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Biotechnology programs prepare people to use biology and other sciences to make new food and drug products.

Biotechnology programs prepare people to make new food and drug products using biology and biochemistry. Students learn about microbes, genetic engineering, and the sequencing of DNA. They also learn about patents and ethics.

Biotechnology programs include topics such as:


Many community colleges and technical schools offer certificate and associate degree programs in biotechnology. A certificate program usually takes a year of full-time study. An associate degree program at a community college usually takes two years of full-time study to complete. Students may work as a lab technician with an associate degree, or transfer to a college or university for further study.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in biotechnology. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in biotechnology. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree (usually in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, or bioengineering), good grades, and good test scores.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

A bachelor's degree program in biotechnology typically requires that you study courses such as the following:

Graduate Program Courses

A graduate program in biotechnology typically includes courses such as the following:

In addition, graduate programs typically require the following:

You may be required to give presentations to the departmental journal club. Club meetings are held on a regular basis, often twice weekly. When it is your turn, you present a review of an article that has appeared in a professional journal. The experience improves your presentation skills and gives you the chance to research a topic of interest to you.

In a doctoral program you may be required to teach undergraduates. You may also be required to present a research paper at a conference or get it published in a journal.

Things to Know

A bachelor's degree is good preparation for medical, dental, or veterinary school. Or you may go on to further studies in physical or occupational therapy, or education, with the goal of becoming a teacher. Or it may lead you to graduate school in agriculture or another field of biology.

In graduate school you may be able to specialize in genetic engineering, tissue engineering, biomaterials, or cellular bioreactor technology.


East Side Area

Washington State University - Pullman

King-Snohomish Area

Bellevue College

Northeastern University - Seattle

University of Washington - Seattle

Kitsap Area

Olympic College

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University