Department of Biology

Biotechnology


Careers

What can I do with my degree?
Is there a demand for bench scientists?
What is the job placement rate for your graduates?
How does your program prepare graduates for a career in biology?

What can I do with my degree?
The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biotechnology is designed to prepare you for a career in the growing biotechnology industry. Students with this degree are qualified to enter the workforce as bench scientists.

Recent advances in biotechnology and information technology are transforming the industries in which graduates of these programs work. In the 1980s, swift advances in basic biological knowledge related to genetics and molecules spurred growth in the field of biotechnology. Biological scientists using this technology manipulate the genetic material of animals or plants, attempting to make organisms more productive or resistant to disease. Research using biotechnology techniques, such as recombining DNA, has led to the production of important substances, including human insulin and growth hormone.

Many other substances not previously available in large quantities are starting to be produced by biotechnological means; some may be useful in treating cancer and other diseases. Today, many scientists are involved in biotechnology. Those who work on the Human Genome project continue to isolate genes and determine their functionality. This work continues to lead to the discovery of the genes associated with specific diseases and inherited traits, such as certain types of cancer or obesity. These advances in biotechnology have opened up research opportunities in almost all areas of biology, including commercial applications in agriculture, environmental remediation, and the food and chemical industries. (From the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2004-2005)

Is there a demand for bench scientists?
Expectations are high for new discoveries and new industries in the life science field. Just as the 20th century was the “Century of Chemistry and Physics,” the 21st is predicted to be “The Century of Biology.” Creative people with a strong foundation in the life sciences will be needed in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, medicine, environmental science and conservation.

There is a great demand for bench scientists in the St. Joseph area, as there are several life science industries. The life science field, a $4.5 billion yearly industry in St. Joseph, demands a significant number of scientific professional workers.

What is the job placement rate for your graduates?
The placement rate for graduates in this program is approximately 90%.

How does your program prepare graduates for a career in biology?
The Biology Department at Missouri Western offers state-of-the-art lab facilities, which have the capabilities to perform molecular cloning, DNA amplification, DNA sequencing and microarray analysis experiments.

Within the department, there is a great deal of positive interaction among students and faculty that relates directly to professional development in the life sciences and related fields. The department also provides a variety of internship opportunities. A high percentage of our students do individual research projects and make presentations of their findings at professional meetings. Faculty members have professional ties with industry and agencies that provide numerous opportunities for students.

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