Biological Technology Degree Programs
Biological technology, or as it's more often referred to, biotechnology, is the study of biological organisms at a molecular level and their uses for humankind and the environment. This can include the development of advanced drugs and medical treatments. Read on for more information about the topics you may study, information on program admission requirements, and the possible career paths available if you earn a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in biotechnology.
What Topics Will I Study in a Biotech Program?
Through a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology, your courses will focus on the sciences at the introductory level and their application towards advances in biotechnology. Course topics could include the principles of chemistry and organic chemistry, chemical foundations and cell structures. You may also study bacterial genetics, inheritance and gene replication principles. In labs, you may study the structures and influences of microorganisms and biomolecules, including lipids, enzymes, carbohydrates and proteins. Other topics of study could include these:
- Metabolic cycles
|Undergraduate Topics||Core sciences; plus genetics and metabolic studies, including laboratory work|
|Graduate Level Topics||More specific drug- and technology-related coursework and research|
|Admission Requirements||Relevant scientific background and foundational degree. Graduate-level programs require passing of a qualifying exam|
|Career Options||Work in a clinical, pharmaceutical, or biological laboratory, or continue to an advanced medical or biotechnology degree|
|Median Salary (2020)||$46,340 (Biological Technicians)|
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)||5% growth (Biological Technicians)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
What Will I Study At the Graduate Level?
In a 2-year Master of Science program in biotechnology, you may study FDA drug regulations, the drug development and discovery process, and how to set up clinical or non-clinical trials. Other classes may cover the human body, how it fights disease and the factors leading to immunity. Additionally, you may learn about the drugs and medications used to strengthen and protect the body.
The bulk of a doctoral degree program is research, but courses and seminars also make up a portion of it. Before completing your dissertation, your two years of courses could include studies of how organisms function along with such subjects as advanced cellular and molecular biology, developmental biology and drug studies. Some courses may overlap into biomedical engineering, and you may participate in labs and research rotations. A specialization can target your studies and the direction of your dissertation.
What Are the Admissions and Academic Requirements?
A high school diploma is the only admissions requirement for a bachelor's degree program, but some schools recommend completing college preparatory courses. For the master's degree, you'll likely need to have a bachelor's degree in engineering, biology, chemistry, or computer science. Many master's degree programs require that you write a thesis. You may be able to choose a specialization in stem cell research, virology, immunity or gene structure.
For the doctoral degree program, admissions requirements consist of a bachelor's degree with a background in math or the sciences. After completing your major courses, you must pass a qualifying exam pertaining to biotechnology. The dissertation generally consists of making a proposal on an original topic pertaining to a biotechnology problem that you can research, test and document. You must present and defend your dissertation to a faculty committee.
What Are My Career Opportunities?
A bachelor's degree in biotechnology includes medical school requirements, so you can continue your studies to become a medical doctor. If you want to enter the workforce, you could become a biological technician, aiding scientists with healthcare research. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you may also qualify for an entry-level position as a clinical laboratory technologist, or someone who performs lab tests on biological fluid and tissue samples (www.bls.gov).
With a master's degree, you could go into drug research or development. This involves developing and testing products that can prevent and treat diseases. With a doctorate in biotechnology, you can become a medical scientist, conducting clinical research and overseeing clinical trials. You may be able to conduct original research as biological scientist. According to the BLS, as of May 2020, biological scientists made a median annual salary of $85,290, and medical scientists made $91,510 (www.bls.gov).