Gain a competitive edge, advance your career

The Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering program (PharBE) is an online degree program designed to enable working engineers, scientists, researchers and professionals in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and related industries to explore advanced education in the areas of molecular and cellular biology, drug discovery and design, pharmaceutics and translational pharmaceutics. The program provides a path to acquire new skills and experience and gain an edge in your current job, or receive training to transition to a new career in the biotechnology or pharmaceutical industry.

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“My job is one of the biggest things I gained from the program,” – “It helped me to transition to what I was looking for, which is a job related to clinical trials.” Arisa Cale, PharBE ’19

Kristen Fetchko PharBE 2020

“Companies seemed excited to learn that because I know the full process of drug development, I can ask the right questions and be efficient and effective in my role,” – Kristen Fetchko, PharBE ’20

Joyce Chan PharBE alumna

“I got a lot of face-to-face time with the professors and other students, and because of the small size, I felt that I got a lot more interaction out of it even than undergrad programs that are in-person.”  Joyce Chan Pharbe ’19

“Most programs, at least for master’s, are very rare in terms of the breadth that the UW PharBE program offered, from clinical to commercial to process development,”- Jeffrey Chu, PharBE ’20

Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering

Basic Bioscience Block

This block is also a UW Professional and Continuing Education Certificate Program.

  • Investigates the core disciplines involved in drug design, discovery and development.
  • Examines the fundamental molecular processes in organisms and the molecular structure-function relationship.
  • Explains how the pharmaceutical industry is structured and how a new drug is developed and brought to market.
  • Provides the necessary foundation for understanding the physiological states related to health and disease.

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Course Descriptions:

Autumn Quarter PHARBE 500 – Molecular and Cellular Biology for Pharmaceutical Bioengineering I, 4 Credits
Fundamental molecular processes that occur in living organizations. Structure and organization of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Molecular basis of cellular structure and behaviors of cell membranes, environmental sensing and motility, signaling pathways and differentiation are studied. Use of online literature/media resources and bioinformatics tools are integrated into course.
Winter Quarter PHARBE 504 – Pathophysiology for Pharmaceutical Bioengineering, 4 Credits
Introduction to human anatomy, physiology, molecular biology and cell biology of major organ systems. Emphasis on the structural, molecular and cellular mechanisms of common pathological conditions (pathophysiology). Additional emphasis on pharmaceutics development for common pathologic states. Students will understand the basics of normal and aberrant human physiology.
Spring Quarter PHARBE 502 – Pharmaceutics I, 4 Credits
Covers the drug development process for both small molecules and biological form discovery stage through the end of phase 1. Addresses the science, logistics, and regulatory environment of preclinical (pharmacology, PKDM, toxicology, CMC) and early clinical development.
Summer Quarter PHARBE 503 – Pharmaceutics II, 4 Credits
Phases II and III of the drug development process, including clinical study design, safety, pharmacology and statistics. An overview of preparation and filing of the New Drug Application (NDA). Prerequisite: PHARBE 502 or permission of instructor.
PHARBE 521 – Drug Discovery and Design

Autumn Quarter, 5 Credits

General principles and current approaches involved in modern drug discovery and development. Specific aspects of human biology and disease, case studies in discovery, and the evolution of how these topics have merged. Novel drug discovery techniques and emerging non-standard therapeutics and the history of drugs and drug discovery.

OR PHARBE 510 – Applied Pharmacokinetics

Autumn Quarter, 5 Credits

Basic principles of pharmacokinetics and their application to the clinical setting, including: single-dose intravenous and oral kinetics, multiple dosing, nonlinear pharmacokinetics, metabolite kinetics, pharmacogenetics, and the role of disease in drug clearance and dose requirements, and kinetics of drug-drug interactions.

PHARBE 522 – Molecular Targets and Drug Classes

Winter Quarter, 5 Credits

Discussion of select medicinal compounds, emphasizing mechanism of action, biotransformation and structural and physical properties governing absorption, distribution, and excretion. Design of therapeutics to focus on maximizing efficacy while reducing toxicities. Compounds may include classical organic small-molecules, peptides, proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates and other bioactive chemical classes.

OR PHARBE 511 – Process Development

Winter Quarter, 5 Credits

Principles involved in designing and optimizing production processes for protein therapeutics. Technologies and methods used in the production of protein therapeutics and discussion of the interdependence of upstream, downstream, analytical, formulation and drug delivery technologies.

PHARBE 513 – Clinical Development

2nd year – Spring Quarter, 6 Credits

Evaluates clinical development strategies including comprehensive drug candidate life cycle plan. Covers clinical trial design, FDA and Institutional Review Boards, ethics, consents, safety, and quality. Discusses target product profiles, phase III study synopses, informed consents, and SWOT analyses. Students present phase II results and debate go no go decisions. Includes a capstone project to create a life-cycle management plan for a drug.

Most quarters students will also take seminars

1st year – Winter BIOEN 509 Departmental Seminar Series
1st year Spring BIOEN 509 Departmental Seminar Series
1st year Summer No Seminar
2nd year autumn PHARBE Seminar
2nd year Winter BIOEN 509 Departmental Seminar Series
2nd year Spring BIOEN 509 Departmental Seminar Series

Apply to UW Bioengineering’s Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering (PharBE) program

The PharBE has flexible options for candidates to apply to and enter the program, including priority and space-available admission.