Best Biotechnology Universities

Learn about the degree programs available in biotechnology at top schools. Get information about the rankings of these schools, the degree programs they offer and the kinds of facilities and research opportunities available. Schools offering Biotechnology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look for in a Top Biotechnology University?

Because biotechnology involves modifications of living organisms, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, you'll want a school with strong overall biology and life science programs. Strong programs in cell biology and genetics are also desirable. In addition, quality laboratory facilities are crucial for learning the technical skills that will enhance your options after graduation.

If you're interested in a biotech career that's not lab-based, you might want to explore some dual degree options. These combine a biotech education with a business or legal-regulatory preparation. You'll want to consider your professional goals carefully, because positions in biotechnology often require a graduate degree.

What Are Three of the Top Biotechnology Universities?

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is the best biomedical engineering school in the country for both undergraduate- and graduate- level studies, according to 2019 rankings from U.S. News & World Report. The university's Advanced Center for Biotechnology Education (CBE) offers several master's degree programs, one of which is a dual program. Some programs are offered entirely online.

The T. C. Jenkins Department of Biophysics offers two PhD degree programs in biophysics-related research. The Program in Molecular Biophysics (PMB) focuses mainly on quantitative physical chemistry of biological systems. The Program in Cell, Molecular, Developmental Biology, and Biophysics (CMDB), on the other hand, emphasizes modern biology and physical biochemistry.

Program offerings are listed below:

  • MS in Biotechnology
  • MS in Bioinformatics
  • MS in Biotechnology, Post-Bacc Health Science Intensive Program
  • MS in Regulatory Science
  • MS in Biotechnology Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
  • MS in Food Safety Regulation
  • MS in Biotechnology/MBA
  • PhD in Molecular Biology
  • PhD in Cell, Molecular, Developmental Biology, and Biophysics

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA

MIT was reported as second among world universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2019. For the same year, both undergraduate- and graduate- levels of the biomedical engineering/bioengineering programs ranked second and first in the country, respectively. The school's graduate degree program in biological sciences took first place in the publication's 2018 rankings.

Biotechnology-related research at MIT involves multiple subjects, departments and centers. You could participate in laboratories dedicated to energy and environmental remediation, genomic sequencing, protein engineering and gene transfer, and many other areas of research. The National Science Foundation has partnered with the MIT Biotechnology Process Engineering Center since 1985, with current emphasis on therapeutic protein biotechnology and gene biotechnology.

You'll have access to MIT's centers for biological and biomedical engineering, environmental health sciences, bio-micro and biotechnology process engineering. A bio-instrumentation laboratory is also available. As an MIT biotech grad, you'll be well-placed for a position in leading universities, biotechnology firms and pharmaceutical companies.

Biotechnology students may choose from an array of related degree programs. Two of the most popular options are listed below:

  • ME in Biomedical Engineering
  • PhD in Biological Engineering

Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA

Stanford is third among world universities, according to a report published by U.S. News & World Report for 2019. For the same year, the school earned the rank of best graduate school in the country for the study of biological sciences.

Stanford's approach to biotechnology training is multidisciplinary. Faculty and prospective candidates for this program are drawn from biochemistry, bioengineering, biological sciences, chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, computer science, genetics and other disciplines. Dozens of biotechnology companies are program partners.

To be selected for this training program, you must be a student in one of Stanford's participating departments and recommended by your advisor. You'll pursue your PhD, plus additional coursework and an internship, generally with a participating biotech company. Representative earlier graduates have found employment in academia or with medical schools, pharmaceutical companies, law firms, management consulting firms or environmental divisions of corporations.

There are numerous biotechnology-related degree programs offered; a few are listed below:

  • PhD in Biomedical Informatics
  • PhD in Genetics
  • PhD in Microbiology and Immunology
  • PhD in Molecular and Cellular Physiology

Nine Top Schools with Biotechnology Degree Programs

College/UniversityInstitutionLocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
Columbia University in the City of New York4-year, PrivateNew York, NY$48,000
University of Pennsylvania4-year, PrivatePhiladelphia, PA$39,000
Northwestern University4-year, PrivateEvanston, IL$55,000
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor4-year, PublicAnn Arbor, MI$23,000
Boston University4-year, PrivateBoston, MA$53,000
University of California-Davis4-year, PublicDavis, CA$13,500
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign4-year, PublicChampaign, IL$18,000
University of Georgia4-year, PublicAthens, GA$11,000
University of Wisconsin-Madison4-year, PublicMadison, WI$11,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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