The Catholic University of America

Why Get an M.S. in Biotechnology Degree?

The average salary of a Maryland bioscience employee is approximately $80,000. (Maryland Biotechnology Center, 2009)

The Milken Institute projects that biotechnology employment will grow by 1.6% annually through 2014, with many subsectors projected to experience even faster rates of growth. (Angelou Economics: Global Economic Development)

Biotechnology offers opportunities in five major subsectors:

  • Drugs and pharmaceuticals: Traditionally, chemistry has been the means by which new medicines have been isolated or synthesized. The rise of biotechnology, however, now promises pharmaceuticals that are created through biological processes found in living organisms. Future advances in medicine are relying more and more on the use of biotechnology and, as a result, the role of biotechnology in healthcare is rapidly expanding.
  • Agricultural feedstock and chemicals: By manipulating plant genomes, biotechnologists can create new breeds of crops. Through the transfer of specific genes, for example, scientists can create plants with enhanced characteristics such as self-fertilization, resistance to drought or disease, and enhanced nutritional value. Current biotechnology research on crop-based fuels may dramatically increase the production of ethanol.
  • Research, testing, and medical laboratories: Biotechnology research is growing more complicated through genomics, proteomics, and metabiomics. As a result, the products generated are often unique. New test procedures are needed by both companies and regulatory agencies to ensure that biotechnology products are safe and effective
  • Environmental applications: One of the earliest applications of biotechnology involved the genetic engineering of microbes to feed on petroleum products.  These novel microbes were patented for use in containing oil spills.  Aquaculture will also benefit from the insertion of genes in fish and shellfish that will speed their growth and enable them to better ward off parasites and microbial infections.
  • Medical devices and equipment: Biotechnology makes use of macromolecules that can very precisely recognize certain biological materials.   When engineered into sophisticated medical devices and equipment, biotechnology processes can, for example, enhance the sensitivity and speed by which medical diagnoses can be made.