Biotechnology Certificate Program

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 many of the 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 a 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 Plant Soil and Insect Sciences. 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. Courses used to fulfill Certificate requirements may also be used to fulfill department major requirements.

By 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 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 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 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, also cross listed as PLSOILIN 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 administration of the Biotechnology Certificate Program will be carried out within the Department of Microbiology by an existing tenured faculty member who would serve as the director the program. The general operating policies and procedures of the interdisciplinary certificate program will be approved by a steering committee comprised of faculty from departments participating in the program. This committee will also have the responsibility of re-evaluating the program and directors position every three to five years.

The department of Microbiology is the administrative home of the biotechnology lab course (MICROBIO 385). Utilizing resources in the department the director would advise and tracking students in the program as well as assist 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.

Required Courses: 
One of the following introductory courses:
BIOLOGY 285 (3cr) - Cellular & Molecular Biology - Taught Spring Semester
BIOCHEM 285 (3cr) - Cellular & Molecular Biology - Taught Fall Semester
ANIMLSCI 200 (3cr) - Animal Cell & Molecular Biology – Taught every Spring Semester
BIOCHEM 275 (3cr)  - Molecular Biology - Taught Spring & Fall Semesters

Required laboratory course: MICROBIO/ ANIMLSCI 385 (4cr) – Laboratory in Biotechnology – Taught Spring Semester

Existing biotechnology related courses:

MICROBIO 310 (3cr) - General Microbiology – Taught Spring and Fall Semester
MICROBIO 312 (3cr) - General Microbiology Lab– Taught Spring and Fall Semester
MICROBIO 330 (3cr) – Microbial Genetics – Taught every Spring Semester

ANIMLSCI  572 (3cr) - Infection & Immunity – Taught every Spring Semester
MICROBIO 542 (3cr) – Immunology Lab – Taught every Spring Semester
MICROBIO 570 (3cr) - Animal Virology – Taught every Fall Semester
MICROBIO 480 (3cr) - Microbial Physiology - Taught every Spring Semester
MICROBIO 562 (3cr) – Environmental Biotechnology - Taught every Spring Semester

MICROBIO 590S (3cr) – Parasitology – Taught every Spring Semester
BIOLOGY 283 (3cr) – General Genetics – Taught every Spring Semester

BIOLOGY 383 (3cr) – Gene & Genome Analysis – Taught every Fall Semester
BIOLOGY 510 (3cr) – Plant Physiology – Taught every Spring Semester
STOCKSCH 597A (3cr) - Phyto/Bioremediation - Taught alternate Fall Semesters 

Contact Information

Professor John Burand
202A Fernald
Tel: 545-3629

Complete the Biotechnology Application Form to apply to the program and then again once you have completed all of the program requirements. Once you have completed all the requirements fill out the Certificate Clearance Form. Submit both forms to me by email at the address listed above.