In California, biotechnology programs can often be found as bachelor's degree, master's degree and post-bachelor's certificate programs; though less common, studies are also available via associate degree and undergraduate certificate programs. Biotechnology students learn to apply biological science to fields such as medicine, genetics and pharmaceuticals, and emphasis areas may be available in stem cell research, plant biotechnology, microbial biotechnology, animal biotechnology and bioinformatics. Depending on the credential earned, graduates could seek careers as biotechnology technicians, research scientists or biomedical engineers. Below are overviews of seven of the largest schools in California with programs in biotechnology, as well as a comparison table showing individual school offerings and tuition information.
California State Polytechnic University - Pomona
California State Polytechnic University in Pomona is about 26 miles west of Los Angeles and has a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program in biotechnology. Students take upper-division coursework from 6 clusters, including molecular biology and genetics, microbiology and pathology, biochemistry and molecular separation, physiology, agriculture and business. One of these clusters can be chosen as a specialty. Program participants also might be eligible to complete a biotechnology lab internship. Cal Poly also offers a Master of Biotechnology (MBt) program in applied biotechnology studies. This 2-year professional master's degree program, a joint offering with California State University - Fullerton and California State University - Los Angeles, prepares students to work with biomedical devices and biopharmaceuticals.
California State University - Fresno
California State University's Fresno campus is located in central California and offers a 2-year professional MBt program through the school's biology department. Students in the program are able to take advantage of research opportunities in agricultural biotechnology, medical diagnostics, environmental biotechnology, regulatory affairs and forensic biotechnology. Required core courses cover molecular biology, new venture management and biotechnology. Students must also complete a project or thesis and an internship. Some of the electives available include industrial biotechnology, nucleic acids, quality assurance in the food industry, plant micropropagation and bioethics.
California State University - Fullerton
The California State University campus in Fullerton, about 30 miles from Los Angeles, offers a joint MBt program in applied biotechnology studies with California State Polytechnic University - Pomona and California State University - Los Angeles. The collaborative nature of this program allows students to take advantage of the expert faculty and facilities of 3 university campuses. In addition to science-based education, students learn business skills in project management and industry regulations. Program participants also complete an internship and an applied master's project. Concentrations are available in molecular biology and biochemistry, informatics and biomathematics, analytical chemistry, engineering, business and regulatory affairs.
California State University - Los Angeles
The California State University campus in Los Angeles offers a post-baccalaureate certificate program in biotechnology that highlights genetic engineering. The 26-credit program includes required classes in gene manipulation and genetic engineering. Some of the electives offered include molecular diagnostics, cell physiology, microbial genetics, virology and bacterial physiology. This campus also offers the MBt program in applied biotechnology studies in cooperation with Cal Poly and CSU - Fullerton.
California State University - San Marcos
The San Marcos campus of California State University is located near San Diego and offers a B.S. program in biotechnology with prospects for undergrad students to participate in a stem cell research internship. The bachelor's degree program educates students for entry-level work in fields such as research and development, technical writing and regulatory affairs. Some of the classes include studies in molecular genetics, DNA technology, immunology and DNA sequencing, as well as business fields like marketing, management and product development. The competitive stem cell research internship allows students the opportunity to work in stem cell research labs at the San Marcos campus for a full year while enrolled at the university.
University of California - Davis
Located about 75 miles northeast of San Francisco, the University of California's Davis campus is home to the Seed Biotechnology Center, which focuses on research in agricultural seed development. The university offers a B.S. program in biotechnology with concentrations in plant biotechnology, microbial biotechnology, animal biotechnology and bioinformatics. While the university doesn't have a graduate program in biotechnology, a designated emphasis in biotechnology (DEB) program coordinates with the biotechnology department to give doctoral students recognition for training in the field. The DEB program exposes students to bioethics, biotechnology law and even internships with Davis-area biotechnology companies.
University of California - Irvine
Roughly 45 miles south of Los Angeles, the University of California at Irvine has a Master of Science (M.S.) program in biological sciences with a concentration in biotechnology. Students in this program explore animal and microbial cell cultures, DNA technology, protein isolation, virology and immunology. They are also able to assist in research projects during the second year of the program. An emphasis in stem cell research is also available. Participants in this emphasis can take advantage of the Irvine campus Stem Cell Research Center, which has state-of-the-art tissue culturing facilities and advanced equipment and is dedicated to training students in stem cell research.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Biotechnology Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|California State Polytechnic University - Pomona||4-year, public; large suburb|| Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology,
Master of Biotechnology in Applied Biotechnology Studies
| $7,353 in-state; $19,233 out-of-state (undergrad tuition)*
$8,787 in-state; $18,291 out-of-state (graduate tuition)*
|California State University - Fresno||4-year, public; large city||Master in Biotechnology||$8,021 in-state; $17,525 out-of-state (graduate tuition)*|
|California State University - Fullerton||4-year, public; large suburb||Master of Biotechnology in Applied Biotechnology Studies||$8,320 in-state; $17,824 out-of-state (graduate tuition)*|
|California State University - Los Angeles||4-year, public; large city|| Certificate in Biotechnology,
Master of Biotechnology in Applied Biotechnology Studies
|$8,183 in-state; $17,687 out-of-state (graduate tuition)*|
|California State University - San Marcos||4-year, public; large suburb||Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology||$7,713 in-state; $19,593 out-of-state (undergrad tuition)*|
|University of California - Davis||4-year, public; small suburb|| Bachelor of Sciences in Biotechnology,
Doctoral Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology
| $14,402 in-state; $43,394 out-of-state (undergrad tuition)*
$13,570 in-state; $28,672 out-of-state (graduate tuition)*
|University of California - Irvine||4-year, public; midsize city||Master of Science in Biological Sciences (Biotechnology)||$13,344 in-state; $28,446 out-of-state (graduate tuition)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.