Biotechnology Undergraduate Certificate

The Undergraduate Certificate in Biotechnology is designed for professionals looking to acquire additional skills and knowledge in one of Massachusetts’ strongest growth industries.

Students who complete the Certificate in Biotechnology will be able to demonstrate:

  • Proficiency in communicating and applying the scientific principles that form the foundations of the biotechnology field.
  • Resourcefulness in researching and evaluating relevant and scientifically sound information from a variety of databases and academic sources.
  • Competence in identifying appropriate career and continuing education goals based on prior education and work experience; self-assessment of academic, technical, and professional skills; and knowledge of the biotechnology industry.

Biotechnology certificate candidates should have at least two years of college, with biology, chemistry, and math, or equivalent work experience.

Please contact the program director for additional information.

Unemployed? A Section 30-Approved Training Program

Boston University’s Certificate in Biotechnology is an approved training program under Section 30 of the Massachusetts Unemployment Insurance Law. Section 30 allows the Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) to waive an active work search by claimants who meet certain eligibility requirements. In addition, claimants can continue to collect their UI benefits while in approved training. For information about the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development Training Opportunities Program (TOP), or for a list of Section 30-approved training programs, visit

Program Requirements

Students in the Biotechnology Undergraduate Certificate program must complete a minimum of 16 credits. Admittance to a certificate program requires submission of a résumé and application, as well as an interview with the program director, to help determine the student’s goals and design the appropriate curriculum.

Below are examples of courses from which to choose:

GMS BT 110 Introduction to Biomedical Laboratory Sciences

Prereq: One semester of biology, two semesters of chemistry and BT 208 (Ess. Math for Biotech) or consent of program director. Provides a theoretical and practical foundation in laboratory science. Students are introduced to the scientific method, laboratory mathematics, chemistry, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, and immunology. Students learn hands-on solution making, electrophoresis, protein quantitation and other commonly used laboratory methods. Emphasis is placed on lab safety, proper handling of instruments, careful following of written instructions for lab procedures, maintenance of lab notebooks, and data collection, presentation and analysis. Laboratory course.  [ 4 cr. ]

GMS BT 240 Current Good Manufacturing Practices and Quality Assurance
Sprg ‘15

Prereq: BT 110 (Intro Biomed Lab Sci). This course provides a detailed knowledge of the role of Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) and a Quality Department in the development and manufacture of biopharmaceutical products. Topics include the goals and obligations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a review of the CGMP subparts, and the responsibilities of a Quality Department in ensuring product quality. CGMPs are the FDA's minimal requirements for manufacturing, processing, packing, and holding of a drug product. Emphasis is on understanding the intent and practical application of these regulations. Topics include the regulations and historical perspective, quality control concepts, case studies and examples of FDA enforcement.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Gallant L 206 S 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
GMS BT 404 Medical Virology

Prereq: one semester of biology, two semesters of chemistry, and BT 110 (Intro Biomed Lab Sci). Focuses on techniques used to isolate and identify viral pathogens associated with human disease. Covers the biology, the immune response to viral infections, the genetics of viral replication, and viral pathogenesis. *Offered every other year.  [ 4 cr. ]

GMS BT 408 Immunology

Prereq: BT 342 (Cell Bio) and BT 413 (Mol Bio) or consent of program director. Cell culture techniques and knowledge of genetics is recommended. This course emphasizes the molecular and cellular interactions involved in immune response. Topics covered include innate immunity, antibody structure and function; applications of monoclonal antibodies in biotechnology and medicine; gene rearrangements in Band T cells; cellular cooperation and the role of MHC; tolerance; and immunopathology (hypersensitivity, autoimmunity, transplantation, AIDS, cancer immunity and immunotherapy). Lab techniques include Flow Cytometry (FACs), ELISA, cell proliferation and death, and assays of immune function.   [ 4 cr. ]

GMS BT 411 Protein Purification and Analysis
Sprg ‘15

Prereq: BT 110 (Intro Biomed Lab Sci) and BT 208 (Ess. Math for Biotech). Biochemistry and elementary physics are recommended. Familiarizes students with the theory and application of many biochemical techniques involved in protein purification and characterization, such as chromatography (ion exchange, gel permeation, hydrophobic affinity), electrophoresis and blotting techniques. Students learn to think critically about methodology, design a purification scheme, scale it up, and troubleshoot an existing plan. Special problems with recombinant proteins are also covered. The laboratory component includes a wide variety of conventional methods for protein isolation, purification, and characterization. Laboratory course.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 LEC Sandor R ARR R 5:30 pm – 8:20 pm
A1 LAB Sandor R ARR T 5:30 pm – 8:20 pm
GMS BT 413 Techniques in Molecular Biology
Sprg ‘15

