Biotechnology is generally offered through courses or as a concentration within a biology degree program. These programs are usually available at 4-year schools at the bachelor's degree level, though master's and associate's degree programs are also available. In addition to classroom work, students also gain practical experience through labs and research. In some cases, students may get the opportunity to pursue an internship or other work experience.
Biotechnology combines the study of cellular and molecular biology and applies it to a variety of industries. Some of these applications include developing products to fight illness, expanding the use of clean fuels, designing sustainable products and creating environmentally responsible manufacturing processes.
Read the following short overviews about the four colleges and universities in Oregon with programs that can train students in biotechnology.
George Fox University
George Fox University is a private non-profit, Christian school located in Newberg, about 25 miles outside of Portland. The university has a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program in biology that can prepare students for careers in a variety of fields, including biotechnology. Coursework in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biological exploration and math is required.
Students can opt for a general biology track, but those interested in a biotechnology career might consider a concentration in cell and molecular biology, which may include courses in genetics, microbiology, neuroscience, ecology and/or zoology. Other concentrations are available in systems and structural biology, as well as ecology and field biology.
Portland Community College
The largest school in Oregon is Portland Community College (PCC), which is located about eight miles from downtown Portland. PCC has three campuses and seven training centers, and it offers associate's degree and certificate programs in biotechnology at its Rock Creek campus near Hillsboro. The 107-credit Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program in bioscience technology offers electives in immunochemical methods, recombinant DNA, cell cultures, protein purification and quality control in manufacturing. Students also participate in a required work experience. Graduates can seek positions as biotechnology lab technicians in the areas of research and development, testing and manufacturing or they can transfer to Portland State University and pursue a bachelor's in biology.
In addition, PCC has a career training certificate program for those preparing to become bioscience technicians. This 19-credit program incorporates many of the same courses included in the A.A.S. program. Other required classes include biotechnology safety, lab techniques and quality systems in biotechnology.
Oregon State University
Situated in the large city of Corvallis, this public university offers a plethora of programs related to biotechnology. There is a Professional Science Master's program and a minor in applied biotechnology. In molecular and cellular biology, there is a MS, minor, and PhD. In biology and ecological engineering, there is a MS, MEng, and PhD. Biochemistry and biophysics offers a MA, MS, minor, and PhD. Finally, there is MA, MS, minor, and PhD in microbiology.
Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University (SOU) is located in Ashland, about 15 miles north of the California border, and it offers a bachelor's program in biology with an option in cell and molecular biology. This concentration is designed for the student who plans to work in biotechnology or who intends to pursue graduate study in the biological sciences. Students choosing this option may take classes in developmental biology, microbiology, animal physiology, immunology and biochemistry, as well as chemistry, math and physical science. Program participants can choose to earn a B.S. or a B.A. in Biology.
Undergrads have access to research equipment and labs at the school's Biotechnology Center. This interdisciplinary research center is offered by the biology and chemistry departments and provides hands-on research opportunities in areas such as DNA sequencing, cloning and environmental biotechnology.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Biotechnology Degree Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|George Fox University||4-year, private not-for-profit; fringe town||Bachelor of Science in Biology (cell and molecular biology track)||$33,142*|
|Portland Community College||2-year, public; large city|| Certificate in Bioscience Technician,
Associate of Applied Science in Bioscience Technology
|$3,766, in-state; $8,374, out-of-state*|
|Oregon State University||4-year, public; large city|| Applied Biotechnology PSM, Minor,
Molecular and Cellular Biology MS, Minor, PhD,
Biological and Ecological Engineering, MS, MEng, PhD,
Biochemistry and Biophysics, MA, MS, Minor, PhD,
Microbiology, MA, MS, Minor, PhD
|$10,107 in-state, $28,767 out-of-state* ($13,722 in-state, $22,524 out-of-state, graduate tuition)*|
|Southern Oregon University||4-year, public; midsized suburb|| Bachelor of Science in Biology (cell/molecular option),
Bachelor of Arts in Biology (cell/molecular option)
|$8,145, in-state; $22,365, out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.