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Academic Planning

General Option

Biotechnology is broadly defined as the application of principles of molecular and cell science to the production of biologically important or industrially useful products. Topics in biotechnology include genetic engineering, pharmaceutical development, and bio-manufacturing.


Students in the Biotechnology major will

  • acquire a strong foundation in the life and chemical sciences,
  • learn how fundamental science is applied to problems through biotechnology,
  • develop basic laboratory skills, perform standard techniques, work with state-of-the-art instrumentation, describe and evaluate analytical methodology used in biotechnology, and
  • become familiar with societal concerns and governmental regulations regarding the biotechnology industry.

One very important strength of this major is the extensive laboratory experience each student receives. In the General option, students are very strongly encouraged to consider Cooperative Education with industry as an integral part of their curriculum. In addition to the General option in Biotechnology, the major also offers the Clinical Laboratory Science option.

Option Overview

The General Option (GEN) of the Biotechnology major requires a strong foundation in the sciences and builds on that foundation with courses that teach many of the specialized culture, genetic and molecular techniques used in the biotechnology/ biopharmaceutical industries.  The heart of the General Option consists of a lecture course in industrial microbiology and two laboratory courses that teach students how to initiate and maintain cell cultures and genetically modify animal and plant cells.  A third laboratory course introduces students to the use of biofermentors and to the team approach that many industries use to develop new products for commercialization.  Students who graduate from the General Option of the Biotechnology major quickly find employment in the industrial sector and discover that their undergraduate preparation makes the transition from student to employee quite easy.


Program Goals

  • Graduates will have and be able to communicate an understanding of biotechnology sufficient to qualify for entry-level positions as industrial scientists or for graduate schools.
  • Graduates will develop basic laboratory skills and be familiar with the standard techniques and equipment used in the modern biotechnology laboratory.
  • Graduates will generate and interpret data with subsequent application to the solution of novel problems in biotechnology.
  • Graduates will identify career opportunities and professional and ethical issues that concern scientists in the biotechnology field.


Requirements to Enter the Major

Students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better and must complete Chem 110, 111, 112, and Math 140 with a grade of C or better.


Requirements to Graduate

To graduate, students must meet all three of the following requirements:

  • 2.0 cumulative GPA.
  • a grade of C or better in two of the following three courses: BMB/Micrb 251, BMB/Micrb 252 & Micrb 201.
  • 400-level Biotc/Micrb/BMB lecture courses (for Biotc majors).


View the most current Suggested Academic Plan for Biotechnology.

Downloadable Academic Planning Forms

View the current Recommended Academic Plan for the Biotechnology, General Option.

View the current Planning Checksheet for the Biotechnology, General Option.

View the current Departmental List for the Biotechnology, General Option.

For additional Academic Planning Forms please contact (814) 863 - 5487.

Course Lists

Select 6 units from the following 400-level lecture courses.

