Every living organism, from bacteria to redwoods and humans, contains DNA as its primary genetic material. DNA directs all the cellular processes creating the great diversity of life that fills the biosphere. The integrated, multidisciplinary field of biotechnology represents new advances in understanding and controlling these life processes through the development of exciting new technologies. Biotechnology's current and potential applications include enhancing nutritional quality of food crops; strengthening resistance to disease in economically important plants and animals; and increasing crop and livestock productivity.
The biotechnology major develops practical skills that make graduates highly attractive job candidates for companies in agricultural, food and beverage industries; health care; chemical, pharmaceutical and biochemical industries; and environmental analysis and remediation industries. Graduates also apply successfully to graduate and professional schools in molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, medicine and plant and animal sciences.
At the lower division level, you will develop a strong background in general biological sciences, emphasizing basic concepts of genetics, molecular biology, cell biology and recombinant DNA technology. You will choose an animal, plant or microbial biotechnology system as your special focus at the upper division level. Each track of study requires significant hands-on experience including a mandatory internship in a biotechnology company or research laboratory.