Announcing the new MS in Pharmaceutical Engineering at Northeastern University

The College of Engineering and Bouve College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University are offering a new Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Engineering.

Both colleges began to recognize the growing need in the pharmaceutical sector for people that have both an engineering background as well as understand the regulatory environment of the pharmaceutical industry.

“The idea behind it is to bring engineering principles in the development of pharmaceutical products. And the most important aspect of that is to create quality control and understanding of this process in such a way that leads to quality products at the end,” said Mansoor Amiji, University Distinguished Professor of pharmaceutical sciences and chemical engineering.

Amiji and Benjamin Woolston, assistant professor of chemical engineering, have been working to build the foundation of the new program, from the initial proposal to market analysis to creating a new curriculum and getting it approved through the university.

It’s all about giving students a complementary skill set.

“We have a lot of students graduate from our chemical engineering program that go into Pharma but maybe don’t have quite the background that they would like to have in pharmaceutical sciences,” said Woolston. “We see people coming back that have maybe started in Pharm Sci that realized, well, really what I need is a little bit more engineering understanding to really contribute in some of these industries.”

The new MS in Pharmaceutical Engineering is a great opportunity for students because only a few schools across the country currently offer the program. More importantly, not many current offerings are in the Northeast and do not have relationships with local pharmaceutical companies like Northeastern has established in Boston.

“The Boston area is first in the nation when it comes to biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries and both in terms of research and development efforts,” said Amiji.

Some of these companies were even involved in the discussion of the new program’s curriculum.

There are three new courses that will be a core part of the program: Pharmaceutical Process Engineering I, Pharmaceutical Process Engineering II, and Pharmaceutical Engineering Laboratory.

Amiji and Woolston say this new program is a great way to break the traditional boundaries of education and give students a malleable type of training they can then integrate in different disciplines.

“Especially with my role in both departments, it became almost a no-brainer to think about how we bring these types of multidisciplinary programs together that focus on the success of the students and how do you make sure that the students achieve the desired outcome at the end,” said Amiji.

One of those ways is to encourage students to enroll in the co-op or experiential program so they can get a better sense of what they’re interested in. It helps that the co-op program is so well-baked into undergraduate education, the infrastructure is already there.

In true Northeastern fashion, Woolston says the program is designed to be very experiential, so this won’t just be students sitting in classes, they’ll get real, hands-on lab experiences.

“Part of the goal of this program is to provide students enough elective space that they can take their degree in the direction that they think is most suitable for that ultimate job,” said Woolston.

The first cohort of students for the MS in Pharmaceutical Engineering program will begin in Fall 2023.

Related Faculty: Mansoor Amiji, Rebecca Willits, Benjamin Woolston

Related Departments:Chemical Engineering