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"In addition to having a major impact on poverty and hunger, biotechnology has great potential to alleviate environmental degradation"
~ 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

Work Environment

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

Biotechnical Scientist Coordinator Consultant
Research Laboratory Director
Industry Researcher
Instrument/Calibration Technician
Process Development Scientist/Engineer Research Associate
Lab Assistant
Scientific Director
Technical Services Manager
Quality Control Inspector
Quality Control Analyst
Quality Control Engineer
Genetic Engineer
Clinical Programmer
Animal Handler
Animal Technician

Patent Attorney
Documentation Specialist
Regulatory Affairs Specialist
Manufacturing Technician
Chemical Engineer
Project Leader
Pilot Plant Manager
Scientific Systems Manager
Market Research Analyst
Technical Recruiter
Chemical Technician
Clinical Research Manager
Safety Specialist
Clinical Data Specialist
Production Development Engineer
Technical Writer
Sales Representative

WPU Alumni

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

Biotechnology Council of New Jersey

Biology Jobs

Occupational Outlook

Occupation Information

Industry Information

Job Search and Salary information


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.