture3 credits
BIT 250L
(PHS 250L)
Cell and Tissue Culture Laboratory1 credits
BIT 253 (BIO 253)Laboratory Techniques and Applications II3 credits
BIT 255 (IPP 255)Biotechnological Drug Delivery Systems3 credits
BIT 256 (PAS 256)Principles of Experimental Design3 credits
BIT 257 (PHS 257)Gene Technology in the Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences3 credits
BIT 261 (PHS 261)Laboratory in Gene Technology In the Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences1 credit
BIT 263 (MCM 263)Laboratory in Analysis of Biomacromolecules3 credits
BIT 264 (MCM 265)Principles of Drug Design I3 credits
BIT 265 (PAS 265)Scientific Inquiry: Regulation
And Ethical Challenges
3 credits
BIT 352Special Research in Biotechnology3 credits

Core Courses
201 (CHE 101) Instrumental Methods of Analysis
A lecture laboratory course on the applications of modern physical and chemical techniques to chemical analysis. Emphasis is placed on the underlying principles underlying analog and digital data acquisition and evaluation Credit: 3 semester hours. Laboratory fee $60.

202 (TOX 201) Methods in Toxicologic Evaluation
Prerequisite: BIT 252 and permission of the instructor. Experimental toxicology and pathology deals with the variety of experimental methods  utilized to determine the safety and toxicity of materials administered by mouth, applied topically to the skin or mucous membranes, or administered inhalation of gasses or aerosols. Credit: 3 semester hours.  

203 (PHS 203) Research Methods in Pharmacology
This course intends to introduce the student to select in vivo and in vitro techniques used in quantitative evaluation of pharmacological agents. Credit: 3 semester hours. Laboratory fee $135.

 207 (BIO 207) Biochemistry
Structure and function of biomolecules; enzymes; introduction to the organization and chemical economy of the cell; an overview of metabolism. Credit: 3 semester hours.

208 (BIO 208) Molecular Biology
Prerequisite: 207 Structure and function of DNA; protein synthesis  and the genetic code; mechanisms of gene transfer; recombinant DNA; viruses; chromosomes; gene expression and its regulation.

209 (BIO 209) Introduction to Bioinformatics
A consideration of the application of information technology to biological questions, including DNA sequencing, proteomics and genomics. Credit: 3 semester hours.

212 (BIO 212) Cell Biology
Prerequisite: 207.  Structure and function of subcellular organelles.  Transport; the endoplasmic reticulum, protein secretion and membrane biogenesis; the cytoskeleton; mitochondria, chloroplasts and the generation of useful energy. Credit: 3 semester hours.

215 (PAS215)  Foundations of Regulatory Affairs
This course provides the student with an understanding of the laws, regulations and procedures of federal and state guidelines that affect drugs and medical devices during their development, production and distribution stages. Credit: 3 semester hours.

248 (BIO 248) Laboratory Techniques and Applications I
Project-based hands-on experience with a variety of modern cellular, biochemical and molecular techniques. Credit: 3 semester hours.

249 (BIO 249) Communication Skills in the Life Sciences
Instruction in the reading of original research articles in a single area of interest to both the student and faculty member. Weekly presentations of papers are required.

250 (PHS 250) Cell and Tissue Culture
Co-requisite 250L. Student is acquainted with cell culture technology as well as biochemical and biophysical characteristics and capabilities of mammalian cells in culture. Credit: 3 semester hours.

250L (PHS 250L) Cell and Tissue CultureLaboratory
Co-requisite: PHS 250. This course is the laboratory component of PHS 250. Hands-on laboratory experiments in cell culture technology are performed by the students. The objective of the laboratory assignments is to expose the student to the biological, biophysical, and toxicological characteristics of mammalian cells in culture. Credit: 1 semester hour. Laboratory fee $135.

252 (IPP 252) Biostatistics
Prerequisites: Undergraduate chemistry or biology and mathematics. Statistical methods used in drug evaluation. While principal emphasis is placed on animal studies, evaluation of techniques applicable to chemistry and pharmacy are also covered. Credit: 3 semester hours.

253 (BIO 253)  Laboratory Techniques and Applications II
Project-based hands-on experience with a variety of modern cellular, biochemical and molecular Techniques. A continuation of BIO 248. Credit: 3 semester hours.

255 (IPP 255) Biotechnological Drug Delivery Systems
Prerequisite: Undergraduate course in biological and chemical sciences. This course is designed to focus on various physicochemical, biological and pharmaceutical concepts and strategies involved in the design and development of invasive (parenteral) and noninvasive drug delivery systems for biotechnological drug molecules such as proteins and peptides. Lecture. Credit: 3 semester hours.

