Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Biotechnology, B.S.

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Science Hall II, Room 240

(760) 750-4103

Program Coordinator:
Moorthy Palanki, Ph.D.

Program of Study

The Biotechnology major is housed in the Biological Sciences Department. Biotechnology refers to the long practiced skill of applying our knowledge of the molecular basis of life processes for the benefit of society. While classic examples of biotechnology include using bacteria and enzymes to produce cheeses and using yeast to make bread and beer, modern applications exploit DNA-based technologies such as immunology, biochemistry, and microbiology to make new products or provide services to improve health care, agriculture, food, and the environment. Over the past 40 years, biotechnology has caused a profound revolution in science and has had significant technological and social implications.

Today, pharmaceuticals and vaccines are being designed through biotechnology to treat various cancers, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, obesity, and other conditions. Biotechnology is responsible for hundreds of medical diagnostic tests that keep the blood supply safe from the AIDS virus and detect other conditions early enough to be successfully treated. Home pregnancy tests are also biotechnology diagnostic products. Food and agriculture biotechnology has resulted in the development of crops that are naturally resistant to pests and viruses; more tolerant of environmental stresses such as drought, salinity, and extreme cold; and more nutritious and longer lasting than their conventional counterparts. Environmental biotechnology products make it possible to more efficiently clean up hazardous waste without the use of caustic chemicals.

The Biotechnology curriculum comprises courses selected from the curricula of the departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and the College of Business Administration. The core curriculum provides students with a solid foundation in molecular biosciences and biochemistry. It also introduces students to the applied technologies of fields such as molecular genetics/recombinant DNA technology, immunology/cell culture-hybridoma technology, biochemistry/protein purification methods, and DNA sequencing/computational biology.

Students are also exposed to fundamental business management and marketing theory as part of the core, and will develop skills and aptitudes important for success in the business arena. These include written and oral communication, problem solving, teamwork, leadership, flexibility, negotiation, and regulatory documentation. Since biotechnology-related industries are varied, the degree provides technical background and experience that can be applied across the diverse disciplines within the field, enabling students to adapt to their employment situation as it evolves or to move between the various biotechnology-related industries. The curriculum is meant to provide graduates with the knowledge and training needed to earn entry-level positions not only in research and development, but also in areas such as technical services, sales, marketing, management, operations, regulatory affairs, technical writing, quality control, and quality assurance.

Students in the Biotechnology degree program will have access to modern well-equipped laboratories and will gain experience using state-of-the-art instrumentation. The academic environment is enriched by a close faculty/student interaction and by the possibility of internship positions with biotechnology companies. Internship employment with a biotechnology company provides a valuable, real world, career-sampling experience. Student  research opportunities are also available in faculty laboratories and provide valuable training that will enable students to gain rewarding employment thereafter.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology will be able to:

  1. Apply fundamental knowledge of biology, biological processes, and the scientific method to solve problems in biotechnology.
  2. Integrate biological knowledge and concepts with the legal, ethical, and business perspectives of the biotechnology and life sciences industry.
  3. Work in groups or individually to develop written and oral presentations that effectively communicate scientific concepts and opinions using language appropriate to the discipline.
  4. Apply major quantitative and computational skills and tools to solve problems in the biotech and the life sciences industry.

Career Opportunities

A Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology from CSU San Marcos prepares students to succeed in entry-level positions in a number of market sectors, including pharmaceuticals, clinical diagnostics, environmental protection, medical therapeutics, scientific services, and scientific equipment and supplies. The degree will also enable graduates to pursue higher degrees in areas as diverse as Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Environmental Science, Molecular Biology, and Plant Science.


Freshman applicants must complete a comprehensive pattern of college preparatory study totaling 15 units with a grade of C (2.0) or better. Transfer students entering at the junior and senior level will be expected to have completed the equivalent of lower-division requirements elsewhere, including two semesters of biology, four semesters of chemistry, two semesters of physics, one semester of college-level calculus, and one semester of statistics.

Special Conditions for the Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology

All courses counted toward the major, including Preparation for the Major courses, must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better. No course counting for Major requirements may be taken for a grade of Credit/No Credit. A minimum of eighteen (18) units in biotechnology must be completed at CSUSM.

General Education* (48 Units)

General Education Requirements  

Major Requirements* (50-56 Units)

Minimum Total (120 Units)

Total Required 120

*Nine (9) lower-division General Education  units in Area B (Math and Science) are automatically satisfied by combinations of CHEM 150 , MATH 150 , and BIOL 211  when taken in preparation for the major. Three (3) lower-division General Education  units in Area D (Social Sciences) are automatically satisfied by either PSYC 100  or SOC 101 , which are also required as preparation for the major. Three (3) upper-division General Education  units in Area BB (Mathematics and Natural Sciences) are satisfied by students taking either CHEM 351  or CHEM 341 .

**Can be double counted toward a Minor in Chemistry

***Can be double counted toward a Minor in Supply Chain Management

+May be repeated for up to 4 units



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