Master's Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering - Biotechnology

The Master’s Programme in Biotechnology provides a strong multidisciplinary knowledge-base in biotechnology and bioengineering, and the tools for applying it in research and business environment. Biotechnology is gaining importance in our everyday lives and its impact on solving societal problems related to the environment, global warming and health are undeniable. Biotechnology is an enabling technology that ranges from the design of new biopharmaceuticals and production of novel biosynthetic materials and biochemicals to the use of cutting-edge synthetic biology concepts. Bioprocess development and modelling is an integral part of modern biotechnology.
Biotechnology laboratory
Picture of a laboratory in School of Chemical Technology




2.12.2019 – 3.1.2020




2 år, heltidsstudier


Lämplig lägre högskoleexamen


Det tekniska utbildningsområdet


120 studiepoäng


Högskolan för kemiteknik


€15000/år (magister studier) för studeranden från länder utanför EU/EES

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Objectives of studies

In addition to the fundamentals of biotechnology, the study option emphasizes its engineering and technological aspects. This allows multiple opportunities to apply the acquired skills during practical courses and in real-life problems in industry. Biotechnology graduates have:

  • Multidisciplinary knowledge in biotechnology. Graduates understand both the fundamentals as well as the engineering and technological aspects of biotechnology and easily collaborate with many allied sections of science.

  • Strong hands-on experience. Graduates are able to use key laboratory methods and techniques to apply these tools for the development of biotechnological processes.

  • Analysis and simulation skills. Graduates can carry out quantifications, modelling and analysis on micro- and macromolecular-levels in research and commercial  environment.

  • Co-working abilities. Graduates are goal-oriented and systematic, yet responsible professionals who collaborate fluently with experts of different fields and cultures.

  • Communications skills. Graduates express themselves clearly and unambiguously both orally and in writing, tailoring their communications to the target audience.

Upon graduation from the Biotechnology study option, graduates have an in-depth knowledge of molecular-level biological phenomena, their behaviour and application, as well as the key methodologies of bioprocess, genetic engineering and synthetic biology.

Structure of studies

Master's Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering – Biotechnology is organised by the School of Chemical Engineering and comprises a total of 120 ECTS credits. The two-year programme consists of:

Major studies (65 ECTS)

Master’s thesis (30 ECTS)

Elective studies (25 ECTS)

Biotechnology is one of the study options listed under the larger theme of Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering. The study option is chosen at the application stage. Students should have completed 40-45 ECTS out of their major studies before they are recommended to start their master’s thesis.

Master's thesis is a research assignment with a workload corresponding to 30 ECTS credits. Master's theses are typically performed in cooperation with the industry or in the research project(s) of the department(s).

You can find more information about major dependent studies and the degree on Into pages.

At the beginning of their studies, students define their Personal Study Plans (PSP) together with an academic advisor. The primary meaning of PSP is to ensure that the studies support the student’s interests and are completed in a logical order.

Biotechnology laboratory 2

Content of studies

Studies in the Biotechnology study option promote real-life problems from fundamental research or industries to students. Some courses also utilise a problem-based learning approach wherein students are encouraged to find a solution through trials. The teaching and learning methods emphasise the importance of presentation and communications skills through interactive teamwork, seminars, project work and laboratory courses. To ensure a hands-on experience with biotechnology tools, every student must take at least three laboratory courses that are seamlessly integrated with our research facilities.

At the core of teaching are biotechnologically important microorganisms and enzymes, other biomaterials and their properties, as well as their applications in products and processes. Here are a select few examples from  the wide course selection:

  • Metabolism (5 ECTS)

  • Biophysical Chemistry (5 ECTS)

  • Bioprocess Technology (5 ECTS)

  • Cell Factory (5 ECTS)

  • Synthetic Biology (5 ECTS)

  • Various laboratory courses

See all courses

Language of instruction

English. Possibility to complete some courses in Finnish/Swedish.

Post-graduate study options

Eligibility for doctoral studies.

Tuition fee and scholarship

Non-EU/EEA students selected to the study option will be charged a tuition fee of €15000 per academic year. They are eligible to apply for scholarships awarded from the Aalto University Scholarship programme. Further information is available on Scholarships and Tuition Fees page (aalto.fi).

International opportunities

The study environment in the study option is strongly international and studies are conducted in multicultural groups. Many professors and researchers working in biotechnology have international backgrounds and experience, bringing the global network close to students. In addition, departments are engaged in academic cooperation with high quality international universities and organisations. As a result, many students choose to complete part of their degree abroad, for example, at one of the many top-tier partner universities as an exchange student. Some students carry out their internships or even master’s thesis research abroad.

Aalto University is international by nature, welcoming thousands of degree and exchange students from abroad each year. These students join the diverse Aalto community not only through studies, but also multiple free time events, activities and celebrations around the campus. Programme administrators, active student tutors and student support services work rigorously to help international students integrate into Nordic culture and welcome them at home in Finland.

Multidisciplinary opportunities

Students can freely select their elective courses from other majors of Aalto University, or even other universities. To help plan their studies, students are assigned an academic advisor who guides in choosing courses and minors in the fields that the student finds interesting. For example, some students blend chemistry and arts in the multidisciplinary Chemarts minor.

Aalto University is well-known for bridging disciplines of business, arts, technology and science. The lively campus and freedom to choose elective courses across the university bring students from different fields under one roof. This spontaneous multidisciplinary environment sparks new ideas, gathers enthusiasts around them and gives birth to friendships, networks, and every so often, startups.

You can include multidisciplinary studies to your degree by choosing courses from fields of arts and business within Aalto University. You can even take courses from other Finnish universities via The Flexible Study Right Agreement (JOO).

