Studium Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology - Studierende haltet ihre Laborbrille

Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology master degree programme

Looking for an internationally respected master programme that will open up exciting career opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry and research? Potential employers hold our Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology programme in high regard thanks to its broad curriculum.

On the master programme, you enhance your methods-based and problem-solving competencies, putting you in a position to overcome the challenges associated with developing and producing innovative treatments for cancer, autoimmune conditions and neurodegenerative diseases. You use cutting-edge and interdisciplinary methods, such as culturing “mini tumours” to help predict the effects of cancer treatments.

The degree programme

Our four-semester, English-language Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology master degree programme is designed to provide you with extensive medical biotechnology knowledge and expertise in biotech product development and manufacturing. It is very well embedded in the Vienna Biotech Region.

Developing an interdisciplinary mindset

An interdisciplinary approach is the key to success in biotechnology. To this end, you build on your knowledge of natural sciences, medical and engineering aspects.

Developing high-level expertise in identifying, characterising and manufacturing biopharmaceuticals is an essential aspect of this master programme. Manufacturing biopharmaceuticals also requires extensive knowledge of the applicable legal framework and the quality assurance procedures which play a vital part in an interdisciplinary setting.

Focusing on the needs of the industry

A team of about 40 lecturers from research and industry teach basic and applied topics and how to take advanced therapies from research to application. Paired with plenty of lab work, this ensures that the programme has a strong practical focus and is aligned with the requirements of industry.

The curriculum also features current trends and the latest developments: for instance, you use cutting-edge technologies, such as shotgun proteomics, to carry out a computerised bioinformatic analysis of all of a cell’s proteins under normal and pathological conditions. The programme also offers complementary training in development, application and production methods for quality-assured tissue and organ replacements.

International by heart

Interested in joint classes with students from other universities? Within an ERASMUS Plus Project, a joint module covering the main aspects of drug development is being developed. For the project, our university is collaborating with the French Université Paris XII Val De Marne (UPEC) and Finnish Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS).

The programme covers the research focuses of each partner institution. The theory courses will be held as interactive courses in the virtual classroom in autumn, whereas the laboratory courses will take place on site at the partner institutions in spring.

A particularly attractive option is the dual degree we offer in conjunction with the Linköping University in Sweden. Besides obtaining a master of science at IMC Krems, you will also be accredited with completing the Experimental and Medical Biosciences programme at our partner institution.

Excellent career & PhD opportunities

When you graduate, you can choose from a wide range of career paths – the international nature of the programme opens up opportunities in the domestic and global biotechnology industry or in a variety of PhD programmes.

Here is a short overview of established PhD cooperations:

  • The Transformation of Pre-Clinics into Clinics by Organoids (TOPICO) project is a novel PhD programme, which is embedded in the Malignant Disease programme of the Medical University of Vienna, but also synergistically extends important contents of the Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology master programme of IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems.
    This creates a unique environment for PhD students to develop their individual PhD projects in a well-founded network of students and faculty, thereby promoting their later careers in international cancer research in industrial or academic settings.
  • A collaboration with the University for Continuing Education in Krems has been in place for several years in the PhD programme Regenerative Medicine. For graduates of the master programme Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, this is another opportunity to start a PhD in this innovative field.

" After completing your degree, you will be able start building a career in the international biotechnology industry or on a doctoral programme. "

Programme director Harald Hundsberger

A formula for success: theoretical knowledge + practical experience

The programme is built on three pillars.

  1. 1

    1. Advanced courses

    Semesters 1-2

    While the Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology bachelor programme has a strong focus on the natural sciences, the emphasis shifts to the methods-based and problem-solving skills required in the field in the master programme.

    In the first two semesters, you’ll build on the knowledge you acquired in our bachelor degree or another related programme. Modules include Health, Disease and Therapeutical Strategies, Process Design, Bioprocess Technology and Analytical Methods in Life Sciences. You’ll also start preparing for your research semester in semester 1.

    On top of this, the Institute of Biotechnology hosts its annual Life Science Meeting, which is designed to be a very broad-based scientific conference. There’s always an exciting international atmosphere at this event, where you’ll benefit from the insights of globally respected scientists from research and industry. The programme also features presentations by our students and graduates.

  2. 2

    2. The electives

    Semesters 1-4

    Right from the first semester, you have the opportunity to tailor your degree according to your specific interests. You select one of two electives: Bioprocess Engineering or Advanced Therapeutics Development.

    Both of these will give you an overview of the current research landscape: you will learn about numerous research projects connected to your specialism and the Institute of Biotechnology’s research focuses.

