Biotechnology Courses and Degrees
Biotechnology degrees could lead to careers developing new plant strains or medical devices. Find out about other career options as well as common course topics and skills acquired.
What You Need to Know
Programs in biotechnology focus on biological organisms at the molecular level and how technology is used to manipulate the genetic structure of organisms. By earning a degree in this field, you can prepare for laboratory or research scientist careers. Many undergraduate and graduate level programs of study exist.
|Degrees||Associate's Degree in Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing or Biological Science, Bachelor's and Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Degrees in Biotechnology, Master's Degree in Biotechnology or Biotechnology and Biomedical Science, Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology|
|Certificates||Biotechnology Laboratory Technician Certificate, Graduate Certificate in Biotechnology|
|Courses||Genetics, molecular biology techniques, biotechnology laboratory instrumentation, bioinformatics, biomanufacturing, genomics, proteomics|
What Will I Learn in an Undergraduate Degree Program?
In an associate degree program, you will focus on the technical skills required to work in a laboratory setting. DNA and protein protocols, tissue culture and sterile techniques are taught in the program. You can learn how to conduct experiments and prepare lab reagents, present oral and written lab reports and evaluate the impact biotechnology has on society. Topics in the program may include chemistry, genetics, microbiology, cell biology and technical computing. You may have to participate in an internship or capstone project in this program.
A Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology can lead to a career as a research associate in biotechnology or prepare you to enter a master's degree program. The focus of the program is on chemistry and biology. You can also study the regulations of the industry and computer imaging. You might take these types of courses, as well:
- Molecular biology
- Organic chemistry
What Will I Learn in a Graduate Degree Program?
A Master of Science in Biological Sciences focuses on research in DNA technology, immunology and protein isolation. Some master's degree programs have an emphasis on stem cell research. Topics in the program may include protein isolation, the theory of recombinant DNA, the theory of technology management, bioinformatics, molecular biotechnology, biomedical technology, molecular biology and structure of nucleic acids. Many master's degree programs require a thesis based on your own original research. Capstone projects and lab sessions are often part of the programs.
A Doctor of Philosophy in Biotechnology focuses on research. To begin research at the doctoral level, you must pass examinations to determine your knowledge of key areas of biology. Along with core courses, you will choose specialized coursework. Core areas may include biomedical engineering and biotechnology, bioethics, cell and molecular biology and instrumentation. Areas of specialization may include biomaterials, molecular biotechnology, biomedical information systems, medical imaging or biomechanics. You must research, write and revise a dissertation under the supervision of an advisor. After you have finished your dissertation, you must defend it before a dissertation committee.
What Careers Can a Biotechnology Degree Prepare Me For?
Biotechnology is relevant to a variety of scientific fields, including genetics, agriculture and medicine. As a geneticist, you could study genes from plants, animals and humans to create plant hybrids or develop medical cures. As a biomedical engineer, you would most likely work on artificial limbs and prosthesis. In this role, you may develop sophisticated machines for medical surgery, such as lasers and medical imaging devices. You could also work as a plant breeder to design new plants that are disease resistant and more productive. Plant breeders sometimes work towards crossing one plant with another to make a more efficient entity. The new design may be able to resist diseases, withstand colder temperatures or produce a larger crop.