Last updated: Spring 2019
Commercial and industrial interests in biotechnology comprise ever-increasing employment opportunities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and around the world. Future industrial growth in the Commonwealth (and beyond) will continue to drive employment opportunities for students with diverse backgrounds in the biological sciences that have practical training in scientific methods and laboratory practices in the many areas of research that support the biotechnology industry. The Biotechnology Certificate program is designed to prepare students to meet the needs of this growing industrial base by providing training in several different areas of biological science that make up the basis of biotechnology. This certificate program requires that in combination with their major program of study in the home department, students take a minimum of 15 credits of approved courses covering topics in the area of biotechnology. These courses will include an introductory course in biotechnology and/or molecular biology such as ANIMLSCI 200 (3 credits) - Animal Cell & Molecular Biology, BIOCHEM 275 (3 credits) - Molecular Biology, BIOLOGY 285 - Cellular & Molecular Biology or the equivalent (see below under required courses), MICROBIO 385 - Laboratory in Biotechnology (4 credits), a laboratory based independent study or internship (3 credits minimum) and a minimum of 5 credits of biotechnology related courses taught in different departments across campus including: Biology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Vet & Animal Sciences and the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. Students enrolled in the Certificate Program will be required to maintain a GPA of 2.50 or higher in courses in the program and no course with a grade lower than a C will be counted toward the Certificate. Up to two courses used to fulfill Certificate requirements may also be used to fulfill department major requirements.
Integrating the knowledge and information presented in courses taught by faculty from these different departments into a Certificate Program in Biotechnology will prepare students to meet and exceed the expectations of this growing industrial base. This certificate program offers undergraduate students recognition for the interdisciplinary training they have received in biotechnology.
The courses included in this Certificate Program are selected based on their content preparing students for job opportunities in biotechnology. Learning outcomes from this program of study are directed to ensure that students are able to:
- Understand complex biological systems and their utility in biotechnology
- Successfully complete projects using a variety of laboratory techniques with accuracy, precision and safety
- Interpret and present scientific information accurately and precisely
Overview of the Certificate Program
There are a variety of biotechnology related courses already being taught on campus that satisfy the 5-credit requirement listed above. Many of these are listed below. We also envision a number of courses to be offered in the future, which would add to the list. An introductory course, providing a foundation in concepts of biotechnology (see below under required courses) will be required of all students in the program. A key component of this certificate program is hands-on laboratory experience for the students, which will be obtained via a laboratory-based independent study or internships which have been approved by the program director. The Laboratory in Biotechnology course (MICROBIO 385, and ANIMLSCI 385) is designed to provide much of the underpinning for this experience and is also a required course for the certificate.
The Department of Microbiology is the administrative home of the biotechnology lab course (MICROBIO 385) and the Biotechnology Certificate Program's director, who advises and tracks students in the program as well as assisting in student placement for laboratory based independent study and internships.
Admission: Students wishing to obtain a Biotechnology Certificate are encouraged to have their planned course work and laboratory experience approved by the director as early in their program as possible. This process of approval should begin prior to the completion of the required laboratory course, MICROBIO 385.
Certification: Upon entering the program, students must submit an application form for the certificate as well as a formal request to have their transcripts sent to the program director for approval. Once all the requirements are completed, the applicant will receive a certificate acknowledging their completion of the program. The award of this certificate will also be recorded on the student’s transcript.
A laboratory based independent study or internship (3 credits minimum)
One of the following introductory courses:
- BIOLOGY 285 (3cr) - Cellular & Molecular Biology - Taught Spring and Fall Semester
- ANIMLSCI 200 (3cr) - Animal Cell & Molecular Biology – Taught every Spring Semester
- BIOCHEM 275 (3cr) - Molecular Biology - Taught Spring and Fall Semester
One of the following laboratory courses:
- MICROBIO 385 (4cr) – Laboratory in Biotechnology – Taught every Spring Semester
- ANIMLSCI 385 (4cr) - Laboratory in Biotechnology - Taught every Spring Semester
- BIOCHEM 426 (3cr) - General Biochemistry Lab - Taught Spring and Fall Semester
Existing Biotechnology related courses (5 credits minimum):
- MICROBIO 310 (3cr) - General Microbiology – Taught Spring and Fall Semester
- MICROBIO 312 (3cr) - General Microbiology Lab – Taught Spring and Fall Semester
- MICROBIO 265 (1cr) – Introductory Microbiology Lab - Taught Spring and Fall Semester
- MICROBIO 330 (3cr) – Microbial Genetics - Taught every Spring Semester
- STOCKSCH 597A (3cr) - Phyto/Bioremediation - Taught alternate Fall Semesters
- MICROBIO 540 (3cr) – Immunology – Taught every Spring Semester
- MICROBIO 542 (3cr) – Immunology Lab – Taught every Spring Semester
- MICROBIO 570 (3cr) - Animal Virology – Taught every Spring Semester
- MICROBIO 480 (3cr) - Microbial Physiology - Taught every Spring Semester
- MICROBIO 590S (3cr) – Parasitology – Taught every Spring Semester
- MICROBIO 562 (3cr) – Environmental Biotechnology - Taught every Spring Semester
- BIOLOGY 283 (3cr) – General Genetics – Taught every Spring Semester
- BIOLOGY 510 (3cr) – Plant Physiology – Taught every Spring Semester
Professor John Burand
Biotechnology Certificate Program Application