AMB Program Overview

The Microbiology Department offers an accelerated professional M.S. degree program in Applied Molecular Biotechnology (AMB). AMB is a one year program (two semesters and one summer) specifically designed for students interested in careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. AMB combines hands-on laboratory training with lecture-based courses to train students in the latest techniques and concepts of molecular biology and biochemistry. Join this exciting program and let us train you for a career in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries or for advanced graduate studies.

Student Reviews of AMB

  • “The hands on aspect was awesome."
  • "Instructor is enthusiastic and full of knowledge!"
  • "I love how hands on it is good preparation for an actual job."
  • ‘This is an excellent program!!!"
  • "....Makes me feel confident in my ability to work in industry."

AMB Student Success

AMB students have been very successful with more than 90% placement after graduation. They have gone on to Ph.D. programs, medical and professional schools. The majority are currently working at biotech companies or at research institutions in the Boston area. Jobs and internships came through contacts made through networking events and meeting with a biotech mentors.

Admission Requirements

A minimum of a Bachelor's degree from an accredited four year college or university is required for consideration into graduate programs at UMass Amherst. Candidates must have demonstrated successful course work in:

  • Chemistry and Organic Chemistry are required
  • Calculus or Statistics, Biochemistry or Molecular Biology are preferred
  • Cell biology, Genetics or independent research are favored
  • Previous lab experience is valued when applying
  • There is no GRE required for admission

Mission Of the AMB Program

The AMB program is specifically designed for full-time students with a bachelor's degree who are interested in careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. This unique program combines traditional lecture-based courses with an intensive laboratory course (over 50% of the degree requirement) to train students in molecular biology and biochemistry. The curriculum was designed with the biotechnology industry in mind to provide students with a broad knowledge base and the research skills to be competitive for positions in industry or academia.

The capstone of the AMB program is the laboratory course that combines applied research with independent research projects. Research projects stem from faculty research programs in the Microbiology Department and other departments on campus. The university is equipped with state-of-the art research instrumentation. Students will develop critical thinking skills and gain valuable research experience while working on real world problems. To prepare for employment, time is spent on the business of biotech, networking, mentoring, attending career fairs, and visiting biotech companies.

Students are required to complete core courses in molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics (see Program Requirements). Lab modules are designed to give students highly specialized, in-depth training in specific areas of biotechnology. Lab work encompasses PCR cloning, protein expression, cell culture and 3D protein structure.  As part of continued student training, we are collaborating with partners in industry to develop a summer internship program that will provide students with valuable job experience.

Upon successful completion of the AMB program, students will:

  • Learn molecular biology and biochemistry techniques
  • Develop applied research skills in biotechnology
  • Conduct independent research on real world problems
  • Obtain broad knowledge through courses, laboratory, and the scientific literature
  • Develop oral and written communication skills, and data record keeping
  • Gain valuable hands-on experience in problem solving
  • Compete for internship opportunities at biotechnology companies
  • Work in an enthusiastic and supportive environment
  • Develop the skills to be competitive for jobs in industry and academia

Program Requirements

A total of 30 credits are required for a M.S. degree. Below is the newly updated curriculum.

Fall Semester

MICROBIO 681F AMB Laboratory (5 credits)
MICROBIO 557 Advanced Topics in Biotechnology (3 credits)
Elective course 500 or 600 level (3 credits)
MICROBIO 791A Departmental Seminar (1 credit)

Spring Semester

MICROBIO 681S AMB Laboratory (5 credits)
MICROBIO 597D Advanced Topics in Biochemistry (3 credits)
MICROBIO Genetics or Parasitology (3 credits)


MICROBIO 698 AMB Practicum (7 credits)

Contact Information

Information about the application process can be found on the Graduate Program Overview page. For more information about the AMB program, please contact us via email at or refer to the AMB Master's Program frequently asked questions page.

How to Apply

Application material can be obtained from the Graduate School. Prospective students are NOT required to take the GRE. Applications for admission must be received by the Graduate School by December 1. Applications must be sent directly to the Graduate School, not to the Department of Microbiology, and must be accompanied by payment of the application fee. The application will not be processed or forwarded to the Microbiology Department until the payment has been received by the Graduate School. Late applications will be considered, only if space is available.