  • BIOTC/AGRO 460 Advances and Applications of Plant Biotechnology, 3 units
  • BMB 400 Molecular Biology of the Gene, 2 units 
    • Prerequisites include (BMB/MICRB 251 or BIOL 230W) and CHEM 212
  • BMB 411 Survey of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Literature, 1 unit
    • Prerequisites include BMB 401 and (BMB 400 or BMB 402)
  • BMB 428 Physical Chemistry with Biological Applications, 3 units
  • BMB/BIOL 430 Developmental Biology, 3 units
  • BMB/MICRB/VBSC 432 Advanced Immunology: Signaling in the Immune System, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include (BMB/MICRB 251 or BIOL 230W) and MCIRB 410 
  • BMB/VBSC 433 Molecular and Cellular Toxicology
    • Prerequisites include BMB 401 or BMB 211 
  • BMB/MICRB/VBSC 435 Viral Pathogenesis, 3 units
  • BMB/MICRB 450 Microbial/Molecular Genetics, 3 units
  • BMB/MICRB 460 Cell Growth and Differentiation, 3 units
  • BMB 464 Molecular Medicine, 3 units
  • BMB/MICRB 480 Cancer Development and Progression, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include (BMB/MICRB 252 or BIOL 230W) and (BIOL 222 or BIOL 322)
    • Recommended Preparations include: MICRB 410, BMB 460, and MICRB 415
  • BMB 482 Introduction to Computational Biology, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include BMB/MICRB 251 of BIOL 230W or CMPSC 465
  • BMB 484 Functional Genomics, 3 units
  • BMB/VBSC 485 Human Genomics and Biomedical Informatics, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include BIOL 322 and (STAT 200, 250, 301, or 401)
  • BMB 490 Undergraduate Research in Cellular Dynamics I, 3 units
  • BMB 491 Undergraduate Research in Cellular Dynamics II: Communicating Scientific Findings, 3 units
  • FDSC 408 Food Microbiology, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include MICRB 201, FD SC 200, FD SC 201, Concurrent: FD SC 200, FD SC 201
  • MICRB 401 Microbial Physiology and Structure, 3 units
  • MICRB 411 Survey of Microbiology Literature, 1 unit
  • MICRB 412 Medical Microbiology, 3 units
  • MICRB 413 Microbial Diversity, 2 units
  • MICRB 415 General Virology: Bacterial and Animal Viruses, 3 units

In addition to 400-level BIOTC, BMB, and MICRB courses, the following courses will also be allowed as 400-level selections for this major.

  • ANSC 456 Animal Microbiomes, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include MICRB 106 or MICRB 201
    • Recommended Preparation: STAT 200 or STAT 240 or STAT 250
  • BIOL 405 Molecular Evolution, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include BIOL 220W and (BIOL 230W or BMB/MICRB 251 or BIOL 222 or BIOL 322)
    • Recommended Preparations include: completion of a course in statistics is strongly recommended.
  • BIOL 416 Biology of Cancer, 3 units
  • BIOL 422 Advanced Genetics, 3 units
  • BIOL 426 Developmental Neurobiology, 3 units 
  • BIOL 431 Biology of Reproduction, 3 units
  • BIOL 432 Developmental Genetics, 3 units
  • BIOL 443 Evo-devo: Evolution of Developmental Mechanisms, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include BIOL 240
  • BIOL 451 The Biology of RNA, 3 units
  • BIOL/ANTH 460 Human Genetics, 3 units 
  • BIOL/BBH 469 Neurobiology, 3 units 
  • BIOL/BBH 470 Functional and Integrative Neurosciences, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include BIOL 469
  • BIOL/GEOSC 474 Astrobiology, 3 units
    • Prerequisites include BIOL 110 and CHEM 110
  • NUTR 446 Micronutrient Metabolism, 3 units (Prerequisite: NUTR 445)

With the EXCEPTION of the courses listed below, ALL courses appearing in the University Bulletin are acceptable as elective courses: 6 units of ROTC may be applied toward graduation requirements

Students MAY NOT fulfill this requirement with lower level or general education courses in math and science (including but not limited to examples such as any BISC course, any BMB course below the 100 level, MATH 110 and 111, and the like).  MATH courses below MATH 140 that were taken prior to MATH 140 as prerequisites (e.g. MATH 22 and 26) WILL be allowed to count towards graduation requirements.

Students MAY NOT fulfill this requirement with courses that significantly repeat material from courses required for the major (including but not limited to examples such as: CHEM 202 or 203 after taking CHEM 210 or 212, or vice-versa: PHYS 250 or 251 after taking PHYS 211, 212, 213, and 214, or vice versa; and so forth).

Students MAY NOT fulfill this requirement with remedial courses (including but not limited to examples such as LL ED 5 and 10; ENGL 4, 5, and 6; ESL 4 and 5; CHEM courses below CHEM 110; STAT 100; PHYS courses below PHYS 211; and the like).