Education

Best Biotechnology Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Biotechnology programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Biotechnology is the use of living organisms to create products or to perform tasks. Biotechnology degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in the biotech industry, including research, development, and production.

Biotechnology degrees offer a variety of specializations, including cell and molecular biology, microbiology, and biochemistry. Students in biotechnology degree programs learn about the different processes and techniques of biotechnology, and how to apply those techniques to create products or to solve problems.

How to Choose the Right Biotechnology Program

When it comes to choosing the right biotechnology bachelor’s degree program, there are many factors to consider. Cost, location, and time to degree are all important factors, but students should also research the curriculum and available specializations.

Many biotechnology programs offer a variety of specializations, so students should research the options to find the best fit for their interests and career goals. For example, students interested in working in the pharmaceutical industry may wish to specialize in drug development or pharmacology. Students interested in environmental issues may want to specialize in bioremediation or sustainable agriculture.

In addition to specializations, students should also research the curriculum to make sure the program offers the courses they need. Many programs require students to complete general education courses in addition to major-specific coursework. Students should also check to see if the program offers any internships or research opportunities.

Finally, students need to consider the cost of the program and the location. Many programs offer tuition discounts for state residents, and some programs may offer scholarships or financial aid. Students should also research the job market in the area to make sure there are opportunities available after graduation.

Best Bachelor’s in Biotechnology Programs

The best programs for Biotechnology ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA

The Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology degree from James Madison University is a 4-year interdisciplinary major that leads to a B.S. degree. The curriculum is rich with hands-on laboratory experiences, critical analyses of both the “how” and the “why” of biotechnological solutions, and the development of transferable skills to keep up in a rapidly changing field. The combination of both scientific/technical depth and cross-disciplinary breadth allow graduates to pursue diverse career paths in industry, government and advanced studies.

Rank 2
University of California-Davis
Davis, CA

The Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology at University of California-Davis is a multidisciplinary major that covers topics such as the mechanics of life, human and animal health, food safety, energy production, and environmental quality. The program is divided into lower and upper division levels. Lower division courses cover general topics in biological sciences, while upper division courses allow students to focus on one of four areas: microbial biotechnology, animal biotechnology, plant biotechnology, or bioinformatics. All students are required to complete an internship in a biotechnology company or research laboratory.

Rank 3
Northeastern University
Boston, MA

The Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology from Northeastern University is a highly flexible program that prepares students for a career in the rapidly changing field of biotechnology. The program includes advanced courses in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics, biotechnology and pharmaceutical processing, and quality control and validation, biomaterials, and more. Students also have the opportunity to pursue a Master of Science in Biotechnology with only one additional year of study.

Rank 4
Indiana University-Bloomington
Bloomington, IN

The Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology from Indiana University-Bloomington is designed to give students fundamental training in basic scientific principles as well as specific concepts, techniques, and applications used in biotechnology. This is a rigorous degree, providing excellent preparation for medical school, dental school, and graduate school, as well as for jobs in the life sciences.

Rank 5
North Park University
Chicago, IL

The Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from North Park University is a great choice for students interested in a career in the rapidly-growing field of biotechnology. The program focuses on molecular biology, providing students with a strong foundation in the principles of this cutting-edge field. Students in the program will have the opportunity to conduct original research, participate in travel courses, and take advantage of state-of-the-art labs and equipment.

Rank 6
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY

The Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology from University at Buffalo is a unique, lab-based program that prepares students for a career in biomedical research or post-graduate studies. The program provides students with a high level of hands-on training in a variety of laboratory skills, allowing them to be immediately competitive in the job market upon graduation. The coursework in the program focuses on the theory and practical application of biotechnology, with a strong emphasis on hands-on research. graduates from the program are also well-prepared for graduate studies or professional programs.

