Graduate Program in Biotechnology

Biotechnology has important applications in a wide variety of fields including biomedical research, pharmaceuticals, agribusiness, energy, industry, biodefense, and intellectual property and patents.

The Professional Science Master’s program in Biotechnology at USF provides students with a multi-disciplinary background that integrates scientific, business, and ethical aspects of biotechnology. USF is located in one of the main biotechnology hubs of the world, making it possible to partner with an array of companies and organizations to provide education and training. Students completing the PSM program in biotechnology master current techniques in biotechnology and develop management skills that will enable them to pursue a career in the growing biotechnology industry.

Degree Requirements

The PSM in Biology program consists of 36 graduate credits. The program can be completed in 21 months, or in 16 months if courses are taken during summer session.

The program has three components:

1. Core Courses (28 credits): Students complete the courses listed below:

BTEC 600—Graduate Seminar in Biology (1 credit)
BTEC 601--  Biotech Internship Seminar (1 credit)
BTEC 620—Molecular Biology (4 credits)
BTEC 685/686—Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology/Lab (4 credits)
BTEC 688—Advanced Research Methods in Biotechnology Lab (4 credits)
BTEC 697 Internship in Biotechnology

CS 686—Bioinformatics (4 credits)
MBA 6413—Business Teams and Small Group Dynamics (2 credits)
MBA 6561—Local and National Biotechnology (2 credits)
MBA 6562—Information of Biotechnology (2 credits)
MBA 6563—Legal, Social, and Ethical Implications of Biotechnology (2 credits)
MBA 6797—Academic Global Immersion (2 credits) 

2. Elective Courses (4 credits): Students complete at least one course from the list below.

BIOL 605—Molecular Medicine (Pharmacogenomics)
BIOL 620  Human Physiology
BIOL 633/634—Endocrinology/Lab
BIOL 641/642—Medical Microbiology/Lab 
BIOL 643/644—Immunology/Lab
BIOL 645—Virology
BIOL 646/647—General Microbiology/Lab 
BIOL 655/656—Developmental Biology/Lab
BIOL 664/665—Techniques in Cell Biology/Lab
BIOL 670—Biology of Cancer
BIOL 695 - Directed Studies for Advanced Graduate Students
BIOL 698—Research in Biology
CHEM 351—Biochemistry I (4 credits)
CHEM 352—Biochemistry II (4 credits)
|CHEM 356—Fundamentals of Biochemistry (4 credits)
CS 642Bioinformatics Research (4 credits)     

3. Internship (4 credits): Students complete an off-campus internship in biotechnology.

  • BIOL 697—Internship in Biotechnology (4 credits)

Sample Curriculum 

Below is a sample program of study for students in the PSM in Biotechnology program. Some courses can also be taken in the summer session at USF between the first and second years, allowing students to complete the program in a year and a half rather than two years.

Fall, Year 1:

BTEC 600—Molecular Biology Seminar (2 credits)
BTEC 620—Molecular Biology (4 credits)
MBA 6562—Information of Biotechnology (2 credits)
MBA 6563--Legal, Social, and Ethical Implications of Biotechnology (2 credits)

Intersession, Year 1:

MBA 6797 Academic Global Immersion (2 credits)

Spring, Year 1:

BTEC 685/686—Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology (4 credits)
MBA 6562—Local and National Biotechnology (2 credits)
MBA 6413—Business Teams & Small Group Dynamics (2 credits)

Fall, Year 2:

BTEC 688—Advanced Research Methods in Biotechnology (4 credits)
BTEC 601—Biotechnology Internship (1 credit)
CS 640 Bioinformatics (4 credits)

Spring, Year 2:

Elective—(4 credits)
BTEC 697—Internship in Biotechnology (4 credits)

Program Goals and Learning Outcomes

Program Goals:

  1. Comprehension of the fundamentals of Molecular Biology:
    Students will develop an advanced understanding of molecular biology concepts.
  2. Molecular biology skills:
    Students will display an advanced level of competency in molecular biology lab methods and biotechnology-related techniques.
  3. Comprehension of biotech industry:
    Students will be able to demonstrate a familiarity with the biotechnology industry and an understanding of communication and management skills in the industry.
  4. Appreciation for ethics in the biotechnology field:
    Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the ethical and social dilemmas within biotechnology.
  5. Real-world application in the biotech industry:
    Students will be able to demonstrate the ability to successfully work in a real-world biotech lab facility, integrating both molecular biology skills and effective business abilities.

Learning Outcomes:

Goal 1 – Comprehension of the field of Molecular Biology:

  • Describe, synthesize and apply concepts & techniques in the current literature within a specific research area.
  • Give an oral presentation on current biotechnology research.
  • Critically discuss and write summaries of primary research.

Goal 2 – Molecular biology skills:

  • Perform laboratory techniques (such as PCR, gel electrophoresis, DNA isolation, RTPCR).
  • Analyze DNA, RNA, & Protein sequence using computer software (such as BLAST, EMBOSS, Genotyper).
  • Understand and demonstrate lab safety procedures.
  • Maintain a lab notebook; describe correct SOPs and other documentation required in a biotech lab.

Goal 3 - Comprehension of biotech industry:

  • Discuss the biotechnology industry and how trends enable innovation.
  • Recognize global and local biotech leaders.
  • Employ effective managerial and leadership skills.

Goal 4 - Appreciation for ethics in the biotechnology field:

  • Explain the positions of various religions with respect to biotechnology.
  • Describe the importance of applying ethical approaches to molecular biology applications.

Goal 5 - Real-world application in the biotech industry:

  • Develop a results-oriented resume highlighting skills relevant to biotechnology positions.
  • Demonstrate effective interviewing skills to obtain employment in the biotech industry.
  • Understand and apply techniques to conduct a self-directed job search.
  • Apply knowledge and skills to day-to-day biotech industry operations.