This fall, students at UC Berkeley will be able to apply to the new Biology + Business program, which allows undergraduate students to receive concurrent bachelor’s degrees in business administration and molecular and cell biology, UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business announced Wednesday.
The program, which was formally launched in 2018, is the product of collaboration between the business school and the department of molecular and cell biology. According to Sarah Maslov, the program manager for the Biology + Business program, the program was created by Rich Lyons, a former Haas dean, and Michael Botchan, dean of biological sciences at UC Berkeley.
Maslov said the program has similar elements to the Management, Entrepreneurship and Technology, or MET, program, which is a collaboration between the Haas school and the College of Engineering. Maslov added that unlike MET, however, students apply for Biology + Business during their sophomore year.
“Like the M.E.T. program, this is a program that reflects our continuing efforts to combine top Berkeley undergrad programs with business in areas where it makes sense — and where it aligns with students’ professional goals,” Maslov said in an email.
Maslov said she anticipates about 20 students to enroll in the program. To qualify for the program, students must have started at UC Berkeley as freshmen and complete all prerequisites both for the Haas school and for declaring a major in molecular and cell biology.
David Drubin, the co-chair of the department of molecular and cell biology department at UC Berkeley, said in an email that graduates of the program will be uniquely qualified to work at the intersection of business and development of new human therapies.
According to Ann Stock Zakaria, a professor at Rutgers University and a donor to Biology + Business, the program does not only have applications from students looking to work for large pharmaceutical companies, however.
“The majority of students are interested not in big pharma but in biotech and the healthcare industry,” Maslov said in the email. “Those are the two areas they are currently exploring and the coursework is around biotech and drug discovery research.”
The program is the second of its kind in the country and will offer professional opportunities to undergraduates.
According to Zakaria, as the pharmaceutical industry expands, large pharmaceutical companies frequently give early production development to small biotechnical companies, which may only employ six to 12 employees.
“When you really have that small number of people involved, you don’t have room for someone who has experience only in science or someone who has experience only in business,” Zakaria said. “It can be really valuable to have somebody who thinks comprehensively on projects.”
Applications for fall 2020 will open after Nov. 1 of this year.