Jul 13, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Biotechnology, M.Bt.*

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Faculty Classroom Building, 6-108

(760) 750-4020

Program Director:
Betsy Read, Ed.D.

Program Support:
Erika Ervin
Al Kern, Ph.D.

Program of Study

The Master of Biotechnology is a professional science degree program designed to meet the needs of the biotechnology industry and associated organizations. The program combines advanced study of related science, professional preparation, business, and real-world experience for biotechnology-oriented students. The purpose of the degree is to prepare students for careers in technology-related organizations with a breadth of workplace knowledge.

Throughout the program, students will be exposed to real-world problems/applications, teamwork/communication skills, leading-edge technologies, managerial/interpersonal skills, informatics, ethics, industrial knowledge, and problem-solving skills.

The rigorous program is taught in the evenings and on weekends to accommodate the working student. The program design is a cohort model that requires students to go through the program together over a five-semester period with a predetermined course sequence. It is a non-thesis degree program requiring a rigorous “Internship or Semester-In-Residence” project.

Each student will be guided and evaluated by an Advisory Committee that will be made up of university faculty, program instructors, and industry mentors, as well as program advisors.

*This program is offered through the Office of Extended Learning.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

The student who graduates with a Master of Biotechnology will be able to:

  1. Apply concepts and principles of the sciences that are fundamental to the discipline of biotechnology.
  2. Describe the procedural and operational uniqueness of the highly regulated life science industry.
  3. Employ quantitative, analytical and decision-making skills to solve problems in the life science and technology-oriented business sector.
  4. Assess different leadership styles and the skills and techniques used to manage teams, budgets, projects and decisions in a business environment.
  5. Apply communication principles and skills to translate and present both orally and in writing, scientific concepts, data and information for intended audiences.
  6. Identify regulatory, societal and environmental issues and their impact upon biotechnology advances, product offerings and business.

Admission Requirements and Application

Admission to the program requires an undergraduate degree with a major in a bioscience or chemistry or related area. Alternatively, applicants with B.A./B.S. degree in a related field with a minor or equivalent work/certification experiences may be considered for conditional admission. While a minimum of a baccalaureate degree is required, applicant evaluation will consider pertinent background, prerequisite courses, and the likelihood for successful completion of the program. Generally, applicants should have courses or experience in:

  • Molecular Cell Biology or Molecular or Cellular Biotechnology
  • Microbiology
  • Statistics
  • Chemistry/Biochemistry

Applicants who have not completed an upper-division biochemistry course may be required to take CHEM 341  or CHEM 351 .

Specific Admission Criteria:

Applicants must meet the general requirements for admission to graduate studies at CSUSM, including an official score report of the General GRE.

An undergraduate grade point average in all completed science and math courses of at least 2.75 or a GPA of at least 3.0 in the last 35 semester units of science and math.

All applicants, regardless of citizenship, who do not possess a bachelor’s degree from a post-secondary institution where English is the principal language must satisfy the English language proficiency requirement via one of the three following methods:

  1. TOEFL passing score: A score of 80 internet-based (iBT), 213 computer-based (CBT), or 550 paper-based (PBT). Scores above 15 on the Writing section of the iBT will be considered on a competitive basis. Test scores must be sent directly from ETS; please visit the ETS web site at www.toefl.org for detailed information and test locations. Our school code is 5677.
  2. IELTS passing score: An overall band score of 6. Be sure to let us know when you take the test and provide us with your Test Report Number (TRN) so we can electronically download the scores. Please visit the IELTS web site at www.ielts.org/ for testing dates and locations.
  3. ALCI TOEFL waiver: If you are interested in applying for conditional admission through our American Language Culture Institute (ALCI) (English Language Program), please be sure to contact the Extended Learning Office. You can learn more about conditional admission through ALCI by visiting the ALCI web site at www.csusm.edu/alci/.

Applicants must provide the following information:

  • Application Form
  • One set of official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  • Official scores reports of the General GRE
  • Two letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s capacity for academic and professional success
  • One-page statement from the applicant on the reason for pursuing a Master of Biotechnology

Student candidates may apply at any time throughout the year. However, selection and admission will be completed by early May for the Fall semester start. Later applications will be considered, as spaces remain available. Feedback to applicants, but not final admission decisions, will be provided on a timely basis regardless of the time of application.

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement – Graduate Level (GWARGL)

Students need to fulfill the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement – Graduate Level (GWARGL) before advancing to candidacy. Please refer to Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement – Graduate Level (GWARGL)  for more information regarding this requirement.

Advancement to Candidacy

The student will advance to Master’s Degree candidacy upon the completion of 23 semester credit hours of coursework, satisfying the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR), and approval of a Project Abstract by the student’s Advisory Committee. The GWAR may be completed either by an acceptable standardized test score for the Analytical Writing subtest of the GMAT or GRE, or a paper(s) that receive(s) a passing score as described in university policy.


Graduate students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 and earn at least a C (2.0) in each course, except those taken for credit/no credit. Any student whose overall GPA falls below 3.0 for two consecutive semesters will be dropped from the program. A full-time student should be enrolled in the predetermined course schedule and credit hours each semester for the program. In addition, a project report must be submitted, defended, and approved at the end of the Internship or Semester-In-Residence. In unusual circumstances where project requirements are not completed, defended, and approved at the end of the Internship or Semester-In-Residence, the student may complete the requirements within six months under the guidance of the advisory committee.

Degree Requirements and Courses

The Master of Biotechnology requires thirty-eight (38) semester hours of coursework and project-oriented work experience with a local life-science entity. Additional hours are available for those who need extra lab experience or to meet project demands. Students must complete a set of courses and project work experience with a 3.0 GPA and earn at least a C (2.0) in each course. Predetermined advanced level courses and credit hours are:

Elective Courses

In addition to the predetermined advanced-level courses and credit hours defined above. Additional elective courses are available to students.


In lieu of a thesis, the candidate must successfully complete a culminating 16-week “Semester Internship/Residency Project” requiring a project proposal, performance assessment, and a final written report with an oral defense. Student projects address and affect a real-world problem in the life science industry demonstrating students’ ability to integrate principals of science and technology with fundamental business practices. The type of experience and the nature of the project vary depending upon the student’s current situation, employment, and right-to-work status.

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