5 universities offering a Masters in biotechnology in France

Masters in biotechnology in France

As the biotech industry in France has been gaining momentum in recent years, there are now many universities in the country – several of which are based in the biotech hub of Paris – in which graduates can study subjects related to biotechnology. The courses offered by these universities ultimately provide the necessary skills and help pave the way for students to begin their careers within the burgeoning biotech industry in the country. In this article, we take a look at five universities offering a Masters in biotechnology in France. 

Table of contents

    Université Paris-Saclay

    Covering the fields of science and engineering, life sciences and health, and humanities and social sciences, the Université Paris-Saclay is among the top universities to study a Masters in biotechnology in France. Its Life Sciences and Health graduate school department takes an integrative approach to life sciences, from the study of how molecular mechanisms in biological systems function and interact, to their integration at all levels including on the evolutionary, pathophysiological, and biotechnological scales. 

    The university offers multiple Masters programs relevant to biotechnology, including an M1 Biochemistry and Biotechnology Platform degree. This aims to train students in biochemical and structural analysis of biological macromolecules and develop their ability to analyze biological processes from a molecular perspective, introduce them to biotechnological and nanotechnological tools and to the techniques of in silico biology for the analysis of structural, genomic, and proteomic data, and teach them to design and carry out experimental procedures and process and analyze results. The course will help to prepare students to work as researchers or research engineers in public and private organizations for any project based on molecular understanding and the use of living systems. 

    Some of the other biotechnology-related courses include an M1 in Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology, an M1 in Life Sciences and Health, an M2 in microbiology and biological engineering, and an M2 in Systems and Synthetic Biology. 

    Université Paris Cité 

    Ranked among the world’s top 40 in the 2024 Center for World University Rankings (CWUR), Université Paris Cité is another great option for studying a Masters in biotechnology in France. In fact, the university has multiple graduate schools in the life sciences, including the Graduate School of Antimicrobial Resistance, the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, the Graduate School of Cardiovascular Sciences, and the Graduate School of Drug Development, to name a few.

    The Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering is perhaps one of the best biotechnology-related departments students can get into, as it aims to build a bio-entrepreneurship ecosystem by supporting education and making it easier to transfer technology from labs to start-ups and companies. The department also connects the Masters and Doctoral Schools of the Université Paris Cité, training students in various sectors of Science and Technology for Health. It provides courses and events on health technologies, and access to fellowships.

    The graduate schools involving specific research areas, such as the aforementioned Graduate School of Antimicrobial Resistance and the Graduate School of Cardiovascular Sciences are also good options for students if they already know that they want to develop knowledge around a specific disease area, so that they can then transfer that knowledge into research at a biotech company after they finish their studies. 

    For example, the Graduate School of Antimicrobial Resistance offers a variety of Masters courses that focus on extensive, up-to-date, and original expertise that can be used to combat antimicrobial resistance from prevention to treatment, and through vaccination, detection, identification and dissemination, and the Graduate School of Cardiovascular Sciences offers multidisciplinary training for and through cardiovascular research and is aimed at students in science, medicine or pharmacy directly or indirectly interested in the cardiovascular discipline.

    Sorbonne Université

    Sorbonne Université is an internationally renowned higher education and research institution with a rigorous academic program. It offers an array of Masters options for students who are looking to further their education, including several biotechnology-related courses.

    The Faculty of Science and Engineering, based in the capital of France, offers biotechnology-related Masters courses such as Molecular and Cellular Biology, which will provide students with high-level training in molecular and cellular biology in a broader sense, before allowing them to specialize in these fields or in other fields such as biochemistry, biotechnology, developmental biology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, bioinformatics or biophysics.

    The university also offers a Masters program called “From Fundamental Molecular Biosciences to Biotherapies”, which is part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering but is taught in English instead of French. The aim of this international program is to provide training in fundamental molecular biosciences as applied to biotherapies through a multidisciplinary approach and in collaboration with renowned partner universities. Graduates will emerge with an important understanding of basic and applied scientific knowledge and excellent professional and personal skills. The specializations in the program available will allow students to obtain multiple high-level qualifications in complementary disciplines and generate career opportunities in academic research, the pharmaceutical industry and biomed, for example.

    Université de Montpellier

    Université de Montpellier is a public research university located in Montpellier and primarily teaches law, economics, management, political and social sciences, science, technology and health. With a Faculty of Science that offers 182 Masters courses, it is easy to see why Université de Montpellier is one of the best universities to study a Masters in biotechnology in France.

    The Faculty of Science offers training in all areas of basic and applied science, and its “Biology – Mechanisms of Life” department will be of interest to students looking for a career in biotechnology. That is because it offers Masters courses in the following subjects: Biology Agrosciences; Biology and Health; and Bio Santé Course: Therapeutic Engineering and Bioproduction in Health Biotechnology. 

    The Therapeutic Engineering and Bioproduction in Health Biotechnology course is a particularly good option, as it is intended to provide training to students so that they will be able to create and produce the therapies of tomorrow using biotechnology-related tools. The students taking the course will be trained to master all the concepts allowing them to create a therapy derived from biotechnologies, including producing it, to formulating it and to modifying it with a view to implementing a personalized treatment for patients. The concepts acquired can be applied to health biotechnologies as well as other areas of biotechnology.

    Aix-Marseille Université

    Another public research university, Aix-Marseille University is the largest multidisciplinary university in the French-speaking world, with 80,000 students and nearly 8,000 staff on five major campuses. 

    Furthermore, the Faculty of Sciences at the university has nine departments, 30 research units, 11,000 students and nearly 1,200 staff, making it one of the largest science faculties in France. It offers an array of Masters courses related to biotechnology, including Integrative Biology and Physiology, Structural Biology and Genomics, Immunology, Microbiology and Neuroscience. 

    As an example of what these biotechnology-related courses offer, the Integrative Biology and Physiology course is aimed at training high-level biologists by providing them with an extensive base of knowledge and skills in the fields of molecular biology, genetics, developmental biology, neurobiology and stem cells, while the Immunology course will ultimately prepare students to become researchers capable of understanding, predicting and manipulating the immune system in order to develop the drugs of tomorrow, Plus, the Microbiology course aims to turn students into scientists that are capable of contributing to the advancement of knowledge in the fields of biotechnology, infectious diseases, environment, agri-food and energy, as well as their industrial applications.

    French biotech: a promising industry to get into 

    Now more than ever, it is a promising time for students who are looking to make a career in the biotech industry in France. In 2021, the French government led by Emmanuel Macron decided to launch a €7.5 billion ($7.9 billion) project known as the “Health Innovation Plan”, with the central focus being to turn France into the European leader in health innovation by 2030. Since then, the sector in the country appears to be on an upward trend, supported by a combination of government backing, research excellence, and a vibrant ecosystem that fosters innovation and attracts substantial investments. Plus, there are numerous biotech companies now based in France, with a particularly high concentration in the capital city and biotech hub of Paris.

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