Degree Programme Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology - Students hold their lab glasses

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 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: Master of Science in Engineering (MSc)

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.

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. You also enhance your understanding of quality assurance frameworks, as well as learning how to combine knowledge from all of these disciplines.

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.

Lecturers from European universities, international speakers from the pharmaceutical industry and plenty of lab work ensure that the programme has a strong practical focus and is aligned with the requirements of industry. 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 international job markets.

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

Advanced courses

Semesters 1-2

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

In the first two semesters, you build on the knowledge you acquired on 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 also start preparing for your research semester in semester 2.

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

The electives

Semester 3

In semester 3 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 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

The research semester

Semester 4

The Applied Research Semester (ARTS) is a core element of the master programme. You spend at least 22 weeks at a respected biotechnology company or research facility in Austria or abroad. Examples include Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States or Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The focus of your work will be a project that forms the basis for your master thesis.

The research semester is timetabled for the final semester so you can draw on all the knowledge you have acquired across the full range of disciplines. This also gives you maximum flexibility in terms of completing your thesis – you’re able plan according to the requirements of the project.

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

Curriculum

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

Click on the individual courses for further information.

CourseSWSECTS
Bioethics
Bioethics 12
Bioprocess Technology
Upstream Processing 23
Recombinant Protein Production, Theory 23
Recombinant Protein Production, Laboratory 48
Process Design
Equipment and Production Design 24
Standardization 12
Health, Disease and Therapeutical Strategies
Immunology 22
The Molecular Mechanisms of Aging 12
The Hallmarks of Cancer 12
Developmental Biology 12
CourseSWSECTS
Integrative Methods in Biotechnology
Biostatistics and Trend Analysis 12
Structural Bioinformatics and Drug Design 22
Systems Biology 12
Biomedical Regulations
Legislation for Drugs and Medical Devices 23
Pharmaceutical Quality Management
Quality Management Systems 12
GLP and GMP Regulations 12
Risk Assessment 12
Pharmaceutical Project Management
Project and Portfolio Management 12
Clinical Studies and GCP 12
Analytical Methods in Life Sciences
Bioanalytics, Laboratory 24
Personalized Medicine, Laboratory 24
Analytical Methods in Biomedicine 22
Reserach Semester Application and Preperation
Research Semester Preparation 11
CourseSWSECTS
Therapeutic Effects of Biopharmaceuticals
Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics 23
Business
Entrepreneurship in Life Sciences 23
Elective 1: Bioprocess Engineering
Bioprocess Engineering
Scale Up – Scale Down Techniques 23
Current Issues in Bioprocess Engineering 12
Fermentation Technology
Fermentation Technology, Laboratory 710
Fermentation of Complex Host Systems 12
Process Automation
Process Control and Process Online Monitoring 23
Equipment Test and Process Validation 24
Elective 2: Advanced Therapeutics Development
Principles of Drug Discovery
Pathophysiology and Molecular Therapies 24
Drug Discovery Systems 23
Strategies in Molecular Therapies
Stem Cells, Gene Therapy and Regenerative Medicine 23
Immunology Base Therapies 12
Therapeutics Development
Advanced Therapeutics Development, Laboratory 710
Current Issues in Advanced Therapeutics Development 12
CourseSWSECTS
Research Semester
Master Thesis 022
Coaching Seminar 13
Master Exam
Master Exam 05

Electives

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.

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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

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1

Admission requirements

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2

Admissions procedure

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3

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4

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