~ Dr Florence Wambugu, Director, ISAAA, East Africa
What is biotechnology?
Biotechnology is the use of living organisms to fulfill practical societal needs such as making and modifying products, improving plants and animals, and developing microorganisms for special uses. It is a rapidly emerging, complex field that was barely known just a couple of decades ago. The field is generally divided into three areas: 1) human health care, 2) agriculture and animal health care, 3) environment/energy management. Genetic engineering, cloning, and medical advances all fall under the biotechnology umbrella. With education beyond a bachelor's degree, it is possible for a biotechnologist to teach, become a doctor, or advance to a managerial level in an area of specialty.
The 38-39 credit Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology program at William Paterson University is housed in the College of Science and Health. In addition to the courses in the major, students have 32 credits of co-requirements, including coursework in Physics, Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry, Calculus and Statistics. Core courses include Cell Biology, Genetics, Biotechnology: DNA, and Biotechnology: Cell Culture.
To learn more about the degree requirements, please visit this link:
Admissions information on Biotechnology is located here:
Interests and Skills
- Research skills
- Good writing skills
- Ability to organize and classify information.
- Analytical and quantitative skills
- Being able to work both in a team and independently
- Technical skills
- Ability to understand biological theories
- Understanding of business concepts
People working within the field of biotechnology have a number of options in terms of work environment. Biotechnology professionals may choose to work in pharmaceutical companies, food processing companies, science laboratories, botanical gardens, zoos, hospital and public health facilities, university research centers, engineering consulting firms, government agencies, waste management, and agricultural companies. Some positions may require further education beyond a bachelor's degree.
Possible Job Titles
Forensic Scientist New Jersey State Police
Cancer Research Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Cell Biologist Biotech Pharamecuticals
Molecular Genetics Technican Univ. of Medicine and Dentistry
Scientist II Wyeth Pahrmaceuticals
Quality Assurance Manager Ivax Pharamceuticals
Research Technician University of Arizona Cancer Center
Chemical Technician Schering Plough Research, Institute
Clinical Research Coordinator St. Michael's Hospital
Research Associate (DNA Analysis) DNX Transgenic Sciences
Lab Technician Unilever
Lab Assistant (Biomedical Implants) Collagen Matrix
Enhance Your Qualifications
Successful students tend to seek out opportunities to enhance their qualifications through a variety of means. Within biotechnology, some suggestions may include getting involved in research initiatives outside class, conducting an independent study for credit, joining or becoming a leader in career-related campus organizations, such as the New Jersey Water Watch and Natural Sciences Club; joining a professional biotechnology association; learning computer skills; reading scientific journals; gaining practical experience through an internship/practicum/job shadowing; looking into the possibility of graduate school; and attending networking functions.
Related Web Sites
Biotechnology Industry Association www.bio.org
Biotechnology Council of New Jersey www.biotechnj.org
Biology Jobs www.BiologyJobs.com
Occupational Outlook www.bls.gov/oco/
Occupation Information http://online.onetcenter.org
Industry Information www.vault.com
Job Search and Salary information www.rileyguide.com
Other Sources of Information
Please drop by the Career Development and Advisement Center to learn more about careers in biotechnology. The career library carries career-specific books and counselors are available to answer any further questions you may have. Visiting the Biology department on campus may also prove valuable in addressing questions.