• Students benefit from professors’ different research interests
  • Biotechnology master’s prepares leaders for bioscience firms, labs
  • MTSU’s state-of-the-art science building makes program even more promising
  • Students give presentations after work experiences

Biotechnology M.S.

Biotechnology studies help prepare students for careers in the management of bioscience firms and organizations. Biotechnology is among six concentrations leading to the Master of Science (M.S.) in Professional Sciences at MTSU. The program is a combination of business and science to offer training to work in leadership roles in scientific companies and agencies. Opportunities with the Biotechnology master’s degree include research science positions in laboratories applying biotechnology to problems in medicine, industry, and agriculture, as well as management positions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. The program features industry experience in a 250-hour internship that is completed prior to graduation instead of a thesis or comprehensive exams. Coursework includes classes in the specific scientific concentration, along with a business management core. A limited number of graduate assistantships are available.

Alumni find biotech jobs right out of program

Alumni find biotech jobs right out of program

Biotechnology M.S. graduate Tyler Hill was hired full-time after his internship at Advanced Breath Diagnostics and later moved into management with the pharmaceutical startup. Hill interned with scientists researching a 13-Carbon labeled algae biomass that is used as a chemical marker in a novel diagnostic breath test. “This gave me real-world, practical work experience as well as first-hand knowledge of what it is like to work in such a regulated industry,” he says. Hill, a music business major until his undergrad biology class, didn’t want to stay in academia but didn’t want to limit his possibilities of advancement as a technician. Program alum Dr. Karen Beasley Maynard worked as a research assistant at Vanderbilt University Medical Center 18 months before beginning MTSU’s Molecular Biosciences Ph.D. program. The Biotechnology program provided a “realistic timeline” and a chance to be employed quickly for the single mom of a 4-year-old. “It offered the best combination of science bench work with the skills needed to manage a lab,” she says. Beasley Maynard earned a STEM master’s scholarship and her graduate work resulted in a publication.

Students get variety of research opportunities

Students get variety of research opportunities

Biotechnology students get experience through lab research, teaching, and internships. Shannon Smith has worked with Dr. Rebecca Seipelt-Thiemann on genetics research, Dr. Karen Maynard on the evolutionary genetics of the M1 aminopeptidase family, and Dr. Aubrey Cahoon on plant tissue cultures. Smith helped teach genetics, will continue working with Dr. Elliot Altman during his Ph.D. research with the goal of producing economically valuable plant tissue for industry, and developed science outreach with MTSU’s Center for Environmental Education during his internship. Smith will pursue the Molecular Biosciences doctorate and intends to start a plant biotech business. Mahsa Majedi, who worked in a microbiology lab after earning her bachelor’s in Iran, is helping Altman and his doctoral student Ashley Elliott Cole with research related to neurodegeneration diseases. They are studying the impact of molecular chaperones to assist new and misfolded proteins to fold into their correct conformation. Both Majedi and Smith chose MTSU’s program for its courses covering business aspects as well as lab techniques. The new science building and professors’ different research interests give MTSU the “potential to be bigger and better,” Majedi says.

With the growth of positions in the biotechnology industry in Tennessee and nationwide, the demand for persons with training in both biological science and management is expected to grow significantly. Jobs may be found in agricultural, chemical, environmental and pharmaceutical research and industries. Examples of some occupations with this degree include

  • Biochemist
  • Bioinformatician
  • Biomedical engineer
  • Biophysicist
  • Biotechnology/pharmaceutical sales rep
  • Biotechnology lab technician
  • Clinical trials manager
  • Consultant
  • Corporate manager
  • Crime lab technician
  • Environmental scientist
  • Epidemiologist
  • Food scientist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Marketing executive
  • Microbiologist
  • Pharmaceutical analyst
  • Process development specialist
  • Quality control analyst
  • Quality control engineer
  • Regulatory biomanufacturing specialist
  • Research and development scientist
  • Research associate
  • Research facility director
  • Senior scientist
  • Technical manager
  • University/research professor

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • Aegis Sciences Corporation
  • Biogen Idec
  • Calhoun Community College
  • Columbia State Community College
  • East Tennessee State University
  • Emory University
  • Encapsula Nanosciences
  • ESC Lab Sciences
  • Genetics Associates, Inc.
  • McGraw-Hill Education
  • Microbial Discovery Group
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Novus International
  • Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Unilever
  • S. Department of Agriculture, Iowa
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center

The Master of Science (M.S.) with a major in Professional Science includes a business core with specific concentrations in Actuarial Sciences, Biostatistics, Biotechnology, Engineering Management, Geosciences, and Health Care Informatics.

The M.S. in Professional Sciences is a new type of two-year degree in the sciences and mathematics to equip people for work in public and private business enterprises and in academia. The goal for this degree, started initially with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is to enhance the interface between science and business by emphasizing expertise in both areas.

Applicants in Biotechnology must have for unconditional admission

  • An undergraduate degree with a major in biology or chemistry or another major.
  • Completion of a course in organic chemistry and at least three (3) undergraduate courses related to biotechnology, including genetics.
  • A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of 268 (current scale) or 900 (former scale). Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is not accepted.
  • Basic competency in word processing, electronic mail, library retrieval systems, presentation graphics, spreadsheets, and databases.

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.

Suggested Curriculum - Full Time

Fall Year 1 (9-10 credits)  Spring Year 1 (9-11 credits)
  • Core Course: MGMT 6740 or BCEN 6820 (3 credits)
  • BIOL 5550 Biotechnology (3 credits)
  • Biotech Elective (3-4 credits)*
  • Core Course: STAT 5140 or ACTG 6100 (3 credits)
  • Biotech Elective (3-4 credits)*
  • Biotech Elective (3-4 credits)*
Fall Year 2 (12-13 credits)  Spring Year 2 (6 credits)
  • Core Course: MGMT 6740 or BCEN 6820 (3 credits)
  • BIOL 6770 Issues in Biotechnology (2 credits)
  • Biotech Elective (3-4 credits)*
  • Biotech Elective (4 credits)*
  • Core Course: MGMT 6740 or STAT 5140 (3 credits)
  • BCEN 6910 Internship (3 credits)

Suggested Curriculum - Part Time

First Course (given all semesters including SUMMER
  • BIOL 5550 Biotechnology (3 credits)
  • Core Course: BCEN 6820 (3 credits)
  • Core Course: STAT 5140 or ACTG 6100 (3 credits)
  • Biotech Elective (3-4 credits) *
Third course set (any order is fine)
  • Core Course: BCEN 6820 (3 credits)
  • Core Course: MGMT 6740 or ACTG 6100 (3 credits)
  • Biotech Elective (3-4 credits) *
  • Biotech Elective (3-4 credits) *
  • Biotech Elective (3-4 credits) *
  • Biotech Elective (3-4 credits) *
Last courses (this order only or concurrent)
  • BIOL 6770 Issues in Biotechnology (2 credits)
  • Core Course: BCEN 6910 Internship (3 credits)

*Biotech electives are chosen by the student and his/her advisor with the student's professional goals in mind. A listing of these can be found under the REQUIREMENTS tab.

Contact and Student Information

Matthew Elrod-Erickson
Biotechnology Admissions Coordinator

Phone | 615-898-5402

Dr. Saeed Foroudastan
Program Director

Phone | 615-494-7618

Rebecca Seipelt
Biotechnology Coordinator

Phone | 615-904-8393

College of Basic and Applied Sciences
ATTN: Dr. Saeed Foroudastan
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 83
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

College of Graduate Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 42
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

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