Prereq: one semester of biology, two semesters of chemistry and BT 110 (Intro Biomed Lab Sci). The course is comprised of a lecture part focusing on the structure, function, and analysis of DNA and RNA and a laboratory component in which students isolate, analyze, and manipulate DNA and RNA in the test tube. Experiments include the isolation of genomic DNA and RNA, followed by their analysis through gel electrophoresis, spectrophotometry, PCR, and blotting techniques. Students are introduced to recombinant DNA technology through bacterial transformation, plasmid preps, mapping of plasmids by restriction digests, and purification of recombinant protein from bacteria by column chromatography. The course also includes a bioinformatics component in which students use a web platform to access various genetic databases, retrieve genetic sequence information and analyze the sequences using free software for translation and restriction enzyme mapping. Laboratory course.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 LEC Contreras Ru L ARR T 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
A1 LAB Contreras Ru L 209 R 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
GMS BT 426 Medical Microbiology

Prereq: one semester of biology and two semesters of chemistry. Provides the student with an understanding of clinically important microorganisms. Students become familiar with the classification, pathogenicity, identification, and prevention and treatment of diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, and parasites as well as the workings of a modern clinical microbiology laboratory. Laboratory course.  [ 4 cr. ]

GMS BT 436 Human Genetics

Prereq: one semester of biology and two semesters of chemistry, BT 342 (Cell Bio) or BT 413 (Mol Bio). This course focuses on human genetics with a strong emphasis on the relationship between DNA structure, disease manifestation, and inheritance. The course reviews the molecular mechanisms underlying the flow of information within a cell from DNA to protein, population genetics, genetics of immunity and cancer, reproductive technologies, epigenetics, genomics and cancer stem cells. The class includes lectures and student presentations.  [ 4 cr. ]

GMS BT 454 Cell Culture Techniques
Sprg ‘15

Prereq: one semester of biology, two semesters of chemistry, BT 110 (Intro Biomed Lab Sci), BT 208 (Essential Math for Biotech) & BT 342 (Cell Bio). This course gives students a foundation in cell culture techniques used in modern cell culture labs. Topics include aseptic technique, freezing and thawing of cell stocks, passage and maintenance of cells, and culture of adherent and suspension cells. Emphasis is on practical hands-on experience. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to understand and follow basic cell culture protocols. Laboratory course.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 LAB Fry R ARR MW 5:30 pm – 8:20 pm
GMS BT 465 Cell Signaling in Health and Disease

Prereq: One semester of biology and two semesters of chemistry, BT 342 (Cell Biology) or BT 413 (Molecular Biology). Many pathological conditions such as diabetes and cancer are caused by perturbations in signal transduction cascades. These cascades convert extracellular signals into changes in gene expression and alterations in cell physiology. The proteins that participate in signal transduction cascades interact in a dynamic, regulated fashion to form multi-protein complexes that allow information processing. This course aims to present in a comprehensive manner, the major signal transduction pathways, their cross-talk, as well as their contribution in maintaining cellular homeostasis. In addition, we will highlight perturbations of these pathways that could lead to development of different diseases as well as the molecular logic that underlies current and future therapies.  [ 4 cr. ]

GMS BT 484 Advanced Cell Culture Techniques

Prereq: one semester of biology, two semesters of chemistry, BT 454 (Cell Culture) and BT 413 (Mol Bio) or consent of program director. Cell culture has become an indispensable tool for all areas of biomedical science. In the course, students develop the necessary routine for work in a cell culture lab by passaging cell lines throughout the course and determining growth characteristics under different conditions. At the same time, students isolate and analyze biomolecules from these cell lines and perform experiments using advanced techniques, such as transfections, reporter gene assays, as well as a variety of optical assays (absorbance, luminescence, and fluorescence assays). At the end of the course, students communicate their work and results during a poster session. Laboratory course.  [ 4 cr. ]

GMS BT 520 Biology of Cancer

Prereq: BT 405 (Biochem) and BT 413 (Mol Bio) or consent of program director. This course focuses on the cellular and molecular changes that underlie the development and progression of human cancer. Students examine the pathways and processes that involve oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes to understand how they can contribute to cancer. Complex interactions including angiogenesis, tumor immunology, invasion and metastasis are studied as well. In addition,the course covers targeted approaches to cancer therapy and the latest scientific research including cancer epigenetics, microRNAs and cancer stem cells.  [ 4 cr. ]

View all  Biomedical Laboratory & Clinical Sciences undergraduate courses.