Master of Science in Biotechnology


The following faculty members have expressed a particular interest in working with the M.S. in Biotechnology degree program:

Professors: Lee Bulla (Molecular and Cell Biology), Steven Goodman (Molecular and Cell Biology), Ali Hooshyar (Mathematics), Lynn Melton (Chemistry), A. Dean Sherry (Chemistry), Robert Serfling (Mathematics), Ronald Yasbin (Molecular and Cell Biology).
Associate Professors: Stephen Levene (Biology), Betty Pace (Molecular and Cell Biology), Paul Pantano (Chemistry)
Assistant Professors: Pankaj Choudhary (Mathematics), Isabel Darcy (Mathematics), Ovidiu Daescu (Computer Science); Gregg Dieckmann (Chemistry), Donovan Haines (Chemistry); Sherry S. Herron (Science and Mathematics Education)
Senior Lecturers: George Barnes (Management)


The M.S. degree in biotechnology is intended to prepare students for careers in biotechnology and to assist currently employed professionals in enhancing their career opportunities in the field of biotechnology. The program is open to all students who hold a bachelors degree, although those with laboratory science, mathematics, computer science, or engineering degrees are particularly encouraged to apply.

Biotechnology captures the exciting possibilities made possible by the decoding of the human genome and by the advances in bioanalytical instrumentation, and the field is projected for rapid growth. The M.S. in Biotechnology is designed so that students may enter the program with a wide range of prior disciplinary backgrounds, prepare for and take the four core courses, and, by choice from a wide range of approved electives, tailor the remainder of the degree program to their career opportunities. In this manner, students may develop areas of additional depth in fields such as:

The Human Genome (BIOL 5202) provides an introduction to multiple facets of biotechnology. By design this course should be accessible to students, from non-biology backgrounds, who wish to learn about the field of biotechnology and who may be uncertain about undertaking the degree program leading to the M.S. in Biotechnology.

The M.S. in Biotechnology requires 36 hours of courses, typically twelve courses of three semester hours each.

The M.S. in Biotechnology is administered by the Committee on Biotechnology. Students seeking further information or advisement should contact the office of the Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the name(s) of faculty member(s) currently advising students.

Core Courses

The core consists of four courses BIOL 5373 Proteomics, BIOL 5381 Genomics, and BIOL 5384 Biotechnology Laboratory, plus a choice of one of the three courses BIOL 5376 Applied Bioinformatics, Math 6341 Bioinformatics, or CS 6372 Biological Database Systems and Data Mining. If a course in this listing is not available on a regular basis, the Committee on Biotechnology may designate an alternate course. Students enrolled in the Biotechnology M.S., Cell and Molecular Biology M.S. and/or Ph.D. programs may have priority for enrollment in BIOL 5384.

Advising and Prerequisites

Every student admitted to the M.S. in Biotechnology program shall consult with the program advisor(s) and develop a mutually agreed degree plan. All requests for deviations from the degree program described in this catalog shall be discussed first with a program advisor, who will forward the request to the Committee on Biotechnology for decision.

There are no formal prerequisites for most of the core courses, and a student, after obtaining consent of the program advisor, may attempt one or more core courses. However, the level of the BIOL core courses is such that most students will want to have mastered the material in the following courses:

BIOL 5410 Biochemistry of Proteins and Nuclei Acids
BIOL 5420 Molecular Biology
BIOL 5430 Macromolecular Physical Chemistry
BIOL 5V50 Methods in Molecular and Cell Biology I
BIOL 5384 Biotechnology Laboratory is a skills based course. Students must show laboratory skills generally equivalent to those acquired in BIOL 5V50 in order to enroll in BIOL 5384. Students who can show that they have acquired the skills developed in BIOL 5384 may request that the Committee on Biotechnology waive BIOL 5384 as a core requirement and allow a course from the list of approved electives to take its place. Lists of the skills are available from the program advisor(s).


As a general rule, any course offered for M.S. and/or Ph.D. students by a department within the Schools of Natural Science and Mathematics or Engineering and Computer Science may be taken as an elective for the Biotechnology M.S. program. Exceptions may occur, and students should consult the program advisor for the current list of approved electives.

A joint program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, administered through the Mathematical Sciences Department, is also available, and courses offered within that program are also available as electives.