Rank 7
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

The Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology at University of San Francisco is a 5-year program that combines the BS in Biology and the PSM Biotechnology programs. Core classes include biotech science and bio-entrepreneurship to provide students with both research and workplace experience. Students will gain valuable work experience during the industry internship in one of the over 200 private and public biotech companies thriving around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Rank 8
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS

The Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology at the University of Kansas is a four-year program that focuses on the use of biological systems to solve scientific challenges and positively impact our society. The program includes an internship within academia or industry, giving students the opportunity to gain real-world experience.

Rank 9
University of Central Florida
Orlando, FL

The Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology at University of Central Florida is designed to produce highly trained workers that will meet the workforce needs of the biotechnology industry. Students in the program will take courses that cover topics such as accounting, finance, marketing, and management. The program also provides students with the opportunity to take courses that will prepare them for admission to professional schools.

Rank 10
University of Houston
Houston, TX

The Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology at University of Houston is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in core science concepts and an application-oriented education. The interdisciplinary program helps students develop critical-thinking skills and increased interest and/or persistence in STEM-related courses.

The program’s eight program outcomes were developed in consistency with the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering Board of Accreditation (ATMAE) outcomes assessment accreditation model.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Biotechnology Program

Students in a bachelor’s in biotechnology program learn about the ethical, legal, and social implications of this cutting-edge field. They also develop the skills needed to work in a variety of settings, including research laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and government agencies.

Most programs require students to complete about 120 credits, which takes full-time students four years to finish. In addition to coursework, many programs also require students to complete an internship or research project.

Biotechnology programs typically offer a mix of classroom instruction and hands-on laboratory experience. Students take courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and math, as well as courses specific to biotechnology. These might include courses in genetic engineering, cell biology, and immunology.

Prospective students should be aware that some programs may require prerequisite coursework in biology and chemistry. Additionally, students should have strong problem-solving skills and be comfortable working with computers.

Common Biotechnology Courses

The courses you’ll take for a biotechnology degree will depend on the school you attend and the program you choose. However, many programs offer a mix of the following courses.

Organic Chemistry

This course covers the study of the structure, reactivity, and synthesis of organic compounds. Topics include nomenclature, isomerism, alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, aromaticity, stereochemistry, alkyl halides, alcohols, ethers, epoxides, aldehydes, ketones, amines, imines, nitriles, diazonium salts, carboxylic acids, acid chlorides, anhydrides, esters, amides, substituted benzenes, phenols, aromatic nitro compounds, aromatic sulfonic acids, and pericyclic reactions. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the structure and reactivity of organic molecules and be able to apply this knowledge to the synthesis of organic compounds.

Principles of Genetics

This course covers the basic principles of genetics including Mendelian inheritance, DNA structure and function, chromosome structure and function, gene expression, and genetic variation. Topics include the history of genetics, the cell, cell division, DNA replication, transcription, translation, mutations, genetic counseling, and population genetics. Upon completion, students should be able to explain the role of DNA in the transmission and expression of genetic information, apply the principles of Mendelian inheritance to simple genetic problems, and explain the role of genes in the development of an organism.

Microbiology

This course covers the study of microorganisms, their effects on other living organisms, and their uses in various biotechnological processes. Topics include microbial cell structure and function, metabolism, genetics, growth, and reproduction. Emphasis is placed on the role of microbes in the environment, food spoilage, disease, and biotechnology. Upon completion, students should be able to describe the basic structure and function of microbial cells, identify and describe the major groups of microbes, and explain the role of microbes in the environment and in biotechnology.

Cell Biology

This course covers the structure and function of cells with an emphasis on the molecular basis of cell function. Topics include cell membranes, cell signaling, cell cycle, DNA replication, transcription, translation, and cell death. Emphasis is placed on the relationship of cell structure to function and the role of cells in health and disease. Upon completion, students should be able to explain the structure and function of cells and cell organelles, and describe the molecular basis of cell function.

