Master of Science in Biotechnology Program, UW-Madison

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No better time for biotech than 2018.

Discover Alumni Success Stories

Written by Bryan Husk: January 9, 2018
Updated: July 19, 2018

Madison's 2018 biotechnology job market boom holds steady as local biotech companies continue efforts to recruit and retain talented employees.

Biotechnology companies in Madison, Wisconsin and surrounding Dane County have experienced staggering growth since 2015, and there is little sign of a slow down in the year ahead. A sampling of eighteen of the largest local biotech companies revealed 451 job openings in January 2018 and 397 openings six months later (see table below).

A significant number of local biotechnology companies like Catalent, Cellular Dynamics, Exact Sciences, Illumina, PPD and Promega have opened or broken ground on new and expanded facilities to meet extraordinary demand for their products [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9]. Conversations with area biotech leaders suggest these growing companies are prepared to open hundreds of additional new positions as new facilities and expanded operations come online.

Whether you are an entry-level bench scientist or a senior executive, this surge in growth and employment presents a rare career opportunity.

How Might This Effect You?

If you are biotechnology professionals in Madison:

Apply to the M.S. in Biotechnology program to help accelerate your career potential. Most all M.S. in Biotechnology graduate students work full time while obtaining their degree. Reach out to your mentors and discuss how your goals fit within your company's strategic plans. Work with them to gain company support so that you can achieve educational and employment success. Don't forget to use the opportunity to learn about possible tuition reimbursement assistance.

If you are considering relocating to Madison:

The biotechnology community is always looking for talent. Qualified applicants to the M.S. in Biotechnology program are very likely to find full-time employment within the local biotechnology market. Use both experiences to learn and apply your talent in the Madison area.

If you have an interest in biotechnology:

You have probably already thought about working in the biotechnology industry. Now is the ideal time to make that career leap. Get invaluable work experience and consider applying to the M.S. in Biotechnology graduate degree program.

There has never been a better time to look for a job in Madison's biotechnology industry.

Madison Biotechnology Company Career pages: (not comprehensive)

Madison Biotechnology Company # Openings

# Openings
# Change
BioForward Wisconsin Career Center (multiple) (multiple) ---
Accuray 24 openings 15 openings -9
Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals 7 openings 7 openings 0
Catalent 57 openings 31 openings -26
Cellular Dynamics Incorporated 26 openings 14 openings -12
Covance 59 openings 57 openings -2
DNAStar ~8 openings ~8 openings 0
Exact Sciences 81 openings 77 openings -4
Illumina 8 openings 10 openings +2
Lucigen 4 openings 4 openings 0
Luminex 4 openings 4 openings 0
MilliporeSigma 12 openings 9 openings -3
PPD 64 openings 98 openings +34
Promega Corporation 50 openings 47 openings -3
Roche Sequencing Solutions 5 openings closing ---
Scientific Protein Laboratories 7 openings 12 openings +5
Stratatech (Mallinckrodt Pharma) NA 2 +2
Thermo Fisher Scientific 35 openings 11 openings -24
Total Job Openings 451 openings 406 openings  

A great example of Madison's biotech hiring surge is at Catalent's biomanufacturing facility in Madison [8]. Catalent's Madison operation boasts a new 100,000 sq/ft cGMP manufacturing space designed for cell line engineering and clinical biomanufacturing. They specialize in developing and manufacturing biologics for clients using a broad range of integrated formulation and analytical services. For much of 2017, there have been as many as 60 job openings at Catalent any given moment, and the company anticipates 100 more available positions in 2018.

Not surprisingly, a number of recent M.S. in Biotechnology graduates were hired at Catalent this past year, some of whom are reporting to other program alumni already excelling within Catalent as supervising managers or directors. At last check, there were at least 14 students or alumni employed at Catalent.

PPD has grown to the 9th largest employer in Dane County.

Middleton's PPD also has shown a recent jump in job openings since January when there were already 64 job openings. Now in July there are nearly 100 job listings on their career web site. PPD has shown consistent growth over the past two decades. When the M.S. in Biotechnology Program launched in 2002, PPD was a small westside company of around 100 employees. Continuous expansion has placed PPD among the top employers in Dane County, with 950 employees in 2016, 1,300 employees in 2017 and 1,500 employees expected by the end of 2018 [1].

There has never been a more favorable hiring climate for those interested in working in Madison's biotechnology industry. As local biotech companies continue their rapid growth, they are under increasing pressure and competition to locate, hire and retain talented workers with the cross-functional skills and specialized knowledge highly sought after in the biotech industry.

Biotechnology companies sometimes offer tuition reimbursement to attract and retain talented employees.

Companies are finding and keeping their most talented employees by supporting their career development through education in advanced degree programs likes the M.S. in Biotechnology from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Consistent with this corporate strategy, most students in the M.S. in Biotechnology Program working full time receive tuition support from their employer for at least a portion of their tuition, if not the total cost.

Since the degree was launched in 2002, biotechnology companies have recognized the value of the program's industry-focused curriculum. Corporate leaders with employees in the program praise students who can apply functional knowledge of business, legal and regulatory frameworks toward their company's push to development, manufacture and commercialize new biotechnology products.

Apply now for Fall 2018.

All economic indicators suggest that 2018 will be another record-setting year for Madison's regional biotechnology industry. Make this the year you grow your career in the field that is transforming the world and apply for Fall 2019 admission to the Master of Science in Biotechnology Program at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

Questions about applying?
Contact Bryan

Bryan Husk
Assistant Director
Phone: (608) 265-0773
Contact Bryan Husk, Assistant Director, M.S. in Biotechnology Program, UW-Madison





Cited Press Releases

[1] "PPD boosts biopharma in the Madison area," Wisconsin State Journal, June 2, 2018.

[2] "Promega Corp.'s $190 million R&D center to be architecturally unique," Wisconsin State Journal, July 15, 2018.

[3] "New $60 million corporate headquarters is proposed for Exact Sciences," Wisconsin State Journal, June 16, 2018.

[4] "Exact Sciences unveils more building plans at former Spectrum Brands site," Wisconsin State Journal, December 23, 2107.

[5] "Illumina expands its Madison production facility," Wisconsin State Journal, June 11, 2015.

[6] "Illumina construction," University Research Park, May 4, 2017.

[7] "Promega's newest building, the Kepler Center, opens for business," Wisconsin State Journal, November 29, 2015.

[8] "Catalent Biologics to expand Madison operations, add 100 jobs," Wisconsin State Journal, October 22, 2016.

[9] "Stem cell company Cellular Dynamics expands and relocates new headquarters,", January 3, 2017.


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Master of Science in Biotechnology Program
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Established in 2002, the Master of Science in Biotechnology at UW-Madison is a two-year cross-disciplinary program for scientists, technical professionals, business strategists and attorneys seeking to advance their career in the biotechnology field without having to put their career on hold. The hands-on curriculum focuses on the development and commercialization of new technologies and provides a diverse mix of science, business, bioethics, public policy, law and intellectual property. Students are instructed by some of the best academics, professionals and lawyers in the biotechnology field.

Alumni Map

Above: Employment map of M.S. in Biotech alumni in surrounding Madison, WI.


Explore the global employment map showing where M.S. in Biotechnology Program alumni are working everywhere.







Wisconsin's Biotechnology and
Digital Health Industry Advocacy Group:
BioForward Wisconsin





Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals

Catalent Biologics

Cellular Dynamics International, a FUJIFILM company



Exact Sciences Corporation






Promega Corporation


Scientific Protein Laboratories

Thermo Fisher Scientific