Last Updated: May 05, 2021
Studying Biotechnology in the US
Biotechnology combines modern Science with advanced technology to enhance the quality of living for all mankind. The United States is one of the best places in the world to study biotechnology thanks to its excellent infrastructure for research, excellent faculty, wonderful universities, a large number of biotech companies, and excellent job opportunities after graduation.
Studying this course in the US provides a set of benefits for the candidates since the country is leading in innovative Science and Technological breakthroughs with excellent research facilities and up to date laboratories along with a class of high-skilled faculties that can provide the students with all the guidance, they need in their academic life.
The universities that offer courses in Biotechnology are mostly affiliated with other reputed universities and research facilities around the world which can provide them with hands-on training if they can avail exchange programs and make use of the available opportunities.
What is Biotechnology?
Biotechnology is a course that leans over to be a tough choice and a professional one that requires detailed study in order to gain high-paying job opportunities. The course is deemed tough due to its involvement in science, math, technology, and other skills which can appear complicated to high-school students. Students can start their academic endeavor in Biotechnology by taking a BS, and continue on to an MS. They can also take a doctoral degree in the subject if they wish to be a scientist in the field.
This multidisciplinary area contains content relating to the fields of microbiology, molecular biology, immunology, cellular biology, etc. along with environmental science and engineering. These areas have to be studied from a practical perspective whereby the knowledge gathered can be applied for the betterment of humans in ways that suit their needs in all.
Due to the overlapping nature of different fields, students have to be extra sharp in their study of materials and should have an interest in not just one of the fields included but in most of it like chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, etc. which might seem like all of the science that can relate to living organisms in general.
Undergraduate Degree in Biotechnology
The undergraduate program in Biotechnology takes 3-4 years for course completion depending on the college the student has enrolled in. The course includes lecture sections, fieldwork, practical work, and other independent study assignments that shape up their academic experience and provide them with hands-on training for job prospects.
Course Requirements for BS in Biotechnology
Students have to deal with different streams of study like Science, Mathematics, and Technology for their undergraduate study. They will not be able to specialize in fields before their Master’s and hence the course is all about creating a firm foundation that can help them in their future goals. The subjects that are generally dealt with are-
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular Biology
- Genome and Post-Genome Biology
Graduate Degree in Biotechnology
Postgraduate studies in Biotechnology can be pursued in various sectors of the field including genetics, microbiology, therapeutic sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, drug discovery, agricultural sciences, animal science. While undergraduate studies are more theory-specific and don’t offer a lot of specializations, graduate programs let students choose their specializations and work on them.
Master's degrees are two-year programs with intensive coursework along with practical hands-on training on the various techniques used by biotechnologists working in the industry, followed by examinations, thesis preparation, and its oral defense.
Doctorate degrees usually take up to 4-6 years to complete with rigorous coursework in the first two years followed by research in the remaining years. For completion of the course, a thesis had to be prepared and defended in oral examinations.
Course Requirements for MS in Biotechnology
The courses that are dealt with in detail for MS in Biotechnology are courses whose foundations have already been laid in the undergraduate course. Students can choose a concentration of their choice along with the core course requirements that universities have. The concentrations vary from college to college and are dependent on the specializations of the faculties available. The general courses offered for MS in Biotechnology are as follows-
- Molecular Biology
- Recombinant DNA
- Law and Biotechnology
- Biotechnology Science
- Life Science Entrepreneurial Ventures
Top 3 Universities in USA for Biotechnology
The Biotechnology program offered by Harvard is a joint program offered by Harvard Business School and the GSAS making it an MS/MBA in Biotechnology. The subjects included will therefore include Finance, Leadership, Marketing, etc. from the Business field and also subjects like Life Science and Ethical Dilemmas in Biotechnology. The core knowledge students have related to Biotechnology is combined with business insights that make them well adapted to the job market once they have completed the course.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
This university has been ranked 6 for studying Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology by the US news and has a department dedicated to Biological Engineering where students can enroll. The college focuses on subjects like Bioscience and Applied Biotechnology along with molecular life sciences. After doing their undergraduate program, students will be able to receive a BS in Biological Engineering instead of Biotechnology through the aspects covered are the same. If students wish to major in another science field and still want to pursue an academic life in Biotechnology, they can opt for minors in Biotechnology that are split into Biomedical Engineering and Toxicology, and Environmental Health.
