Biotech Undergraduate Programs
Modern research in cellular and molecular biology and its resultant technology offers unparalleled opportunities to provide solutions to our society's most urgent problems in human and animal health, plant agriculture, and environmental quality. The Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology is an interdisciplinary degree offered by the College of Agriculture with three options: Plant Systems, Animal Systems, and Microbial Systems. Immunology & Infectious Diseases in the College of Agriculture administers the Animal Systems Option. As with the other two options, the Animal Systems Option provides a challenging basic science curriculum with an emphasis on providing students unique "hands on" learning experiences in methods courses and an internship program. Students will gain both theoretical and working knowledge of the most important molecular and biochemical techniques used in biotechnology. Students successfully completing the Animal Systems Option curriculum will be prepared for careers in both academic and industry settings. These students will also be prepared to enter graduate or medical (human or veterinary) professional schools for further study.
All biotechnology students follow the same basic science curriculum in their first two years and then choose an area of emphasis (option). Students selecting the Animal Systems Option will be advised by faculty from Immunology & Infectious Diseases. Once students at the Junior and Senior level have completed their methods courses they will then participate in an internship program, which provides them with hands-on experience with biotechnology techniques used by industry laboratories, university laboratories, or other laboratories, such as those in federal or state facilities.
The Biotechnology Internship program is based on the premise that students will retain theory and concepts longer when they can apply them to "real" life settings. An internship should enhance learning for students, assist them in selecting a career, and enable them to become better acquainted with both theory and practice of biotechnology before they make the transition from campus life to their chosen career. Consequently, the experiences to be gained through an internship should add relevancy to theory taught in classrooms. In the Animal Systems Option, we have emphasized practical research training, which prepares students to succeed in an industrial or academic setting. Beyond the standard biological, microbiological, and chemistry laboratories, Animal Systems Option students are required to complete a rigorous two-course laboratory sequence in their Junior and Senior years. In these labs the students gain "hands on" experience with tissue culture, immunocytochemistry, microscopy, flow cytometry, and basic molecular biology and protein biochemistry techniques. They are also required to complete an intensive research internship and a capstone seminar course that summarizes and extends their research experience and emphasizes communication within the scientific discipline. The internships can be on- or off-campus, however we encourage off-campus experiences for the practical benefits students gain and because it promotes interaction between a pool of highly qualified candidates and prospective employers in our region.