UW Extended Campus to launch two online Master of Science programs in Applied Biotechnology and Information Technology Management

Published: September 19, 2019

SOMERS—UW Extended Campus, in partnership with several University of Wisconsin System campuses, including University of Wisconsin-Parkside, will offer two new online Master of Science degrees in Applied Biotechnology and Information Technology Management, starting in January 2020. Applications are now being accepted for the degree programs, which were recently accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. 

The M.S. in Applied Biotechnology program was specifically designed in collaboration with over a dozen area biotechnology companies to meet the needs of this growing industry. This online degree program aims to arm working adults with the skills and credentials they need to compete in the fast-moving biotechnology industry while continuing to gain experience in the field. The first cohort of students will start in January 2020, and the program is accepting applications now. 

Area employers like Abbott, Abbvie, Illumina, Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene, and Corteva Agriscience have representatives on the steering committee, and this program will continue to develop with their guidance

“We’re thrilled to receive accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission for the Applied Biotechnology and IT Management programs,” said Aaron Brower, Executive Director of University of Wisconsin Extended Campus. “This milestone reinforces our mission of extending high-quality, professional, continuing, and lifelong learning to the people of Wisconsin and beyond.”

The degree programs were designed with input from industry leaders in both the biotechnology and IT fields and each features a rigorous, multidisciplinary curriculum. 

“These new programs demonstrate again how the UW System meets Wisconsin’s needs,” said Ray Cross, President of the University of Wisconsin System. “Students can get degrees in high-demand fields when and how they want to, giving employers access to additional talent.”

The UW Master of Science in Applied Biotechnology will prepare students for a variety of roles within biotechnology, filling a growing need for professionals who grasp the science; understand the industry and diversity of the market; and have the business acumen to help their organizations achieve success.

Students of the Applied Biotechnology degree program will graduate with an understanding of the principles and techniques of biotechnology, in addition to skills in organizational leadership, ethics, intellectual property and patents, communication, product development, quality control, and regulatory and compliance practices. Students will choose one or more specialization tracks: Quality Assurance and Compliance, Business Management, or Research and Development. The master's in Applied Biotechnology will be offered in partnership with UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Whitewater. 

“Biotechnology is booming,” Brower said. “Wisconsin has seen its share of that growth, being the home to 75 biomanufacturing companies and internationally recognized for its leadership in biotech research.”

The UW Master of Science in Information Technology Management balances technical IT coursework with business and managerial topics, teaching core competencies that will help students succeed in advanced IT management and leadership roles. Students will learn business fundamentals such as IT operations, project management, ethics, regulatory compliance, and communication, as well as continue to advance their IT knowledge through coursework in data science, cloud computing, enterprise security, and enterprise applications.

"The Masters of Science degree in IT Management is a very timely degree since many organizations in the Milwaukee-Chicago corridor and worldwide are seeking trained individuals to manage their IT projects," said Dr. Suresh Chalasani, MIS professor at University of Wisconsin-Parkside. "This degree enables working adults and non-traditional students to complete their degree online. The MS in IT Management emphasizes practical work and enables students to gain knowledge on managing technological projects through application-oriented projects." 

Graduates of the program will gain a deeper understanding of IT as an organizational function and be equipped with the skills required to strategize, plan, and lead IT projects in any industry. The master’s in IT Management will be offered in partnership with UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Superior. 

“In Wisconsin, demand for IT managers is above the national average and employers see a shortage of professionals to meet that demand,” said George Kroeninger, Associate Dean, Program Development, of UW Extended Campus. “This online degree program serves to fill that gap and expand educational opportunity for residents of Wisconsin and beyond.” 

Admission to both of the online programs will require a bachelor’s degree with prerequisite coursework. Aptitude tests such as the GMAT and GRE are not required. The programs feature a flat-rate tuition that compares favorably to competing graduate programs. Like other collaborative online University of Wisconsin programs, students will pay the same tuition whether they live in Wisconsin or out of state. 

Graduates of both programs will find a strong career outlook. Job growth in Wisconsin-based bioscience firms has outpaced the national average since 2014, according to the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a leading trade group. Growth also looks promising for IT management. In Wisconsin, the field can expect to see nearly a 7 percent increase (2,100 jobs) between 2018 and 2028, according to Emsi, a top source for labor market analytics. 

“We’re looking forward to admitting the first students of these online master’s programs,” Brower said. “The future is bright for both industries, and we’re proud to play a part in shaping the leaders in these fields.” 

The UW Master of Science degree programs in Applied Biotechnology and IT Management join a growing array of flexible, online, degree, and certificate programs designed for adult learners, and is offered in collaboration with UW Extended Campus and UW System campus partners. 

Prospective students seeking more information about the programs are encouraged to download a degree guide at appliedbiotechnology.wisconsin.edu or itmanagement.wisconsin.edu. To speak with an enrollment adviser, call 1-608-262-2011 or 1-877-895-3276, or email learn@uwex.edu. 

About UW Extended Campus 

The University of Wisconsin System is one of the largest and most widely respected public higher education systems in the country. UW Extended Campus (https://ce.uwex.edu/) partners with all UW System campuses to offer online degrees and certificates, as well as continuing education and lifelong learning opportunities. Through UW Extended Campus, people of Wisconsin and beyond can access university resources and engage in online learning, wherever they live and work—fulfilling the promise of the Wisconsin Idea.


The University of Wisconsin System serves more than 170,000 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, the UW System is Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, putting graduates in position to increase their earning power, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. More than 80 percent of in-state UW System graduates stay in Wisconsin five years after earning a degree. The UW System provides a 23:1 return on state investment. UW System institutions also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy.

Mark Pitsch, UW System

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