MS in Biopharmaceutical Engineering

The Master of Science Program in Biopharmaceutical Engineering (PhB) is a program developed and administered by the Otto H. York Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering at NJIT. The primary objective of the program is to educate professionals by providing them with the skills required to work in the bioprocessing and biopharmaceutical field, with particular emphasis on the engineering aspects of industrial bioprocessing and biomanufacturing, biopharmaceutical production, and biological/biochemical development.

Program Mission

New Jersey is considered a “hot bed” for pharmaceutical, health care, and bioscience companies, and examples of large and small companies having major facilities in New Jersey abound. The use of microbial/biological systems and the manipulation of biological systems for the production of pharmaceutical products and therapeutic agents are becoming increasingly important for these companies and for the health care industry as a whole. The Biopharmaceutical Engineering program is designed to address the engineering component of the educational needs in this area: students are trained in areas such as microbial and cell growth operations, bioreactor and bioprocess design, fermentation and cell culture processing, recovery and bioseparation processes, and validation and regulatory issues for biological production.

Since this program is strongly tied to the pharmaceutical engineering and chemical engineering programs, pharmaceutical bioprocessing students are able to benefit from the use of basic chemical/pharmaceutical engineering approaches, such as transport phenomena, (bio)reaction engineering and unit-operations principles, to understand and design bioprocesses for new biotherapeutics. NJIT’s M.S. program in Biopharmaceutical Engineering provides the intellectual climate and the necessary tools needed to prepare students for positions and career advancement within the industry, based on the rigorous technological requirements of this highly regulated work environment.

Admission Requirements

An undergraduate degree in chemical engineering or, in most cases, mechanical engineering, with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is usually required. Applicants with: (1) a science degree, (2) an engineering degree in a discipline other than chemical engineering, or (3) a GPA below 3.0 but at least 2.8, may be conditionally admitted to the program. Conditions may involve completion of a bridge program designed on a case-by-case basis, and typically requiring taking extra bridge courses, as further explained below. Depending on the background of the student, admission conditions may additionally require taking undergraduate courses (e.g., chemistry) or graduate courses. Bridge courses and undergraduate courses do not count toward degree credit; graduate-level courses do.

Submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores is encouraged in all cases, but it is required of those seeking financial support and those whose last prior degree is from an institution outside the United States. International students must also submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). According to university policy, a minimum score of 79 (Internetbased TOEFL), 550 (paper-based TOEFL) or 213 (computer-based TOEFL) is required for all international applicants.

Bridge Program

The Biopharmaceutical Engineering program has been designed so that applicants with different backgrounds can be admitted. Nevertheless, the program is strongly oriented toward the engineering and processing components of “Biopharmaceutical Engineering”. In addition, since the biopharmaceutical industry is a chemistry/biology-based industry a chemical or biochemical engineering background is the most appropriate to enter the program. This implies that students who have a science background (e.g., a chemistry or pharmacy B.S. degree) or an engineering degree in a discipline other than chemical, biochemical or, possibly, mechanical engineering, may be required to take a bridge program. Depending on the background of the applicant, this bridge program may consist of up to (but generally speaking less than, at least for students with engineering degrees) three 3-credit courses (PhEn 500, PhEn 501 and PhEn 502) specifically designed to provide non-chemical engineers with the necessary prerequisites to enter the program. The bridge courses cover a variety of topics, such as differential equations, statistics and business math (PhEn 500), mass balances, thermodynamics, and chemical kinetics (PhEn 501), and fluid flow, heat transfer and mass transfer (PhEn 502).

A grade point average of at least 3.0 must be achieved in the bridge courses. Students should pay special attention to the successful completion of the bridge courses, since failure to do so may preclude them from enrolling in regular PhEn courses. PhEn 500 and PhEn 501 can and should be taken concurrently. Successful completion of both PhEn 500 and PhEn 501 is required to enroll in PhEn 502. Students must take the bridge courses before taking any other PhEn/PhB courses, with the exception of PhB 610, PhEn 601 and PhEn 604, which can be taken concurrently with the bridge courses. As mentioned, admission conditions may also include taking additional undergraduate or graduate courses, if needed.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 30 credits is required for degree completion. Of these, 21 credits must be obtained by taking seven (7) prescribed Core Courses, which include Biopharmaceutical Engineering (PhB) courses as well as Pharmaceutical Engineering (PhEn) courses. In addition, engineering applicants with little or no biology background, but not biology or pharmacy applicants, may be required to take an additional Foundation Course (PhB 505 - Principles of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biochemistry), which will count toward the 30 credits required to complete the PhB program. The remaining credits needed to achieve the required 30 credits may be obtained by taking either elective courses only or a combination of an elective course and M.S. Thesis credits. As already indicated, applicants with a science background or an engineering degree in a discipline other than chemical engineering may be required to additionally take one or more bridge courses. Bridge courses do not count toward the 30 credits required to complete the program.

The following course curriculum consists solely of NJIT courses offered frequently online. Other courses that pertain to this program may be available online or face to face at NJIT in Newark, NJ, but are not listed here.

Bridge Courses  
PHEN 500 Pharmaceutical Engineering Fundamentals I 1 3
PHEN 501 Pharmaceutical Engineering Fundamentals II 1 3
PHEN 502 Pharmaceutical Engineering Fundamentals III 3
Total Credits 9

PHEN 500 Pharmaceutical Engineering Fundamentals I and PHEN 501 Pharmaceutical Engineering Fundamentals II should be taken concurrently.

Foundation Course  
PHB 505 Principles of Pharm. Microbiology and Biochemistry 3
Core Courses  
PHEN 601 Principles of Pharmaceutical Engineering 3
PHEN 604 Validation and Regulatory Issues in the Pharmaceutical Industry 3
PHEN 603 Pharmaceutical Unit Operations: Processing of Liquid and Dispersed Phase Systems 3
PHEN 618 Principles of Pharmacokinetics and Drug Delivery 3
PHB 610 Biotechnology-Biopharmaceutical, Processes and Products 3
PHB 615 Bioseparation Processes 3
PHB 630 Pharmaceutical Bioprocess Engineering 3
Elective courses 1 6
Total Credits 30

Partial list of approved electives is in Electives table. Electives can be selected from among appropriate courses in disciplines including but not limited to pharmaceutical engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, engineering management, pharmaceutical system management, biomedical engineering, chemistry, biology, mathematics and others. Students are encouraged to choose electives from a variety of offering departments. In general, all technical and scientific courses that are relevant to the program could be selected, typically in consultation with the Program Advisor.

Faculty Advisor: Piero Armenante
Academic Department: Chemical, Biological & Pharmaceutical Engineering