256(PAS 256)  Princples of Experimental Design
Prerequisite: Undergraduate courses in biological and chemical sciences. This course is designed to develop competencies necessary to solve complex biological problems with efficient experiments using small sample size. Lecture. Credit: 3 semester hours.

257 (PHS 257) Gene Technology in the Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences
Prerequisite: Undergraduate biochemistry or the equivalent. Course presents the basic mechanism underlying the expression of the information encoded in the DNA: transcription, translation and replication. Credit: 3 semester hours.

261 (PHS 261) Laboratory in Gene Technology for the
Pharmaceutical & Allied Health Professions
The use of modern databases to mine known information and synthesize new conclusions from combined resources is used as a starting point. The class is divided into groups, each working with a different protein or a mutant of the target protein. Credit: 1 semester hour

263 (MCM 263)  Laboratory in Analysis of Biomacromolecules
A course designed to present the fundamentals of the use of modern analytical techniques for the identification and isolation of biomacromolecules. Emphasis is placed on protein purification methods. Credit: 3 semester hours.

264  (MCM 265) Principles of Drug Design I
Prerequisite: Undergraduate medicinal chemistry or equivalent. Required course designed to present an overview of the basic principles involved in medicinal chemistry. Credit: 3 semester hours.

265 (PAS 265) Scientific Inquiry: Regulation and Ethical Challenges
This course considers the nature of the scientific enterprise and both the legal and ethical restrictions placed on its methods and products by the government through imposition of regulation and society at large through moral suasion. Credit: 3 semester hours.

352 Special Research in Biotechnology
Prior consent of the faculty directing the research.
Students perform a semester of full time research under the supervision and in the laboratory of a faculty member of the Biology, Chemistry, or Pharmaceutical Sciences departments. Students are required to prepare a report on the research project and submit it to the faculty member for evaluation. Credit: 3 semester hours.

900 Internship in Biotechnology (capstone project).
Completion of a minimum of 21 credits with a GPA of 3.0 and approval of the Director of the Institute for Biotechnology
Students are required to perform a semester long full-time internship at a biotechnology/ pharmaceutical company. A required written report is submitted to the on-site mentor for evaluation and an oral presentation is given at the company.  The student then submits the written report to the Director of the Institute for Biotechnology and repeats the oral presentation at the university at an appointed time. Credit: 3 semester hours.

 925 Maintaining Matriculation
Students who do have not registered for other courses must register for 925 until degree requirements are completed. No credit. Fees $110 per semester.

Career Outcomes

Pharmaceutical biotechnology draws upon such disciplines as microbiology, biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology. The biopharmaceutical industry employed 55,446 people and was responsible for a total of 130,464 jobs in New York State in 2009.  The industry generated $29.1 billion in total output of which $16 billion was generated from direct employment.  In 2012, New York State will invest some $50 million in the biosciences through the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative. These investments will enable further growth in a field that supports some 250,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs, and contributes over $32 billion a year to the state’s economic output, according to an analysis by the New York Biotechnology Association (NYBA).

Companies and agencies that specialize in pharmaceutical biotechnology seek skilled professionals to meet the industry’s scientific and administrative demands. Career opportunities abound in clinical labs, information technology, large pharmaceuticals, research labs and even small start-ups. You can prepare for these careers through the Master of Science Degree Program in Biological and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at St. John’s University. This interdisciplinary program is a joint effort of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences — two acclaimed divisions of St. John’s University.

Additional Information

“The Professional Science Master's (PSM) is an innovative, new graduate degree designed to allow students to pursue advanced training in science or mathematics, while simultaneously developing workplace skills highly valued by employers. PSM programs consist of two years of academic training in an emerging or interdisciplinary area, along with a professional component that may include internships and "cross-training" in workplace skills, such as business, communications, and regulatory affairs. All have been developed in concert with employers and are designed to dovetail into present and future professional career opportunities.”

The M.S. in Biological and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology was developed as a Professional Science Master’s degree program with funding in the form two grants from the Sloan Foundation through the Council of Graduate Schools in 2003.  The degree program was approved by the New York State Department of Education in May, 2006 and the first class was admitted in January, 2007.

“The National Professional Science Master's Association (NPSMA) is a collaborative of Professional Science Master's (PSM) degree program directors, faculty, administrators, alumni, and students that supports PSM degree initiatives. It engages businesses, industries, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and trade associations in the development of PSM degree programs and with internship and job placement for PSM degree students and graduates.”

St. John’s University Institute for Biotechnology, its students and alumni are members of the National Professional Science Master’s Association.  Students and alumni benefit from networking with their counterparts in other Professional Science Master’s programs around the country.  The NPSMA also facilitates internship and job placement for its members.