    This is a fantastic opportunity to become an expert in your chosen field: the elective you select will help give your professional profile a sharper focus. Ideally, in the next semester you will choose a research topic and internship placement linked to your specialism.

  3. 3

    3. The research semester and master thesis

    Semester 3-4

    The research phase is a core element of the master programme. You can start the research work for the master thesis already after the 2nd semester as the lectures of the 3rd and 4th semesters are online lectures and with that spend up to one year at a respected biotechnology company or research facility in Austria or abroad. Examples include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States or Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The work will focus on a project that forms the basis for your master thesis.

    After your research semesters, you only have to return to university to take your final master examination. So, if you’re offered a permanent job or a Ph.D. position by your internship provider, there’ll be nothing standing in your way.


What can you expect from your studies? The curriculum provides an overview.

Click on the individual courses for further information.

  1. CourseSWSECTS
    Health, Disease and Therapeutical Strategies
    Immunology 23
    Hallmarks of Cancer 11
    Molecular Mechanisms of Ageing 11
    Developmental Biology 11
    Bioethics 11
    Process Design
    Equipment and Production Design 23
    Standardization 12
    Biomedical Regulatiuons
    Legislation for Drugs and Medical Devices 23
    Bioprocess Technology
    Upstream and Downstream Processing
    Upstream Processing 12
    Downstream Processing 12
    Recombinant Protein Production - Theory 23
    Recombinant Protein Production - Laboratory 44
    Research Project in Industry and Master Thesis
    Research Project - Preparation 11
    ERASMUS Project_Microcredential
    Target Identification/H2L 23
    Lead Optimization 23
    Clinical Trials 23
    Focal Subject - Elective 1: Bioprocess Engineering
    Elective 1: Bioprocess Engineering
    Process Control and Process Online Monitoring 23
    Focal Subject - Elective 2: Advanced Therapeutics Development
    Elective 2: Advanced Therapeutics Development
    Drug Discovery Systems 23
  2. CourseSWSECTS
    Integrative Methods in Biotechnology
    Biostatistics and Trend Analysis 12
    Systems Biology 11
    Structural Bioinformatics and Drug Design 22
    Analytical Methods in Life Science
    Bioanalytics Laboratory 23
    Personalized Medicine Laboratory 23
    Analytical Methods in Biomedicine 23
    Fundamentals in Pharmaceutical Sciences
    Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics 23
    Quality Management and Regulations in Biotechnology
    GLP, GMP and Risk Assessment
    Risk Assessment 11
    GLP and GMP Regulations 11
    Quality Management Systems 11
    Pharmaceutical Project Management
    Project and Portfolio Management 11
    Clinical Studies and GCP 11
    Entrepreneurship in Life Sciences 22
    ERASMUS Project_Microcredential
    Target Identification - Laboratory 23
    Lead Optimization - Laboratory 23
    Drug delivery systems - Laboratory 23
    Focal Subject - Elective 1: Bioprocess Engineering
    Elective 1: Bioprocess Engineering
    Fermentation and Scale Up - Scale Down Techniques
    Fermentation of Complex Host Systems 11
    Scale Up - Scale Down Techniques 12
    Fermentation Technology - Laboratory I 23
    Focal Subject - Elective 2: Advanced Therapeutics Development
    Elective 2: Advanced Therapeutics Development
    Advanced Therapeutic Development Laboratory I 23
    Pathophysiology and Molecular Therapies 23
  3. CourseSWSECTS
    Focal Subject - Elective 1: Bioprocess Engineering
    Elective 1: Bioprocess Engineering
    Equipment Test and Process Validation 24
    Fermentation Technology - Laboratory II 511
    Focal Subject - Elective 2: Advanced Therapeutics Development
    Elective 2: Advanced Therapeutics Development
    Stem Cells, Gene Therapy and Regenerative Medicine 13
    Immunology Based Therapies 11
    Advanced Therapeutic Development Laboratory II 511
    Research Project in Industry and Master Thesis
    Master Thesis - Part I 14
    Master Thesis - Coaching Seminar I 11
    Research Project 110
  4. CourseSWSECTS
    Focal Subject - Elective 1: Bioprocess Engineering
    Elective 1: Bioprocess Engineering
    Current Issues in Bioprocess Engineering 12
    Focal Subject - Elective 2: Advanced Therapeutics Development
    Elective 2: Advanced Therapeutics Development
    Current Issues in Advanced Therapeutic Development 12
    Research Project in Industry and Master Thesis
    Master Thesis - Part II 118
    Master Thesis - Coaching Seminar II 16
    Master Exam 04


Choose your own focus areas: you select one of two electives on the master programme.

Bioprocess Engineering

This elective prepares you for work in the development and manufacture of pharmaceutical products.

