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Biotechnology is an interdisciplinary field based on a combination of biology and technology. It includes the application of science and technology to the design of new plants, animals, and microorganisms that have improved characteristics. The methodologies include the use of recombinant DNA for gene cloning and gene transfers between organisms, culture of plant and animal cells and tissues, fusion of animal cells or plant protoplasts, and the regeneration of whole plants from single cells.

Biotechnology also is concerned with the large-scale fermentation processes that utilize some of these novel organisms for the production of pharmaceuticals, diagnostic tests for diseases, feed additives, enzymes, and hormones.

Biotechnology offers seemingly unlimited opportunities to combine genes from related or unrelated species to produce useful organisms with desirable properties that were not previously found in nature. The development of crop plants that are resistant to herbicides or insects, the production of human growth hormone and insulin by genetically engineered bacteria, and the development of unique vaccines are all examples of successful biotechnology.

The Biotechnology program is offered in either the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources or the College of Science and Mathematics and leads to the Bachelor of Science degree or Bachelor of Arts degree (College of Science and Mathematics only). The curriculum is designed to provide students with knowledge and experience in both basic and applied sciences. Students have an opportunity to work with scientists in various areas including, animal science, biochemistry, biology, botany, chemistry, horticulture, microbiology, pharmaceutical sciences, plant pathology, plant science, and zoology. Faculty in each of the cooperating life-science departments has been identified to serve as advisers and research mentors for students who select the biotechnology major. Graduates of this program have excellent opportunities for employment in the biotechnology industry or for graduate education.

Students majoring in biotechnology are required to perform a research project in the laboratory of a faculty member/scientist, and to prepare a senior thesis describing their research project. A 2.50 institutional grade-point average is required to graduate from the program.

Biotechnology Minor

A minor in biotechnology requires satisfactory completion of 21 credits in the following courses. A minimum of eight credits must be taken at NDSU.

Major Requirements

Major: Biotechnology

Degree Type: B.S.
Required Degree Credits to Graduate: 128

General Education Requirements

First Year Experience (F)
AGRI/UNIV 189Skills for Academic Success (Students transferring in 24 or more credits do not need to take AGRI 189.)1
Communication (C)
ENGL 110College Composition I3
ENGL 120College Composition II3
Upper Division Writing: Select one from the following:3
Business and Professional Writing
Writing in the Technical Professions
Writing in the Sciences
Writing in the Health Professions
Researching and Writing Grants and Proposal
Scientific Writing
COMM 110Fundamentals of Public Speaking3
Quantitative Reasong (R):
STAT 330Introductory Statistics3
Science & Technology (S)
CHEM 121
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory
CHEM 122
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry II Laboratory
Select one sequence from the following:4
College Physics I
and College Physics I Laboratory
University Physics I
and University Physics I Laboratory
Humanities & Fine Arts (A): Select from current general education list6
Social & Behavioral Sciences (B): Select from the current general education list6
Wellness (W): Select from the current general education list2
Cultural Diversity (D): Select from the current general education list
Global Perspectives (G): Select from the current general education list
Total Credits42

Major requirements

General Education Requirements40
Biotechnology Requirements
BIOC 460
Foundations of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I
and Foundations of Biochemistry I Laboratory
BIOC 461Foundations of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II3
BIOC 465Principles of Physical Chemistry and Biophysics4
BIOC 474Methods of Recombinant DNA Technology3
MICR 350
General Microbiology
and General Microbiology Lab
MICR 470Basic Immunology3
MICR 471Immunology and Serology Laboratory2
MICR 482Bacterial Genetics & Phage3
MICR 491Seminar (Biotechnology)1-5
MICR 494Individual Study (Senior Research)2-4
MICR 494Individual Study (Senior Thesis)1
Supporting Requirements
AGRI 150Agriculture Orientation (Applies to students earning the degree from the CoAFSNR only; Students transferring in 24 or more credits do not need to take AGRI 150)1
BIOL 150
General Biology I
and General Biology I Laboratory
BIOL 151
General Biology II
and General Biology II Laboratory
CHEM 341
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry I Laboratory
CHEM 342Organic Chemistry II3
CSCI 114Microcomputer Packages3
or CSCI 122 Visual BASIC
Select one from the following:8
Applied Calculus I
and Applied Calculus II
Calculus I
and Calculus II
Select one from the following:4
College Physics II
and College Physics II Laboratory
University Physics II
and University Physics II Laboratory
PLSC 315
and Genetics Laboratory
Major Elective in Physiology: Select 3 credits from the following:3
Plant Physiology
Animal Physiology
Bacterial Physiology
Major Elective in Biotechnology Technique: Select 4-6 credits from the following:4-6
Methods of Biochemical Research
Molecular Biology of Gene Expression
Animal Cell Culture Techniques
Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology
Additional Humanities & Fine Arts or Social & Behavioral Sciences Credits6
An additional 6 credits from these General Education categories is required for earning a B.S. degree from either the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources or the College of Science and Mathematics.
Degree Requirements: Potential of 7 credits to reach 1287
Total Credits128-136

Degree Notes:

  • The Bachelors of Science degree is the default degree type for this program of study.  However, a Bachelor of Arts degree is available if the degree is being earned from the College of Science & Mathematics.
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree Requirements: An additional 12 credits of Humanities and/or Social Sciences courses and proficiency of a modern foreign language at the second year level (example: SPAN 201 & 202).  Courses for the Humanities and/or Social Sciences may be fulfilled by any course having the following prefix: ADHM, ANTH, ARCH, ART, CJ, CLAS, COMM, ECON, ENGL, FREN GEOG, GERM, HDFS, HIST, LA, LANG, MUSC, PHIL, POLS, PSYC, RELS, SOC, SPAN, THEA, WGS, or any course from the current Humanities & Fine Arts (A) and/or Social & Behavioral Sciences (B) General Education list.

Minor Requirements

Biotechnology Minor

Required Credits: 21

BIOC 460
Foundations of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I
and Foundations of Biochemistry I Laboratory
BIOC 461Foundations of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II3
PLSC 315
and Genetics Laboratory
Biotechnology Technique Electives: Select 4 credits from the following:4
Methods of Biochemical Research
Methods of Recombinant DNA Technology
Animal Cell Culture Techniques
Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology
Specialized Electives: Select 6 credits form the following:6
Plant Physiology
Basic Immunology
Immunology and Serology Laboratory
Bacterial Genetics & Phage
Introductory Plant Pathology
Cell Biology
Animal Physiology
Total Credits21

 Minor Requirements and Notes

  • A minimum of 8 credits must be taken at NDSU.