Major in Biotechnology

Students who have completed the required lower-level coursework for the biotechnology major—either within an Associate of Applied Science degree program at a community college with which UMUC has an articulation agreement or within another appropriate transfer program—may seek an academic major in biotechnology. Students should consult an advisor before electing this major.

The biotechnology major helps prepare students for the biotechnology industry by building on the technical and scientific knowledge gained through the associate's degree program and direct experience in the field. It combines laboratory skills and applied coursework with a biotechnology internship experience and upper-level study. The biotechnology curriculum covers general biological and chemical sciences, biotechniques, bioinstrumentation, bioinformatics, microbiology, molecular biology, and cell biology. Study is designed to help students who wish to enter pharmaceutical, agricultural, and biomedical research industries and organizations as laboratory technicians, quality control technicians, assay analysts, chemical technicians, or bioinformaticists.

Intended Program Outcomes

The student who graduates with a major in biotechnology should be able to

  • Practice ethical standards of integrity, honesty, and fairness in scientific practices and professional conduct.
  • Communicate orally and in writing in a clear, well-organized manner that effectively informs and clarifies scientific principles and lab techniques to staff and stakeholders.
  • Offer technical support, customer assistance, and cost-benefit analyses in the application of biotechnical approaches to the development of products and services.
  • Use scientific procedures and current and emerging technologies to conduct safe and hygienic laboratory experiments and to collect data that are appropriately validated and documented.
  • Comply with and adhere to national, state, and local standards, policies, protocols, and regulations for laboratory and manufacturing activity.
  • Develop an action plan that includes the continuous pursuit of education, training, and research to keep current on biotechnology practices and trends for personal and professional development.
  • Apply scientific knowledge and principles, quantitative methods, and technology tools to think critically and solve complex problems in biotechnology.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements Update

Degree requirements are being updated for fall 2015. How does this affect you? Your degree requirements may vary depending on when you start your program.

A degree with a major in biotechnology requires the successful completion of 120 credits of coursework, including 36 credits for the major; 41 credits in general education requirements; and 43 credits in the minor, electives, and other degree requirements. At least 18 credits in the major must be earned in upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above).

Requirements for the Biotechnology Major

Coursework for a major in biotechnology includes the following lower-level coursework taken as part of an appropriate degree program at an approved community college or other institution:

  • Foundation courses (15 credits): General microbiology (with laboratory), general genetics (with laboratory), biotechnology techniques (with laboratory), or laboratory techniques (with laboratory)
  • Required related courses (17 credits), which may be applied anywhere in the bachelor's degree: Chosen from biotechnology, biochemistry, cell biology, chemistry, genetics, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, physics, and virology courses

Coursework for a major in biotechnology also includes the following:

  • Required core courses (9 credits): BIOL 325, 350, and 400
  • Required Workplace Learning course(s) (6 credits): BIOL 486A/B
    or internship courses (numbered 486A or 486B) in any discipline related to biotechnology
  • Supplemental major course in biological applications (3 credits): Chosen from BIOL 320, 334, 357, and an additional workplace learning internship
  • Supplemental major course(s) in specialized topics (3 credits): Chosen from any upper-level BIOL course, numbered 320 or above, and NSCI 301 (No more than three 1-credit courses may be applied to major.)

Recommended Sequence

The following course sequence will fulfill all the requirements for the BTPS or BS in biotechnology (if the student selects appropriate courses as part of the transfer coursework). Coursework for the major is indicated by Coursework for the major. Since some recommended courses fulfill more than one requirement, substituting courses for those listed may make it necessary to take additional courses to meet degree requirements. Students should consult an advisor whenever taking advantage of other options.

Biotechnology Degree Courses

Required Courses from Transfer Institution

  • Coursework for the major Lower-level coursework in the following areas (15 credits):
    • General microbiology with lab 
    • General genetics with lab 
    • Biotechnology techniques with lab 
    • Laboratory techniques with lab
  • Additional coursework related to biotechnology (17 credits)
    Selected from biotechnology, biochemistry, cell biology, chemistry, genetics, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, physics, or virology (should also fulfill general education requirements in biological and physical sciences)

First Courses (to be taken within the first 18 credits at UMUC if not brought in transfer)

Note: Placement tests are required for math and writing courses. 

  • LIBS 150 Introduction to Research (1) 
  • WRTG 101 Introduction to Writing (3)
    or WRTG 101S Introduction to Writing (3)
  • MATH 106 Finite Mathematics (3)
    or a higher-level math course               

Introductory and General Education Courses (to be taken within the first 30 credits) 

  • IFSM 201 Concepts and Applications of Information Technology (3)
    CMST 301 Digital Media and Society (3)
  • WRTG 293 Introduction to Professional Writing (3)
    or other writing course
  • ECON 103 Economics in the Information Age (3)
    or other behavioral and social sciences course
  • HUMN 100 Introduction to Humanities (3)
    or other arts and humanities course
  • BEHS 103 Technology in Contemporary Society (3)
    or other behavioral and social sciences course (discipline must differ from first)
  • HIST 125 Technological Transformations (3)
    other arts and humanities/historical perspective course (discipline must differ from other humanities course)
  • COMM 202 Media and Society (3)
    other communication, writing, or speech course
  • CMIS 111 Social Networking and Cybersecurity Best Practices (3)
    or other computing course

Required Upper-Level Courses for Major (to be taken after introductory and general education courses) 

  • WRTG 393 Advanced Technical Writing (3)
    or other upper-level advanced writing course
  • Coursework for the major BIOL 325 Inquiries in Biological Science (3) 
  • Coursework for the major BIOL 350 Molecular and Cellular Biology (3)
  • Coursework for the major BIOL 400 Life Science Seminar (3) 
  • Coursework for the major BIOL 357 Bioinformatics (3)
    or other supplemental major course in biological applications
  • Coursework for the major BIOL 422 Epidemiology of Emerging Infections (3)
    or other supplemental major course in specialized topics

Internship for Major (to be taken in the last 30 credits) 

  • Coursework for the major BIOL 486A/B Workplace Learning in Biology
    or any Workplace Learning course in a related discipline

Minor and/or Elective Courses (33)
(to be taken in the last 60 credits along with required major courses)

Recommended Electives 

Total credits for BS or BTPS in biotechnology: 120

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