“The New York Biotechnology Association (NYBA) is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to the development and growth of New York State based biotechnology related industries and institutions, and to strengthening the competitiveness of New York State as a premier global location for biotechnology/biomedical research, education and industry.”

St. John’s University Institute for Biotechnology has been a member of NYBA since 2003 and has been a sponsor of the NYBA Annual Meeting since that time.  At the 18th Annual meeting in April 2009, Dr. Diana Bartelt, Director of the Institute, chaired a panel entitled “Employee Development Program Alliances with Academia: The Hidden Benefits.”

“The Long Island Life Sciences Initiative (LILSI) has as its mission to attract, retain and develop life sciences companies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, nutriceutical and personal care sectors on Long Island by providing business development, strategic networking, and educational opportunities to enhance corporate competitiveness, productivity, efficiency and profitability.”

St. John’s Institute for Biotechnology has been a sponsor of the Long Island Life Sciences Initiative Annual Summit Meetings since 2003.  Students in the M.S. in Biological and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology degree program have served as volunteers at the meetings and participated in job fairs.


Jason Alter, Ph.D.
Vice President of Marketing for Aureon Laboratories
Dr. Alter graduated from Alfred University with a B.A. in Biology and History. Subsequently he earned a M.S. degree in Microbiology from Texas A&M University and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Binghamton University. Dr. Alter did a postdoctoral fellowship at Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals examining the cellular location of fibronectin and collagen 01 (IV) messenger RNAs during intimal lesion development in a balloon angioplasty model of vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation.  Dr. Alter has worked in a number of marketing roles for both traditional and non-traditional life science companies (e.g. IBM). Dr. Alter joined IBM's newly-formed Life Sciences Division as a Marketing Manager and was responsible for many of the initial outbound marketing activities of this business unit. Subsequently, as Manager of Program Marketing, he and his team were responsible for all outbound marketing for the IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences team.

John D. Haley, Ph.D.
Senior Research Director, Translational Research OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Dr. Haley has over thirty years of experience in biochemical research in the fields of endocrinology, oncology, signal transduction and pharmacology, in which he has published over 50 manuscripts.  Dr. Haley obtained B.Sc. cum laude in Chemistry from Tufts University, Medford, MA and a Ph. D. in Molecular Endocrinology from the Howard Florey Institute for Experimental Physiology and Medicine, Melbourne University, Australia.  He served as a Research Fellow at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (London) and at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (London). He currently holds the position of Senior Research Director, Translational Research at OSI Pharmaceuticals, and his group is focused on drug target pathway identification, validation and biomarker discovery through a scientific understanding of epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer recurrence.

Joseph Scaduto, M.S.,  M.B.A.
Assistant Director of Business Development Center for Biotechnology (CFB), State University of New York at Stony Brook
Mr. Scaduto is the founding Executive Director of the Long Island Life Sciences Initiative (LILSI). He has accumulated almost 10 years of experience providing business development expertise, strategic planning services and technology commercialization guidance to emerging and expanding bioscience companies on Long Island and throughout New York State. Mr. Scaduto is primarily responsible for corporate outreach, industry relations and government affairs activities on behalf of the CFB. He leads efforts to plan and execute the annual Life Sciences Industry Summit, while administering several programs meant to facilitate industry-academic interactions, technology transfer and new company formation, including BioPartnering Meetings, BioStrategy Sessions and the Technology Commercialization Clinic (TCC).  Mr. Scaduto serves on the Tenant Selection and Review Committee of the Long Island High Technology Incubator (UHTI), the Stony Brook University Software Incubator, and the Stony Brook University Incubator at Calverton.  Prior to joining the CFB, Mr. Scaduto held a variety of laboratory research and technology management positions at Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Binghamton University, Mount Sinai Graduate School of Biological Sciences, BioLife Solutions, Inc. and The Collaborative Group, Ltd.

Mark Sleeman, Ph.D.
Dr. Sleeman is currently the Head of Metabolic Research at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Tarrytown, New York. For the past two decades he has been interested in the interplay between insulin resistance and obesity, in particular the molecular mechanisms behind the regulation food intake and body weight. Recently, his published research has focused on the role that gut hormones such as ghrelin and PYY play in signaling to a number of brain regions to modulate metabolic events. To that end he and his colleagues have generated a number of genetically modified animals to study these phenotypes. Mark Sleeman was a recipient of a Juveniles Diabetes and Ruth Kirschstein Endocrine Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts in the laboratory of Dr Michael P. Czech where he studied mechanisms insulin-resistance/signaling. He received his Ph.D. from Monash University after graduating from The University of Melbourne, Australia. He has published numerous papers on Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity in journals such as Nature Medicine, Nature Genetics, PNAS, Journal of Biological Chemistry and Diabetes, is a member of numerous professional societies in US and holds the academic appointment of Adjunct Professor in the Comparative Medicine Department at Yale University School of Medicine.

