What is Biotechnology?

Biotechnology is the application of recent developments in technology to manipulate the genetic and biochemical characteristics of an organism so that the organism or its metabolites can be economically produced for our benefit. In practice it requires the selection and genetic improvement of an organism for a specific purpose. Organisms may be used to synthesize a desirable product or degrade unwanted materials. The industrialization of this technology is dependent on the development of methods for scaling up processes developed in the laboratory.

Students interested in biotechnology could find careers in a wide variety of industrial applications. Examples of industries that use biotechnology are antibiotic and pharmaceutical; food; energy; agricultural pesticides; herbicides; fertilizers; growth chemicals and breeding programs; industrial chemicals, biocatalysts and diagnostics.

The biotechnologist works with research scientists on the development of processes in the laboratory and with engineers to transfer and scale up laboratory processes for large scale production required by industry. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of biotechnology, biotechnologists must have a strong background in the analytical and quantitative areas of science. In addition, the biotechnologist must be familiar with the theory and practice of genetic engineering and biochemical processes.

Admission to Major: Admission to Major is granted by the department. Admission requirements are 32 earned semester credit hours including BIOL 105 and 106, with a grade of a "C" or better in both BIOL 105 and 106; and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.

Sample 4-year plan for students starting in an even year.

Sample 4-year plan for students starting in an odd year.

Biotechnology BS Degree Requirements (120 credits required)

Required General Education

  • CHEM 201 General Chemistry I (5)
  • MATH 121 Calculus I (4)
  • PHYS 211 Principles of Physics I (4)

Prerequisites to the Major

  • BIOL 105 General Biology I (4)
  • BIOL 106 General Biology II (4)
  • BIOL 211 Genetics (4)

Major Common Core

  • BIOL 270 Microbiology (4)
  • BIOL 320 Cell Biology (4)
  • BIOL 452 Biological Instrumentation (3)
  • BIOL 453 Biological Engineering Analysis I (4)
  • BIOL 454 Biological Engineering Analysis II (4)
  • BIOL 474 Immunology (4)
  • BIOL 476 Microbial Physiology and Genetics (5)
  • BIOL 479 Molecular Biology (4)
  • CHEM 202 General Chemistry II (5)
  • CHEM 320 Organic Chemistry I (5)
  • CHEM 360 Principles of Biochemistry (4)
  • PHYS 212 Principles of Physics II (4)

Major Restricted Electives

For those students planning on graduate or professional school, CHEM 305 Analytical Chemistry and MATH 122 Calculus II are strongly recommended. BIOL 451 Plant Biotechnology is strongly recommended for a student who plans to work in the agricultural biotechnology.

Additional Math/Statistics (choose 3-4 credits)

  • HLTH 475 Biostatistics (3)
  • MATH 122 Calculus II (4)
  • STAT 154 Elementary Statistics (3)

Capstone Experience (choose 6 credits from the following)

Choose in consultation with your advisor

  • BIOL 456 Biotechnology Project/Laboratory I (3)
  • BIOL 457 Biotechnology Project/Laboratory II (3)
  • BIOL 497 Internship I (1-12)
  • BIOL 498 Internship II (1-12)
  • BIOL 499 Individual Study (1-4)

Required Minor: None.