What Degrees Are Available in Biotechnology and Bioinformatics?

While it is not possible to earn a degree in both biotechnology and bioinformatics, there are individual degree options in both subjects. Find out more about the educational opportunities in each of these fields. Schools offering Biotechnology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Degree Programs in Biotechnology and Bioinformatics

There are no degree programs in the United States that cover both biotechnology and bioinformatics. However, undergraduate students can find Associate of Science (AS) and Bachelor of Science (BS) in Biotechnology programs, as well as professional bachelor's degree programs in biotechnology. At the master's degree level, there are Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS) in Biotechnology and professional Master of Biotechnology programs. Some schools also offer PhD programs in the field.

Bioinformatics is not a degree option at the undergraduate level, but students can find Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), and professional master's degree programs in bioinformatics. At the doctoral level, students can enroll in PhD and MD/PhD programs in bioinformatics.

Important Facts about Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Degree Programs

Biotechnology Bioinformatics
Prerequisite Education High school diploma or GED for undergraduate programs

Bachelor's degree for graduate programs
Bachelor's degree in science or math, prerequisite science, math and/or computer science coursework (depending on the program)
Online Availability Undergraduate programs on campus or in hybrid format

Master's degree programs online or on campus

PhD programs on campus only
Master's degree programs online or on campus

PhD and MD/PhD programs on campus only
Scheduling Options Full-time or part-time for undergraduate and master's degree programs

Full-time for PhD programs
Full-time or part-time for master's degree programs

Full-time for PhD or MD/PhD programs
Possible CareersResearch scientist, analyst, consultant; clinical trial manager or project coordinator for pharmaceuticalsAnalyst, biological science technician, research associate, scientist, phlebotomist, consultant

Associate of Science in Biotechnology

Although uncommon, there are schools that offer AS in Biotechnology programs. These programs provide students with an educational foundation in the liberal arts and sciences, focusing specifically on developing a solid background in biology, chemistry, and math. They are mainly designed for students who want to immediately enter the workforce as lab technicians upon graduation, but it may also be possible to transfer credits to a bachelor's degree program upon completion.

Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology

Bachelor's degree programs in biotechnology are offered as either BS or professional degrees. Some programs are offered as degree completion programs and require applicants to have previous field experience and transfer biotechnology credits from an associate's degree program. Students can expect to take lecture- and lab-based courses in the biological and chemical sciences, including bioinformatics. Other course topics include molecular and cellular biology, as well as general education courses in liberal arts subjects. Prior to graduation, students may be required to complete an internship.

Master's Degree in Biotechnology

In MA, MS, and professional programs in biotechnology, students take more advanced, industry-focused courses in biotechnology-related subject such as biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, genomics and proteomics. Often, programs allow students to choose a concentration based on their career goals, such as biopharmaceutical/engineering biotechnology, biomedical technologies, molecular biotechnology, biodefense, biotechnology enterprise, regulatory affairs, or drug discovery. There are some schools that offer bioinformatics as a concentration option, which would be ideal for students who are interested in both subjects. Students may be able to choose between thesis and non-thesis tracks.

PhD in Biotechnology

PhD programs in biotechnology require students to complete a core of biotechnology courses, as well as upper-level electives based on their research interests and career goals. Broadly, students choose research projects in areas such as drug and gene delivery, drug discovery, or cell therapy. Prior to graduation, they must write and defend a dissertation based on their research.

Master's Degree in Bioinformatics

Master of Science, Master of Arts, and professional master's degree programs in bioinformatics are highly interdisciplinary, integrating biological and computer science training. Incoming students are expected to have an educational background in science; some programs require an undergraduate degree in a scientific field and at least one year of post-baccalaureate lab research experience. Once enrolled, students may have the option of choosing a concentration in clinical research, computational bioinformatics, or genomics. In addition to lecture-based coursework, students are usually required to complete a thesis or internship prior to graduation.

Doctoral Degrees in Bioinformatics

At the doctoral level, students can find both PhD and MD/PhD in Bioinformatics programs. For the PhD, they must take advanced courses and undertake independent dissertation research. Common course topics include computational biology, biological database systems, physical chemistry for systemic biology, and legal issues and ethics in science and technology. To advance to PhD candidacy, students must pass a qualifying examination, and from there, they focus on conducting research leading up to a final dissertation and oral exam.

In an MD/PhD in Bioinformatics program, students must meet the requirements for both degrees. Often, students start by taking two years of medical school curriculum. Then, they fulfill the requirements for a PhD in bioinformatics. After defending their thesis, they return to medical school for the third year of study. In total, students can expect to spend seven to eight years earning this degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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