The Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Master's degree course is designed to build consecutively on a Bachelor’s degree course in Biotechnology.
It seeks to enhance students’ knowledge of pharmaceutical products and processes in response to industry needs, especially in pharmaceutical production and development. The degree course, which was certified by the accreditation organisation ASIIN in 2015, also develops students’ interdisciplinary research and development skills.
Our department can look back on broad-based experience in the field of bioprocess engineering, including a range of issues in upstream and downstream processing. The degree course in its current form has been running since 2009 and has attained a solid standing in the pharmaceutical industry throughout Germany. The course provides a well-balanced mix of theoretical and specialist modules and gives students the opportunity to complete their Master thesis in an industrial setting. Most of our graduates secure attractive employment in various locations throughout Germany and Europe soon after leaving us. Alternatively, some choose to enter into doctoral research in a related field.
This degree course is primarily aimed at biotechnology graduates wishing to specialise for careers in the pharmaceutical sector or a related industry. If you attained your first degree in a related subject, at a vocational institution or university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule or equivalent), you may be eligible, subject to the approval of your academic course advisor and the appropriate examinations committee, to follow a customised course programme comprising specific subjects and core competencies from the Master’s course and your own previous specialisation.
We regret that if your first degree is in biology, pharmacology, or pharmacy, or in a related subject, you do not qualify to enrol in this Master’s degree course as you will not have taken any prior engineering courses.
The language of instruction and assessment is English, but German is spoken in all laboratories and is the predominant language in use at HAW Hamburg. You will therefore need to provide proof of A2 German with your application.
The first year of the course comprises eight modules, subdivided into lectures, seminars, practical courses and projects, and teaching key skills and interpersonal competencies alongside the academic content.
The Biopharmaceutical Engineering module will enable you to understand and design bioprocesses and to recognise or assess complex sets of circumstances in integrated bioprocesses. The Bioprocess Automation and Process Simulation modules revolve around the automation-related and technological functions of a bioreactor. In these modules, students will learn how to identify model parameters, independently analyse bioprocesses and simulate process guidance strategies with the aid of computer programs.
The Pharmaceutical Technology, Purification Techniques, Cell Culture Systems and Bioanalytics modules follow the typical sequence of development of a new active ingredient in the pharmaceutical industry. In this way, you will learn to recognise the links between the identification, production and administration of active substances, come to understand the meaning of pharmacological parameters, and engage with quality control and quality assurance for developed products. Taking these skills into your future career, you will be able to formulate recommendations on an active ingredient’s use, work in a team to realise these recommendations, and analyse developments or propose improvements.
The Biopharmaceutical Research module, as well as various lectures, address students’ key skills, including individual or group discussion contributions, which you will be able to practise when reporting findings from research projects. Our research seminar aims to recreate the working atmosphere of an authentic research institution.
The course ends with your Master thesis, which enables you to showcase your interdisciplinary competencies in research and development. A period of six months is allowed for completion.
The admission requirements are as follows:
- Bachelor's degree (in a related discipline) qualifying the applicant for a professional career or a comparable course of studies, or a university Diplom degree with 210 credit points
- English language skills as demonstrated in Abitur or Fachhochschul transcripts (see Admissons Policy) or accepted certificates: TOEFL test (at least 87 points, Internet-based); IELTS (minimum: Band 5.5 level); CAE, CPE or FCE (minimum C); or certificates of good performance in foreign countries
- German language skills at A2 level, certified by an acknowledged institution such as the Goethe Institute
- Applicants holding a first academic degree (Bachelor, Diplom, etc.) from non-EU-countries: Graduate Record Examination (GRE); further information is available at www.gre.org
Additional documents to be submitted:
- Statement of motivation
Documents you may submit (optional):
- Letter of recommendation from a university professor
- Proof of particular professional experience
Important note for applicants with 180 credit points (ECTS) for courses which require 210 credit points (ECTS) from the first degree: Applicants whose Bachelor's degree consists of 180 credit points (ECTS) must acquire another 30 credit points during the first semester of their studies. The specific department decides which examinations and courses must be completed. Applicants will then be temporarily admitted and enrolled for one term in order to complete the missing 30 credit points. After the end of the first semester, the department will inform the Student Admissions and Registration Office whether the missing credit points have been acquired and the student may continue his or her studies.
Important note for applicants with 180 credit points (ECTS) who have not completed 20 weeks in an industrial internship during or after their first degree: These applicants can be temporarily admitted and enrolled under the condition that they make up the missing weeks of practical experience within the Master's programme. This will likely prolong the total study time. The details will be determined by the department.
The degree course admits students for the winter and the summer semesters. Application periods: 1 June–15 July (winter semester) and 1 December–15 January (summer semester).
Applications for all Master's courses must be submitted online. The online application system is only activated during the application period. It is not possible to apply outside of the application periods. You can find more information at Applying for a Master's degree course.
Alternatively, you can contact master-application(@)haw-hamburg.de
Applications and admissions:
HAW Master's Degree Course Admissions Office
Stiftstrasse 69, 20099 Hamburg (Berliner Tor Campus)
Tel.: + 49.40.428 75-9898
Drop-in office hours: Monday/Tuesday: 11:00 am–1:00 pm; Thursday: 2:00–5:00 pm
Infothek opening hours: Monday–Thursday: 10:00 am–4:00 pm; Friday: 10:00 am–1:00 pm
Telephone office hours: Moday/Tuesday, 9:00–10:00 am; Thursday: 9:00–11:00 am
Due to the restrictions resulting from the corona pandemic, drop-in office hours are not being offered at the moment. You can reach us by telephone during these times. The Infothek is closed until further notice.
