What Are the Core Courses of a Biotechnology Major?

Biotechnology is the process of manufacturing a number of products, from pharmaceuticals and waste management processes to alcoholic beverages. Biotechnology can be taken as an undergraduate program, and core courses give students the science background they will need. Read on to find out about these core courses and their requirements. Schools offering Biotechnology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Biotechnology Bachelor's Degree Program Overview

A bachelor's degree program in biotechnology consists of four years of study. In addition to completing the required general education courses, students usually complete studies that give them a solid foundation in mathematics, physics, biology and chemistry. Here is a look at the core courses in a biotechnology program.

Important Facts About This Field of Study

Common Courses Besides classroom courses, a co-op or other independent research component is common
Specializations Bioinformatics, bioscience policy, microbial, animal and plant systems
Online Availability Very rare
Possible Careers Technician in hospital, pharmaceutical, or academic research setting

General Studies

The core curriculum at most colleges includes courses in English composition, speech and mathematics. Philosophy courses introduce you to critical thinking, and computer courses will be essential to your progression in biotechnology, particularly in the lab. Electives can be chosen in a multitude of subjects, including economics, history, the humanities and other applications.


There are a number of biology courses that are required for biotechnology majors. Basic biological principals study the nature of organisms, while other courses focus on cellular biology, microbiology and molecular biology. These basic courses prepare you for advanced studies in biotechnology, bio-techniques and biotechnological research methods.

General Chemistry

Introductory general chemistry courses start with studies in atomic structure, electronic configuration, solution concentrations and reactions, and continue with acid-based chemistry, oxidations, thermodynamics and quantitative analysis. Organic chemistry courses delve into subjects such as alcohols, acids, hydrocarbons and bio-molecules. Lab courses include applications on synthetics, isolation of chemicals and identifying organic compounds.

The core chemistry course load prepares you for courses such as computational chemistry, which is an advanced class that teaches advanced molecular and material structures. You will learn functional theory, empirical methodology and the computational applications of chemistry.


Calculus studies graphs, integrations, functions and other math applications. To prepare for this biotechnology core study, you can take preliminary courses in pre-calculus. A course in pre-calculus gives you an overview of applications such as complex numbers, equations, trigonometry, sines and cosines, and mathematical functions.


General physics covers concepts in mechanics and wave motion, and it explores the ways in which the introduction of extreme temperatures can change materials. Lab studies teach you about data collection and interpreting that data to reach a conclusion. Other physics courses delve into Newtonian mechanics and electrical principles. These courses prepare you for advanced studies in electronics or biophysics.

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