UW Bioengineering Professional Master’s and Certificate Programs

Student in Bioengineering optics lab

Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering (PharBE)

The Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering program is an evening degree program designed to enable working local 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.

Take that next step to acquire new skills and experience to gain an edge in your current job, or receive training to transition to a new career. Learn more about applying to the PharBE program.

Students pursuing the Master of Pharmaceutical Bioengineering degree complete a core curriculum (Basic Biosciences), one of two advanced track options (Drug Discovery and Design or Translational Pharmaceutics), and 4 credits of Departmental Seminars. Students also have the option of completing a professional capstone project in Drug Discovery & Design.

Professionals may pursue the PharBE core and advanced track options separately as certificate programs without applying for degree status.

Core Curriculum

Basic Biosciences (20 credits)

Molecular and Cellular Biology I (4 Credits)
Molecular and Cellular Biology II (4 Credits)
Pharmaceutics I (4 Credits)
Pharmaceutics II (4 Credits)
Statistics and Experimental Design (4 Credits)

Departmental Seminar (4 Credits)
The seminar is offered Winter and Spring Quarters at one credit per quarter.

Advanced Track Options

Students pursuing the PharBE degree are required to take 16 credit hours from one of the two advanced track track options. Students must complete 20 credit hours of the core curriculum before enrolling in advanced track courses.

Drug Discovery and Design (16 Credits)

Molecular Biotechnology (4 Credits)
Drug Discovery & Design (4 Credits)
Molecular Targets & Drug Classes (4 Credits)
Systems Biology & Bioinformatics (4 Credits)

Translational Pharmaceutics (16 credits)

Preclinical Development (4 Credits)
Process Development (4 Credits)
Formulation & Delivery (4 Credits)
Clinical Development (4 Credits)

Elective Options

Journal Research Seminar

Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer quarters, 1 credit, online. On-line presentation and discussion of topics related to the medical, clinical and pharmaceutical technology fields in a “Journal Club” format.

Optional Capstone Project
Students have the option of completing a professional capstone project in either the Drug Discovery and Design track.

The capstone project provides an opportunity for students with limited experience in engineering and scientific research settings to hone their skills through development of a professional project, or for experienced students who wish to pursue advanced coursework in an area of particular area of interest. The capstone project is arranged with, and approved by, course faculty at the beginning of the course.

Students write and submit a professional paper and at the conclusion of the course, make a formal presentation of their project to course and departmental faculty, the PHARBE program directors and fellow students.

PharBE Track Descriptions

The Basic Bioscience track:

  • 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 biostatistical concepts essential to the interpretation, evaluation and communication of biomedical research.

Location: Downtown Seattle one night a week and one night a week online

Learn more about Basic Bioscience – UW Professional and Continuing Education

Course Descriptions:

PHARBE 500 - Molecular and Cellular Biology for Pharmaceutical Bioengineering I
Winter Quarter, 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.
PHARBE 501 - Molecular and Cellular Biology for Pharmaceutical Bioengineering II
Spring Quarter, 4 Credits
Prokaryotic and eukaryotic gene structure and regulation, viruses, signaling pathways, RNA, DNA, metagenomics, and systems biology through a case based approach. Student presentations of select research topics are integrated into curriculum to develop critical thinking approaches to the latest developments in the field. Pre-requisite: PHARBE 500 or permission of instructor.
PHARBE 502 - Pharmaceutics I
Autumn Quarter, 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.
PHARBE 503 - Pharmaceutics II
Autumn Quarter, 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.
BIOEN 599 - Statistics and Experimental Design
Spring Quarter, 4 Credits
Biostatistical concepts necessary for the interpretation, evaluation, and communication of biomedical research are introduced. Course topics include an introduction to biostatistics and statistical methods, design of experiment (DOE) as a discipline, and the use of statistics in clinical trial design and analysis.
The Drug Discovery and Design track:

  • Explores the principles and approaches guiding the search for new drugs.
  • Investigates techniques that are used to identify, select and validate molecular and biological drug targets.
  • Examines different classes of drug compounds as well as their mechanisms of action and physical properties.
  • Explains how the dynamic fields of systems biology and bioinformatics impact drug discovery research.

Location: Downtown Seattle one night a week and one night a week online

Learn more about Drug Discovery and Design – UW Professional and Continuing Education

Course Descriptions:

PHARBE 520 - Molecular Biotechnology
Autumn Quarter, 4 Credits
This laboratory-based course emphasizes concepts and the techniques/methodologies used in molecular biotechnologies. The practice-oriented lectures and laboratories cover tissue culture and assays, recombinant DNA methodologies such as DNA isolation, restriction mapping, cloning, site-directed mutagenesis, DNA sequencing, PCR techniques and applications, protein electrophoresis, ELISA analysis, and Western/Southern blotting methodologies.
PHARBE 521 - Drug Discovery and Design
Winter Quarter, 4 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.
PHARBE 522 - Molecular Targets and Drug Classes
Spring Quarter, 4 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.
PHARBE 523 Systems Biology and Bioinformatics
Autumn Quarter, 4 Credits
Bioinformatics is the analytical use of computers to solve biological problems. Systems biology considers the emergent properties of biological processes and structures at a high level of integration. The course surveys methods for ‘omics, protein-folding prediction, phylogenetics, and simulations, making particular use of tools available online. Student presentations are emphasized.
The Translational Pharmaceutics track:

  • Examines the process of how a drug moves from the laboratory to the clinic.
  • Explains the science and techniques behind drug development across the phases of translational pharmaceutics.
  • Explores the principles of pharmacokinetics to test the effectiveness of a drug in laboratory settings, and how clinical trials are designed and managed.
  • Investigates the process of optimizing drug formulation, scaling up manufacturing processes and producing biologics and designer drugs.

Location: Downtown Seattle one night a week and one night a week online

Learn more about Translational Pharmaceutics – UW Professional and Continuing Education

Course Descriptions:

PHARBE 510 - Preclinical Development
Autumn Quarter, 4 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 511 - Process Development
Winter Quarter, 4 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 512 - Formulation and Delivery
Spring Quarter, 4 Credits
Introduction to drug delivery and formulation principles, systems, and applications. Overview of administration routes and associated delivery barriers, connection to drug pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics, and drug diffusion and permeation principles. Current and developmental biomaterials used for formulation and drug delivery systems.
PHARBE 513 Clinical Development
Autumn Quarter, 4 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.

Non-Degree Certificates

Developed in partnership with the UW Professional and Continuing Education, these non-degree online certificate programs are designed for busy adult learners interested in expanding their knowledge and professional skills.

Advising and admissions for the certificate programs are handled by UW Professional and Continuing Education:

Phone: 206-685-8936 or 888-469-6499
E-mail UW PCE Advising

Biosensors and Biomaterials
Explore the chemical and molecular interactions underlying the prevalent use of biomaterials in medical devices and biotechnology. Study biosensors, in use and under development, for measuring and tracking the complex biological components that provide a foundation of modern health care. Learn how to design materials that can mimic biological tissues, be implanted for long periods of time or be engineered to deliver drugs to specific areas of the body.

Learn more about Biosensors and Biomaterials – UW Professional and Continuing Education

Medical Devices and Commercialization
Learn to develop safe and effective medical devices. Study how government oversight, U.S. and international laws, clinical strategies, quality assurance and regulations influence and control the creation and production of medical devices. Gain practical tools and learn strategic methods for successfully commercializing new products. Understand patents, copyrights, U.S. and international laws and regulatory and clinical strategies, including quality assurance and inspection.

Learn more about Medical Devices and Commercialization – UW Professional and Continuing Education