Master of Engineering in Pharmaceutical Engineering

The Master of Engineering in Pharmaceutical Engineering Program is currently under review and revision by the College of Engineering. It is currently closed to new students. If you would like to be notified in the event that the application is re-opened, please complete this inquiry form.

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Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Science Concentration

Program Overview

Biopharmaceuticals including biotech drugs and vaccines represent an emerging frontier for both existing and new therapeutic agents. They often tend to be complex and more expensive and present unique manufacturing, distribution, storage, and handling challenges.

Even though biopharmaceuticals currently represent less than 20% of prescription drug spending, they are expected to grow as more biotechnology and genomic drugs becoming available. Today's estimates show that between 600 and 800 biotech drugs are currently in various stages of research and development with 150 in the final stages of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process. These biopharmaceuticals are most commonly used to treat anemia/neutropenia, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and multiple sclerosis, with an annual per-patient cost ranging from $10,000 to $250,000. Many have or will reach blockbuster status.

Many opportunities are available for developmental scientists, engineers, and managers who understand bioprocess development, regulatory affairs, and targeted formulation as well as scientific computing, database and information management, and automation skills. These new professionals will use their knowledge throughout biopharmaceutical product and process design, development, and eventual manufacturing and distribution of the atypical pharmaceuticals and novel biomedical combination products.

To thrive in this new environment, an understanding of the rapid changes in global, social, regulatory, legal and business spheres is critical in addition to the technical issues mentioned above.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Engineering in Pharmaceutical Engineering requires a total of 30 credit hours of course work, of which at least 24 credit hours must be graded (not satisfactory or unsatisfactory), and at least 18 graded credit hours must be in courses at the 500 level and above. A minimum grade point average of 5.0/9.0 (i.e., a "B" average) is also required. Each entering student will be assigned to a faculty advisor and must obtain the advisor's approval for the overall program of study and semester courses. Each student is allowed to take up to 6 credit hours on an assigned industrial research project to satisfy the degree requirement. Besides several required core courses (ChE/Pharm 519 and 597), the student can elect the remaining courses according to individual interest within the concentration framework as described in the sample schedule below.


  • Bachelor's degree in engineering or related science discipline.
  • Two years of college mathematics or equivalent.
  • Undergraduate coursework in the following areas: thermodynamics; reaction kinetics, and transport phenomena. Students without this background will be required to take additional coursework in these areas before embarking on the degree program.
  • The equivalent of two years of full time industrial experience in pharmaceutical and related industries. Students with outstanding qualifications who do not have two years of industrial experience can be considered for admission if they have relevant summer internship or co-op experience.
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for all students who have not previously earned a degree from the University of Michigan. (Students seeking financial aid must submit GRE scores).

Sample Schedule

Incoming students must obtain approval from their faculty advisor for the planned M. Eng. in Pharmaceutical Engineering degree courses selected. A faculty advisor will be assigned to the student upon admission. Up to 6 credit hours of research based on a capstone project that utilize the student's knowledge and apply it to an industrially relevant problem. The project must receive prior approval by the student's advisor.

Course offerings are subject to change. Check University course listings for details.

1. Pharmaceutical Engineering Core Courses (15 credit hours)
Course NumberCreditsTermTitle
ChE/Pharm 519 DL 3 F Modern Pharmaceutical Engineering
ChE/Pharm 597 DL 2 F Regulatory Science for Scientists, Engineers and Managers
ChE 520 2 alt. W Applied Pharmacokinetics and Toxicokinetics
ChE 517 DL 3 alt. F Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Science
Bus 509 2.25 F Intellectual Property Law
Stat 570 3 F/W Design of Experiments
IOE 461 3 F Quality Engineering
2. Pharmaceutical Engineering Practical Training or Research
(3 credit hours)
Course NumberCreditsTermTitle
PharmSci 570 3 F/W Research
ChE 695 3 F/W Research Problems
Eng 600 3 F/W Industrial Practicum
3. Advanced Engineering and Science Cores (6 credit hours)
Each distance learning and on campus student must take at least one advanced engineering course and one advanced pharmaceutical science course from the following list. Only selected courses are currently available in distance learning mode.
Course NumberCreditsTermTitle
ChE 527 3 F Fluid Flow
ChE 528 DL 3 F Chemical Reactor Engineering
ChE 538 3 W Statistical and Irreversible Thermodynamics
ChE 542 3 F Intermediate Transport Phenomena
Pharm 757 3 alt. W Transport Phenomena in Pharmaceutical Systems
Pharm 734 2 alt. W Pharmacogenomics
Pharm 762 2 alt. F Fundamentals of Drug Delivery
Pharm 763 2 alt. F Cellular and Molecular Approaches to Drug Delivery
4. Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Science
(at least 3 credit hours)
Course NumberCreditsTermTitle
CDB 530 3 F Cell Biology
Micro 504 3 W Cellular Biotechnology
ChE 417 3 alt W Biochemical Engineering
ChE 696 3 W Synthetic and Systems Biology
Bioinf 526 3 F Fundamentals of Bioinformatics
MSE 410 4 F Biomaterials
ChE/BME 584 3 F Tissue Engineering
ChE 696 3 alt W Biomolecular Engineering
BME 561 3 W Bio- Micro- and Nanotechnology
Immuno 440 3 W Immunology

DL Distance Learning Course

A list of approved technical electives in distance learning mode from other universities is available and can be used to fulfill this requirement. For each student, a maximum of 9 credit course may be taken and transferred from other accredited institutions subject to prior approval of the U-M faculty advisor and the Program Director.