Lab Techniques in Biotechnology

This course covers the basic laboratory techniques used in biotechnology including cell culture, aseptic technique, DNA extraction, PCR, gel electrophoresis, and protein purification. Emphasis is placed on proper laboratory safety procedures and the use of common biotechnology laboratory equipment. Upon completion, students should be able to properly perform common biotechnology laboratory techniques and understand the principles behind each technique.

Career Options for Biotechnology Graduates

Graduates of biotechnology programs work in a variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and agriculture. They may also work in fields such as research, development, and manufacturing.

Laboratory Technician

Laboratory technicians work in settings such as hospitals, clinics, and research facilities and are responsible for a variety of tasks related to laboratory work, including setting up and maintaining equipment, preparing samples, conducting tests, and recording and analyzing results. They may work under the supervision of a scientist or another medical professional and often specialize in a particular area, such as microbiology or histology.

Quality Control Manager

Quality control managers are responsible for ensuring that products and services meet all the necessary requirements before they are released to the public. In order to do this, quality control managers develop and implement quality control systems, supervise inspectors and technicians, and review customer complaints. They also work with other managers to develop quality control standards and objectives and make sure that these standards are met. Quality control managers typically work in manufacturing or service industries.

Biochemist

Biochemists conduct research to understand the chemical and physical principles of living organisms and of biological processes, such as cell development, growth, heredity, and disease. They use their findings to develop new drugs, diagnostic tools, and treatments for medical conditions. Biochemists typically work in offices and laboratories. They may work for pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, universities, or government agencies.

Biomedical Engineer

Biomedical engineers apply their engineering skills to solve problems in biology and medicine. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, research laboratories, and manufacturing facilities. Their work might involve developing new medical devices, such as artificial hearts or replacement joints; designing new biomedical imaging systems, such as MRIs and X-rays; or working on developing new treatments for diseases, such as cancer. Biomedical engineers often work on teams with scientists, doctors, and other engineers.

Clinical Research Coordinator

Clinical research coordinators (CRCs) work on research teams in healthcare settings and are responsible for the smooth operation of clinical trials. CRCs develop research protocols, work with patients and families to explain the trial process and obtain informed consent, schedule and track patient appointments, monitor patients during the trial, and report any adverse reactions to the trial drugs or procedures. CRCs also collect and maintain patient data and samples, which are essential to the success of the trial.

Insights From a Biotechnology Graduate

Nancy Burch is a Research Associate at Pfizer. She has a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology from the University of Rochester. Nancy has over 3 years of experience in the biotech industry.

ClimbtheLadder: How did you make the most of your Biotechnology degree program so that it prepared you for post-graduation jobs?

Nancy Burch: I made the most of my biotechnology degree program by taking advantage of the research opportunities that were available to me. I was able to work on projects that were directly related to my field of interest, and this gave me the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge that I would not have otherwise had.

In addition, I made sure to network with professionals in the field, which helped me to learn about different job opportunities that were available. I would advise students to take advantage of the resources that their school has to offer, and to network with professionals in the field in order to learn about different job opportunities.

ClimbtheLadder: What are the most rewarding aspects of your career? What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Nancy Burch: The most rewarding aspect of my career is the satisfaction I get from helping to develop new treatments for patients. It’s very gratifying to know that my work is making a difference in people’s lives. The most challenging aspect of my career is the pressure I feel to perform at a high level. There is a lot of pressure to produce results quickly and efficiently.

ClimbtheLadder: What misconception(s) do people have about a Biotechnology degree, and what would you tell them?

Nancy Burch: I think the biggest misconception about a biotechnology degree is that it is only for people who want to be doctors or medical researchers. While those are certainly valid career paths, there are many other options available for people with this degree.

For example, I work in the pharmaceutical industry, and I use my biotechnology degree every day. I work on developing new drugs and therapies, and I also work on improving existing ones. I also work on quality control for our products. So, if you’re interested in the biotech field, there are many different options available to you.

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