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Degree Overview: Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree in Life Sciences

Majors Overview May 20, 2015

Get information about Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree programs in Life Sciences and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) Programs in Life Sciences

MBA degree programs in Life Sciences are devised to impart the decision-making skills and technical, scientific knowledge needed by leaders and managers in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, or biomedical industries, and other life science fields. Schools may offer an MBA program with a concentration in the life sciences discipline as a combined MBA/Ph.D, a stand-alone MBA program, or a joint Bachelor of Science/MBA. Prospective supervisors, managers, lab leaders and other scientific executives get the opportunity of developing industry knowledge. Schools may offer concentration options in biosciences, biotechnology or life science.

These programs teach students the management strategies, leadership and business concepts applicable in various scientific industry positions, including in research and development laboratories. Students are taught about advanced scientific topics, marketing concepts, personnel and human resource management, and financial management and economics, related to their area of specialization.

Education Requirements

As life science and business experience are both in this type of MBA program, it attracts applicants from various education backgrounds. Some may hold extensive professional experience in a scientific industry; others may prefer immediate application to an MBA program after completion of undergraduate degrees. Program applicants are however expected at least to have a bachelor’s degree in a field of life science, such as biology.


The industry-related coursework varies due to MBA programs with science concentrations being tailored to specific life science disciplines. Core coursework often includes topic areas such as:

•Organizational behavior
•Marketing management
•Information and technology
•Business ethics and law
•Corporate finance

Career Choices

Apart from technical knowledge of a specific scientific field, management and leadership skills are often required by top science professionals, such as laboratory leaders, senior researchers, supervisors, and managers. They may choose from popular job positions such as:

•Research and development director
•Laboratory supervisor
•Clinical research coordinator

Wage Outlook

In December 2013, laboratory supervisors brought in an average annual wage of $61,547. Clinical research coordinators earned $44,926 on average per annum. Research and development directors in pharmaceuticals banked an average annual wage of $142,431.

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates may seek continued education by earning a Ph.D. in Life Science programs that combine scientific fields, such as cell and molecular biology, or molecular biology and biochemistry. A doctoral degree can arm graduates to seek teaching jobs or senior-level laboratory positions. Scientists who seek additional experience in research can opt for post-doctorate fellowships.

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