Career opportunities

The study option stands out with its close collaboration with industry, specifically in the form of real-life assignments and projects. Many industry collaborators also give lectures in various courses. Furthermore, field trips and excursions to companies and research institutes in the field provide new perspectives to learning. This keeps the alumni-student relations strong, forming a tight network that is welcoming of students, resulting in a high employment rate of fresh graduates. Most graduates begin to follow three typical career paths, ending up as either academically-oriented researchers, industry experts or entrepreneurs. Most of our students get the opportunity to write their master’s thesis at a company or in research institutes both within and outside Finland.

Aalto University has well-established career services through which you can get employed in Finland and abroad. Aalto students tend to find good positions with ease upon their graduation. An active entrepreneurship community is also present at Aalto, which can help as a springboard for founding your company. Finally, if an academic career is of interest, the Master's Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering – Biotechnology is a great foundation for doctoral studies and post-doc positions.

Biotechnology laboratory

Learning outcomes

After graduating from the major Biotechnology, you can:

  • Perform molecular-level control, regulation and modeling of metabolic pathways and enzymatic reactions in many different types of prokaryotic (microbial) and eukaryotic (plant and animal cells) and natural raw materials.
  • Analyze of the structure and function of biological macromolecules and perform genetic modification of different kinds of cells and make alternatives that can be used in novel applications such as synthetic biology
  • Use engineering approaches (bioreactors, bioprocesses) for protein modifications in different types of cells which affects secretion, signaling and control of biochemical pathways, which have relevance in applications e.g. biomedicine, food, and sustainable development
  • Quantify and model industrially important producer organisms and raw materials in bioreactors and suggest process developments in the Research and Development including generation of commercially interesting compound and innovations
  • Contribute to the research and advancement of highly specialized technologies such as synthetic biology, biomaterials science, cell and tissue engineering in a framework of ethical guidelines and professional standards

School of Chemical Engineering

Major Biotechnology is a part of the Master's Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering at the School of Chemical Engineering. The School of Chemical Engineering combines natural sciences and engineering in a unique way. This allows the results of our research to be refined a long way and put into practice as ready products and processes. Each innovation secures both our renewable and non-renewable natural resources for the future.


Programme-specific admission requirements

Applicants to the programme must first meet the general eligibility and language requirements that are common to all Master's programmes in Science and Technology.

The following principles apply during the academic evaluation of eligible applications. These principles are revised annually.

The student selection process is competitive. The applicant’s suitability for the programme is evaluated. The best applicants are granted admission to the programme. The selection of students is primarily based on the application documents. Not all eligible applicants will necessarily be admitted, CHEM Master’s programme does not have a minimum quota to be fulfilled.

The programmes reserve the right to interview the applicants if it is necessary to clarify the applicant’s motivation or other information in the application.

Biotechnology specific criteria for academic evaluation

1. Content of the previous degree

B.Sc or equivalent degree of a relevant field in the natural sciences or engineering (for example biotechnology, bioengineering life sciences, bioinformatics, biomaterials, food science / technology,  biomedical, chemistry, physics etc.) with a GPA average equivalent to a minimum of 3.0 (on scale of 5.0). Students with a B.Sc. degree in economics or business/industrial management may be considered if the degree also contain relevant studies in the biosciences.

This Master’s programme should provide genuinely new knowledge and enhance the career prospects of the applicant. Thus, applicants who already have a Master’s degree in the closely related field will only be accepted onto the programme for very specific reasons.  These reasons must be stated in the application.

2. Study success

The applicant's success in previous studies (those that give basis for applying into the programme) will be evaluated based on the grade point average (GPA) and results in key courses. Preference is given to students with a GPA average equivalent to minimum of 3.0 (on a scale 5.0 max).

The time taken to complete previous studies will also be taken into account. Applicants, who have previously studied at Aalto University, e.g. as exchange students, will also be evaluated according to the grades in those studies and the number of credits obtained in comparison to the time taken for completion.

3. Recognition and quality of the home university

The applicant's previous degree will be evaluated based on the recognition and quality of the university.

4. Motivation and commitment

The applicant must demonstrate genuine motivation (motivation letter, max. 1 page) to study the chosen field and be committed to full-time studies with a plan to complete the Master's degree in two years’ time. The applicant is asked to inform if applicant has a study right to another master or doctoral programme.

5. Language proficiency

The studies are conducted fully in English. The applicant must meet the mandatory language requirements of Aalto University. Student must be able to demonstrate that he/she is able to effectively use English as a working language.

6. Recommendation letter

Max. two recommendation letters can be attached to the application. Recommendation letter should be in English written by professor. It can be original letter or certified copy of it.

7. Other relevant achievements

The applicant's other relevant achievements may be considered if documented in the application.

These can be, for example:

  • experience of work in the field of the programme
  • participation in scientific research which has led to publications, posters
  • for applicants whose Bachelor's degree is from a Finnish university of applied sciences, prior completion of required complementary studies with good grades (transcript required)
  • other previous studies (transcript required)

Complementary studies

Students admitted to the Master's Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering may be required to take complementary studies, max 20 credits. Complementary studies may not be included in the degree of Master of Science (Tech).

The content and number of the complementary courses depend on your previous studies. The complementary studies will be set latest in September.

Biotechnology specific criteria for academic evaluation

Complementary studies

Students admitted to the Master's Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering may be required to take complementary studies, max 20 credits. Complementary studies may not be included in the degree of Master of Science (Tech).

The content and number of the complementary courses depend on your previous studies. The complementary studies will be set latest in September.

Contact information

For enquiries regarding the application process, application documents and language tests, please contact [email protected]

For enquiries regarding the content of programme and studies at the School of Chemical Engineering, please contact Learning Services of Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering, [email protected]

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