Linda Strausbaugh, Ph.D.
Professor of Genetics and Genomics
Director, Center for Applied Genetics and Technology
Director, Professional Science Master's Degree in Applied Genomics
Chair of the Council of Graduate Schools PSM Advisory Board
Dr. Strausbaugh recieved her B.S. from Wright State University and her Ph.D. from Wesleyan University. Dr. Strausbaugh joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut in 1980. Her research interests are in DNA identity typing for forensic and ancestry applications, and in genome evolution. She designed and obtained funding to create UConn's Center for Applied Genetics and Technology, a state-of-the-art facility supporting integrated genomics research and education. Multimillion dollar awards support her DNA typing research for crime lab improvement, and she leads collaborations with several corporate partners to develop new DNA identification methods. Professor Strausbaugh is recognized locally and nationally as an education innovator. She has developed and taught a number of genetics courses, including all three of the genetics courses for undergraduates at the University of Connecticut.  Her genetics class was named a "Best on Campus" in the Boston Globe. Dr. Strausbaugh played key roles in the creation and teaching of courses on Forensic Applications of DNA Science, Experiments in DNA Identification, and Responsible Conduct of Research. She was named a 1997 Teaching Fellow of the University of Connecticut, and is a 2010 Top Nominee for the national Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching. She is active in local and national diversity initiatives and was named a 1998 NEBHE Faculty Mentor of the Year. Dr. Strausbaugh has served as mentor and research supervisor to dozens of undergraduate and graduate students.  She conceived of and directs the Professional Science Masters in Applied Genomics. PSM degrees are designed to address the national shortage of science-trained professionals, and Dr. Strausbaugh works routinely with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association and several companies.

Edward Tamer, Ph.D.
Senior Manager, Head of Lead Optimization Group
CNS Therapeutic Domain
Sanofi-Aventis US, Inc.
Dr. Tamer graduated with a PhD in Biochemistry in January 1985 from University Paul-Sabatier-School of Pharmacy in Toulouse, France.  Immediately thereafter he began a career in the pharmaceutical  industry by joining UCB-Pharma in Belgium.  From 1989-1999, and while still employed by UCB Pharma, he moved to the US where he took on the responsibility of coordinating an extensive collaboration  project between UCB-Pharma and the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Illinois.  This included a Research Faculty position with participation in teaching in the pharmacology graduate program in the department.  Next he joined the Vascular Biology Group at Cornell University Weil Medical College in New York from 1999-2002. He then moved to the Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science in Cold Spring, NY where led the Cell Biology group from 2002 – 2005.  Then he returned to industry and joined Sanofi-Aventis, where he held a Senior Manager position heading the lead Optimization group in the central nervous system therapeutic domain.  Currently he holds a senior position in the “Expert is platform of Biology of aging” in the newly created therapeutic strategic unit of Aging at Sanofi-Aventis.  During his professional career, Dr. Tamer’s research activity continued to focus on understanding the mechanisms of diseases with emphasis on drug discovery, applying biochemical, molecular and pharmacological approaches and techniques.

Daniel B. Yarosh,Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Basic Science Research Estee Lauder
Dr. Yarosh, is Senior Vice President, Basic Science Research, and is responsible for worldwide basic research of the Estee Lauder companies. Until 2008, he was President and Chairman of the Board, AGI Dermatics, located in Freeport, Long Island, New York. Dr. Yarosh received his BA degree in Biology from Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1976, and his Doctorate in Molecular Biology from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, Arizona, in 1978. He served as a National Science Foundation Fellow at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, and then a Staff Fellow and Cancer Expert at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. In 1985, Dr. Yarosh founded AGI Dermatics, with an emphasis on the commercial application of DNA repair. He is the inventor of Dimericine® (T4N5 liposome lotion), which is a liposomal DNA repair enzyme for the prevention of skin cancer. AGI Dermatics is also an ingredient supplier to many major worldwide cosmetic and personal care companies. In 2006 the company launched its own Remergent® brand of skincare products, including sunscreens and prescription drugs. In 2008, AGI Dermatics was acquired by Estee Lauder Inc. Dr. Yarosh is the author of more than 100 scientific papers and two dozen patents, and serves on the Board of the Photomedicine Society. His book The New Science of Perfect Skin, about skincare technology in the cosmetic marketplace, was published by Random House in May 2008.

Degree Contact

Zhe-Sheng Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, Institute for Biotechnology and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences

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