PDP Program Description

The academic content of the program is the result of a careful design process using as input the results of extensive interviews with industry, faculty and students. Each component of the program has been thoroughly vetted with several representatives from each one of these stakeholder groups. As currently structured, the program will offer a one calendar year course of study that will result in the award of a Master's of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering with an emphasis in product development. The program will be composed of three basic elements each of which must be satisfactorily completed before graduation.

PDP Overview

First, a set of two mandatory customized and comprehensive courses that provide a robust background in the fundamentals of new product development with an emphasis on the perspective of chemical engineering and related disciplines. In addition to traditional teaching methods, case studies, industry guest lecturers and special mini-projects will used in these core courses.

PDP does not require any technical courses, but students may choose to take them as electives if they choose.

New product development definition and overview

  • Definition of “new product”
  • Key trends and drivers in NPD
  • Common barriers to good NPD performance
  • Role of chemical engineering knowledge in the NPD challenge

Business/portfolio-level view of NPD

  • Evaluating NPD performance
  • Quantitative methods for NPD analysis
  • Nature and role of intellectual property
  • Strategic partnering and alliances
  • NPD and the start-up venture

Product-level practices in NPD

  • Stage-gate process
  • Developing the business case
  • Product specifications
  • Design of experiments
  • Product prototypes
  • Design and formation of NPD work teams

Leadership and the NPD challenge

  • Persuasive written and oral communications
  • Multidisciplinary team dynamics
  • Managing innovation and change
  • Career management for the NPD professional

Advanced topics

  • Creating a NPD strategy
  • Development of breakthrough or disruptive products
  • NPD entrepreneur — business development and deal structure
  • Advanced computational methods for NPD (e.g., Monte Carlo, decision trees)

Second, a combination of required and elective courses focused in an area of industry specialization chosen by students before they enter the program. 

Our market research suggests that the following specialization areas may be particularly attractive to students and industry:


  • Advanced Materials
  • Alternative Energy/Sustainability
  • Biotechnology - Drug Development
  • Biotechnology - Medical Devices
  • Consumer Products
  • Microelectronics
  • Manufactured Product Technology
  • New Ventures
  • Semiconductors

Lastly, each student will be required to complete a challenging two-month field study assignment related to product development practice in an industrial setting.

3 Phase Approach

Students will form teams and conduct a structured diagnostic assessment of some aspects of new product development activity within a participating company. Students will be trained in the second semester in the analytical methods needed to complete the field study requirement. We will make every attempt to place student teams in field assignments that match their choices of industry specialization. Students will be required to prepare and deliver written and oral final reports to the senior management of participating companies.

For an updated list of industry specializations and elective courses, please email: cbepdp@berkeley.edu

Which program is right for me?

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is home to two professional master's programs, The Product Development Program (PDP) and the Master's of Bioprocess Engineering Program (MBPE). There is some overlap between the programs, please review the infographic below for more information, and email cbepdp@berkeley.edu if you have any questions.

PDP MBPE Comparison

>> View PDP and MPE comparison as a PDF

International Students

This program is eligible for OPT and STEM OPT. If you have further immigration questions please contact Berkeley International Office.

Contact the PDP

Keith AlexanderDr. Keith Alexander
PDP Executive Director410B Latimer Hall
(510) 642-4526

Steve SciamannaDr. Steve Sciamanna
PDP Lecturer
410C Latimer Hall

Sudhir JoshiDr. Sudhir Joshi
PDP Lecturer
410C Latimer Hall

Alethea Stoltzfus

Alethea Stoltzfus
PDP Graduate Student Adviser
402 Latimer Hall

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