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

Oct 21, 2019

Essential Information

Managers and leaders in the pharmaceutical, biomedical or biotechnology industries, as well as other life science fields, need technical scientific knowledge and the ability to make informed business decisions. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) program with a concentration in a life sciences discipline gives prospective lab leaders, managers, supervisors and other scientific executives the opportunity to develop industry knowledge. Students can learn about financial management and economics, human resource and personnel management, marketing concepts and advanced scientific topics related to their area of specialization. Specialization options include biotechnology and biosciences.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, preferably in a life science field. Some schools may offer this program as a joint Bachelor of Science/MBA in Life Sciences, in which case students must have a high school diploma or GED and submit SAT or ACT scores. The program may also be offered as a joint MBA/Ph.D. in Life Sciences.

Master of Business Administration: Life Sciences

Since MBA programs with science concentrations are often tailored to a specific life science discipline, the industry-related coursework varies widely. Business classes in these programs often include:

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

Popular Careers

Managers, supervisors, senior researchers, laboratory leaders and other top science professionals often require leadership and management skills, in addition to technical knowledge of a specific scientific field. An individual who holds an MBA with a life sciences focus may be well-suited for one of the following positions:

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

Employment Outlook and Salary reported in September 2019 that the median annual salary for a laboratory manager was $68,823 and $48,966 for a clinical research coordinator. For a research and development manager in pharmaceuticals, the median was $159,835 at that same time.

Continuing Education Information

Once a student earns an MBA in a life science discipline, he or she may wish to continue on to a Ph.D. program. Colleges and universities also offer life science programs that combine scientific fields, such as biochemistry and molecular biology or cell and molecular biology. With a Ph.D., a graduate is usually qualified for a senior-level laboratory position or a teaching position at an academic institution. Post-doctoral fellowships are available for scientists to gain additional experience in research.

Interdisciplinary MBA programs in life sciences integrate scientific and business studies in order to prepare students for executive positions in industries related to biological sciences.

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