Students can apply for the graduate training program in Biotechnology or an online certification course in the subject from the Stanford University which is one of the top 5 universities available for the subject of Biotechnology. The topics they generally deal with are cell culture, protein production, pharmaceutical development, etc. among others, and require students to have basic knowledge of chemical principles and calculus before enrolling even for their undergraduate program. They focus on genetic engineering principles and their study is based on the expansions that can be made regarding the challenges the biotechnological industry faces.
Other Famous Biotechnology Universities and Colleges in USA
This university is located in West Lafayette at Indiana and is a top-notch Research Institute famous for Biotechnology all over the world. Their College of Sciences, Technology, Agriculture, and Pharmacy offers both BS and MS in Biotechnology. The maximum Research activity conducted in the University is solely attributed to the Biotechnology field and its related concentrations with extensive emphasis on Biomaterials, edible vaccines, and DNA-based forensic studies. The top league Faculty members train the students making them ready to participate in the cutting-edge research activities in the U.S.A.
University of Wisconsin, Madison
This is a world-class Public Research Institute highly reputed for its Biotechnology-related studies. The education offered not only trains students in technological advancements and research-oriented careers but also in the business and marketing strategies behind this stream of study. The Biotechnology Center of this University conducts research in various areas of Molecular Biology and Genetics providing tremendous opportunities to students in the form of workshops and outreach programs.
John Hopkins University
It is a non-profit, private university dedicated to research and is located in Baltimore in Maryland. This university has been ranked high for Science and Technology due to the extensive research conducted by them worldwide. The Center for Biotechnology Education at John Hopkins offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the various concentrations of Biotechnology with skilled Faculty members emphasizing the practical aspects of the education meted out. Through its International Partnerships and up-to-date facilities, this University offers in-depth opportunities in the field of Biotechnology.
University of Rhode Island
The main campus of this huge, Research-oriented, Public University is situated in Kingston with other campuses including the Feinstein Campus in Providence, Narragansett Bay Campus in Narragansett, and W. Alton Jones Campus in West Greenwich. The Biotechnology programs offered by this University trains students in various areas shaping them to be a part of top research institutes and medical industries. Their research is concentrated on Molecular Biology, Stem Cell Biotechnology, and Bioprocessing offering various opportunities in real-world laboratories. Exchange programs and excellent Research facilities coupled with top-notch faculty members make this University an ideal choice for students who wish to pursue a career in the Biotechnology related fields.
Benefits of Completing Postgraduate in Biotechnology
Biotechnology is in general a research-oriented field, and postgraduate studies place the students in a better position to excel in this area through their exposure to research. The job opportunities available to students after completing their undergraduate study are high but once the student has completed their postgraduate, their stakes in the job market increase manifold.
Postgraduate studies offer the students a choice of specialization in their area of interest allowing specified training and education to meet the challenges in that particular area of Biotechnology. It emphasizes the practical aspects of teaching allowing the students to gain hands-on experience which is necessary for an excellent career in the industry. Postgraduate education also helps by placing students at the heart of current research work, allowing them access to innovative technology to give them an opportunity to discover their area of focus, allowing them the choice to concentrate on that.
Many opportunities are available during a postgraduate education through global tie-ups and student exchange programs that place the students in different scenarios in their chosen area, allowing them to understand real-world research in their field of interest. Funding is available for most of the postgraduate programs as long as you are an excellent student with high grades, a very good profile. So even if one does not have the finances for a postgraduate degree, there is a huge possibility of receiving aid due to academic merit.
Career Opportunities for Biotechnology Students
Students who have completed their Master’s in Biotechnology can opt for jobs like
- Biomedical Engineer- They work in the healthcare sector and focus on creating and modeling equipment and devices that are required by health professionals. They do this by combining their knowledge in engineering and medical science.
Median Salary: $92,620
- Biochemist- They have to typically work in laboratories and are clubbed with biophysicists in order to analyze the chemical principles of living things. They have to focus their study on curing diseases and usually require a Ph.D. due to the importance of the task.
Median Pay: $94,270
- Microbiologists - They are included in the research and study of microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc., and have to work in laboratories most of the time conducting experiments to substantiate their research and create evidence for their hypothesis.
Median Pay: $84,400