For general queries about degree courses:
Student Counselling Team (Studienberatung)
Stiftstrasse 69, 20099 Hamburg (Berliner Tor Campus)
Tel.: + 49.40.428 75-9110
Advice and information by phone: Monday–Tuesday: 10 am–1 pm; Thursday: 1 pm–5 pm
Contact person for applicants with disabilities or chronic health conditions:
Alexanderstrasse 1, 20099 Hamburg, room 4.10
Tel. +49.40.428 75-7220
Current office hours:www.haw-hamburg.de/inklusion
For questions about the degree course content:
Prof. Dr. Stephan Noll
Ulmenliet 20, room BT 102, 21033 Hamburg, Germany
Tel.: + 49.40.428 75 6351 (during office hours only)
At a glance
Faculty / Department
No. of semesters
Language of instruction
Module compendium (winter semester 2015)
Summer semester: 1 December–15 January
Winter semester: 1 June–15 July
Dates and deadlines
Winter semester 2020/21: 1 September 2020–28 February 2021
Due to the corona crisis, the lecture periods have been changed.
- Bachelor's students in their second semester and higher / Master's students
Lecture period: 12 October 2020–27 February 2021
First day of lectures: 12 October 2020
Last day of lectures: 28 February 2021
- Bachelor's students in their first semester (15 weeks and three additional weeks of digital courses) and students in the Industrial Engineering course * (Bachelor and Master)
Lecture period: 2 November 2020–27 February 2021
First day of lectures: 2 November 2020
Last day of lectures: 27 February 2021
Christmas holidays (no lectures): 21 December 2020–1 January 2021
Summer semester 2021: 1 March 2021–31 August 2021
Lecture period: 22 March 2021–16 July 2021
First day of lectures: 22 March 2021
Last day of lectures: 16 July 2021
Departments: Bt, Mt, Ut and Vt
Semester period 2021: 1 March 2021–31 August 2021
Lecture period: 22 March 2021–26 June 2021
1st half of the semester (E): 22 March 2021–8 May 2021
2nd half of the semester (Z): 10 May 2021–26 June 2021
Examination period: 28 June 2021–16 July 2021
Semester period 2021: 1 March 2021–31 August 2021
Lecture period: 22 March 2021 – 2 July 2021
1st half of the semester (E): 22 March 2021–7 May 2021
2nd half of the semester (Z): 10 May 2021–2 July 2021
Examination period: 5 July 2021–16 July 2021
Semester period 2021: 1 March 2021 - 31 August 2021
Master HS 22 March 2021 - 2 July 2021
Examination period: 5 July 2021 - 16 July 2021
Variations from the above schedules are listed in the plans of the individual courses. The times from the Department of HWI (see below) apply to teacher training.
Department of HWI
Semester period 2020: 1 April 2021–30 September 2021
Lecture period: 5 April 2021–10 July 2021
Pentecost holidays (no lectures): was cancelled
1st quarter: 8:30 am–10:00 am
2nd quarter: 10:15 am–11:45 am
3rd quarter: 12:30 pm–2:00 pm
4th quarter: 2:30 pm–4:00 pm
5th quarter: 4:15 pm–5:45 pm
6th quarter: 6:00 pm–7:30 pm
7th quarter: 7:45 pm–9:15 pm
To re-register for the new semester, please pay the semester contribution by bank transfer within the re-registration period. Please do not pay before the start of the re-registration period as the final amount will not be determined before this period begins.
Winter semester: 1 June–15 August
Summer semester: 1 December–15 February
The semester contribution must be in the HAW Hamburg account by the last day of the re-registration period at the latest!
Important: Late re-registration can result in involuntary deregistration from the university. Subsequent re-registration is only possible within the appeals period. Regardless of whether or not deregistration takes place, an additional administrative fee will be charged for late re-registration.
If you are financially unable to pay the semester contribution, you may contact the Students' Union (AStA). In warranted cases it can provide you with a loan.
As soon as the semester contribution is credited to the HAW Hamburg account you can update your chip card, and with it your semester ticket for the public transport system. To do so, you must insert the chip card in a validation station.
Your future career
The numerous applications of biotechnological processes and products give rise to a wide range of applications for biotechnologists. Typical fields of activity for biotechnology engineers are:
- Development, optimisation and routine operation of biotechnological processes on a laboratory, pilot plant and production scale
- Development, testing and characterisation of biotechnological apparatus and plants
- Marketing and sales of accessories, devices, consumables, and also entire plants in the broader bio and genetic technology market segment
- Development of new therapeutics through the use of platform technologies (e.g. high throughput screening, HTS) and bioinformatics
- Development, production and packaging of immunological and molecular biological test reagents and test kits
- Manufacture of drugs with bacteria, yeast and animal cells in bioreactors
- Process automation and data acquisition
- Processing, purification and analysis of biotechnological products
- Modification of relevant properties of plants using biotechnological methods
- Typical activities in production: raw material extraction, raw material processing, analysis, formulation of preparations for the end product, product safety, drug approvals, filling, labeling, product finalisation, logistics, quality control, quality assurance, qualification of plants
- Biotechnological process disposal, waste processing and disposal, soil remediation, exhaust air purification, drinking water treatment
- Analytical and diagnostic services in the medical/pharmaceutical sector
- Job opportunities with authorities (e.g. environmental protection and healthcare) and freelance work (patenting, business consulting and business start-ups)
- Project management for genetic engineering work or representatives for the biological safety of bio and genetic engineering plants
With a Master's degree, graduates can also access demanding jobs in the international realm and have improved perspectives for careers in management.