Today, these products are frequently produced using biopharmaceutical techniques, by means of fermentation in large bioreactors. This requires genetically modified microorganisms, which are cultured in very high cell densities to manufacture the desired product. Such products range from medicines to ingredients for nutritional supplements, as well as substances like bioethanol.

If you take this elective, you will gain detailed insights into bioprocess engineering, process automation, and especially fermentation. This expertise will give you the skills required to take on positions at all types of biotech company – large pharmaceutical businesses as well as small start-ups specialising in innovative products such as nutraceuticals. You’ll be able to contribute in a wide range of areas encompassing the development, testing and large-scale manufacturing of brand new substances.

In the bioprocess engineering lectures and practicals you’ll use cutting-edge analytical techniques, ranging from simple online methods – which you’ll also evaluate – through to liquid LC-MS for proteomics work.

Advanced Therapeutics Development

This elective takes an in-depth look at research into active ingredients and their mechanisms. It lays the foundations for a PhD in a related area or a job in an R&D department in the biotech industry.

Medical biotechnology has seen some major breakthroughs in recent years, such as immune checkpoint inhibitors (PD-1) for the treatment of advanced melanomas. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules are currently being tested for use in potential treatments for cancers and viral diseases, which are expected to come on to the market in the next few years.

High-throughput technologies in areas such as next-generation sequencing (NGS), mass spectrometry and imaging are becoming increasingly important in the development of new treatments. This means there is going to be an ever greater focus on linking together large data sets, and integrating the clinical results of treatment.

The Advanced Therapeutic Development elective module gives you a solid grounding in these areas. This is reinforced with a lab-based course linked to the elective, in which you reproduce the early stages of the drug development process. A journal club on topical biotechnology questions rounds out the programme.

Career paths

As a graduate of the Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology master programme you will be especially well placed to assume positions at pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies or medical research institutes.

You can also opt to take a PhD at a university in Austria or abroad. We have PhD cooperation agreements with Danube University Krems and the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. These agreements ensure that admission to the PhD programmes at these institutions is a straightforward process.

  • The professional areas open to graduates include:
  • R&D responsibilities in research and industry
  • clinical trials and drug approval
  • planning and management of biotechnological processes (fermentation)
  • biomedical and analytical testing procedures
  • coordination responsibilities in production, quality control, quality assurance and approval
  • marketing and sales
  • medical engineering
  • food technology and food safety
  • industrial and environmental biotechnology
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Application and admissions – the next steps

You've found a course that's a perfect fit? Great – you’ve already taken the most important step! We’ve put together an overview to guide you through the next steps.

What are the admission requirements for master programmes?

To qualify for a master programme, you must have completed a bachelor degree – with a workload of at least 180 ECTS and lasting at least six semesters – in a related subject, or hold an equivalent degree from a recognised Austrian or foreign higher education institution.

If your undergraduate studies are not sufficiently relevant, for instance if you’ve completed a degree in an unrelated subject, your qualifications will be assessed after we have received your completed application.

Information about accepted previous academic qualifications

Application interview

Everything revolves around the students on our Master degree programmes. That’s why we’d like to get to know you personally.

As part of the online application you will have to write a statement of motivation. Predefined questions about your motivation can be found in the online application. In your answers, which have to be entered in the provided input fields of the online application, you deal with the questions and explain your motivation to study the selected Master degree programme

Your statement of motivation and your CV (curriculum vitae) form the basis for your application interview. The admission interview is a one-to-one interview, usually with the degree programme director.
In addition to getting to know you personally, your motives for the Master degree programme will be discussed, as well as your professional background and the skillset you have acquired so far. Special attention will be paid to your previous academic and professional experience, your methodological and language skills and your general suitability with regard to your intended Master degree programme.

The application interview is held in the language of instruction of the degree programme and can take place online via Microsoft Teams or in presence. 

Interview dates

There is usually a selection of dates to choose from, with quotas allocated for each date. You can select a preferred date and time slot for your admission interview during the online application process. In order to still benefit from the full selection of dates, we recommend that you submit your application in good time.

Get an overview of the dates for your programme.

Admission interview

After you have successfully completed your online application, your application will be checked for completeness and correctness. As soon as this process is completed, we will inform you by e-mail and confirm the date for your admission interview. We will send you the Microsoft Teams Meeting Link in a separate e-mail a few days before the application interview date.

Application deadline for EU nationals / Extended application deadline 15/05/2024 / 15/08/2024
Application deadline for non-EU nationals
Application for the next study year possible from 01/12/2024
Please note that the IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems reserves the right to close the extended application period at any time without prior notice. We therefore recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.
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