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 mass.gov/lwd/unemployment-insur/programs-and-services-for-claimants.
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 104 Medical Terminology 1
Understanding medical terminology is fundamental for anyone working in the sciences. It is the language of the technician or researcher involved in biotechnology, biomedical investigations, or clinical research. Students learn the analysis and construction of medical words within a context of scientific concepts. After the basics, students learn the anatomy and diseases of the following systems: male and female reproductive, cardiovascular, respiratory, and blood. Technology fee applies to online section only. [ 2 cr. ]
GMS BT 106 Medical Terminology 2
Prereq: GMS BT 104 (Med Term 1) or consent of program director. Continue building your medical vocabulary as you learn the anatomy and diseases of the following systems: digestive, urinary, lymphatic/immune and endocrine. Technology fee applies to online section only. [ 2 cr. ]
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 160 Biotechnology 1
This course introduces students to the basic sciences of biotechnology (cell biology, immunology, DNA/molecular biology) and describes DNA technologies used in gene therapy and microarray technology and in the production of recombinant protein drugs, antibodies, vaccines, and transgenic animals/plants. The challenges of bringing protein drugs from R&D through large scale manufacturing and the FDA approval process are also discussed. First half of spring semester. [ 2 cr. ]
GMS BT 170 Biotechnology 2
Prereq: BT 160. Recent innovations in the fields of molecular biology, immunology and cell biology have provided new insights into the pathogenesis of cancer, infectious diseases, and other intractable diseases. The biotech industry has contributed immensely to this progress and has furthermore accelerated the development of cutting-edge technologies that promise to deliver more effective drugs, vaccines and diagnostics. Biotechnology 2 explores some of the ways in which biotechnology has impacted medicine. Students participate in this exploration through readings of recent scientific articles, class discussions and library/internet research. Second half of spring semester. [ 2 cr. ]
GMS BT 240 Current Good Manufacturing Practices and Quality Assurance
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. ]
GMS BT 290 Disease and Public Health
Prereq: GMS BT 104 or 106 Medical Terminology or equivalent or permission of program director. This course is designed to familiarize students with concepts of public health as a field of study and how different diseases impact society. We will use the Boston Public Health Commission report on the "Health of Boston" as a template for learning about healthcare disparities, social justice, cancer screening, cancer incidence and mortality, infectious diseases and environmental factors that impact people and population health. Students will begin to make connections between previous coursework, such as cell biology, pathology and anatomy, as well as new concepts, including epidemiology, immunology and experimental designs, as they pertain to the study of human disease. The goal of the course is to give students a knowledge-base that can prepare them for thinking critically should they decide to work in a research, diagnostic or public health setting. [ 4 cr. ]
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 406 Cytogenetics
Prereq: one semester of biology, intro biomed lab, and molecular biology or genetics, or consent of program director. Advanced course designed for those considering a clinical or research career in human genetics with an emphasis on clinical cytogenetics (chromosome testing). The course covers types of chromosome abnormalities, methodology, nomenclature and clinical significance in pregnancy, birth defects, and cancer. Laboratory work includes basic blood culture, chromosome preparation, banding, identification and karyotyping. The course also provides an updated review of latest cytogenetic methodology and applications, such as FISH, comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) and array CGH lab. Also offered at graduate level. Laboratory course. [ 4 cr. ]
GMS BT 407 Molecular Genetics
Prereq: BT 110 (Intro Biomed Lab Sci), BT 413 (Mol Bio), BT 436 (Genetics) or consent of program director. Advanced course designed for those considering a clinical or research career in human genetics. Emphasis is on clinical molecular genetics (DNA testing). The course covers types of genetic abnormalities, methodology, nomenclature and clinical significance in pregnancy, birth defects, and cancer. Laboratory work includes basic blood extraction, DNA preparation, gel electrophoresis, capillary electrophoresis, sequencing, and identification. The course also provides an updated review of latest molecular genetic methodology and applications, such as copy number analysis, chip based sequencing and next generation sequencing. Laboratory course. [ 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
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. ]
GMS BT 413 Techniques in Molecular Biology
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. ]
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 432 Basic Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease
Prereq: BT 104 and BT 342. This course is designed to familiarize students with the cellular and molecular basis of many different types of diseases, including infectious diseases and genetic disorders. Students begin to make connections between previous coursework, such as cell biology and anatomy. Students also learn new concepts, histology, and experimental design, as they pertain to the study of human disease. The goal of the course is to give student a knowledge base that can prepare them for thinking critically about pathology should they decide to work in a laboratory researching disease or to pursue further education in a disease-related field. [ 4 cr. ]
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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
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. ]
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. ]
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GMS BT 532 Histopathology
Prereq: BT 104 (Med Term) and BT 342 (Cell Bio), or consent of program director. The goal of the course is to give students a fundamental knowledge and practical experience of human histology, pathology and the techniques used to study cells and tissues in the normal and diseased state. This course familiarizes students with biospecimen processing and management at the organ, tissue, cellular and molecular levels. By studying different organs and organ systems, including: gastrointestinal, breast, respiratory, neuro-muscular, skin, brain, kidney and liver, students develop an understanding of the normal and diseased state at the macro and microscopic levels. Furthermore, the course provides hands-on experience, including: dissection, preservation, processing, microtomy, photomicroscopy, macro-photography, electron microscopy, and archiving. Students apply their understanding of medical terminology and cell biology. This course can help prepare a student for graduate work in pathology, for a Pathologists' Assistant program or for a career as a histotechnologists in a diagnostic or research laboratory. Laboratory course. [ 4 cr. ]