• 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.

Professional Science, Biotechnology Concentration, M.S.

Saeed Foroudastan, Program Director
Professional Science
(615) 494-7618
Saeed.Foroudastan@mtsu.edu
Rebecca Seipelt-Thiemann, Program Coordinator
Biotechnology Concentration
(615) 904-8393
Rebecca.Seipelt@mtsu.edu

The College of Basic and Applied Sciences offers the Master of Science with a major in Professional Science (M.S.) with six concentrations: Actuarial Sciences, Biostatistics, Biotechnology, Engineering Management, Geosciences, and Health Care Informatics.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master in Science in Professional Science with a concentration in Biotechnology requires

  1. an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college with a major in biology or chemistry or another major. Student must have taken organic chemistry and at least three undergraduate courses related to biotechnology, including genetics;
  2. basic competency in word processing, electronic mail, library retrieval systems, presentation graphics, spreadsheets, and databases;
  3. the appropriate undergraduate preparation for advanced study of Biotechnology.

Once accepted into the College of Graduate Studies, students interested in the Master of Science in Professional Science program may enroll for one semester before being fully admitted to the program.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Applicant must

  1. submit application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
  2. submit official transcripts from all collegiate institutions attended;
  3. submit three letters of reference to graduate@mtsu.edu (or mail to College of Graduate Studies);
  4. submit an official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) report. A composite GRE score of 286 (current scale) or 900 (former scale) is expected for consideration for unconditional admission.

Degree Requirements

Once admitted to the program, each candidate must complete a minimum of 36 semester hours of graduate credit (see specifics in Curriculum section below).

Curriculum: Professional Science, Biotechnology

Candidate must complete 36 hours in the following course of study:

Core Courses (15 hours)

 

  • ACTG 6100 - Accounting and Legal Issues for Managers

    3 credit hours

    Surveys accounting skills and legal perspectives necessary for managers without undergraduate business degrees to enter the businessworld. Will not meet the requirements for the M.S. in Information Systems, M.Acc. in Accounting, or the M.B.A. degree programs.

  • BCED 6820 - Managerial Communication

    3 credit hours

    Analysis of communication theory and communication processes with emphasis on development of executive communication skills essential for understanding organizational processes from a holistic perspective. Covers organizational theory, behavior, and interpersonal communication from both a domestic and global perspective.

  • BCED 6910 - Internship Program

    3 credit hours

    A supervised program of related work experience. Provides experiential opportunities for the application of the theoretical concepts learned.

  • MGMT 6740 - Leadership and Motivation

    3 credit hours

    Issues in leadership and motivation in business organizations. An examination of the theoretical framework for leadership and motivation processes serves as foundation. Emphasis on practical issues and applications of leadership development and motivation.

  • STAT 5140 - Probabilistic and Statistical Reasoning

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Must be enrolled in the Master of Science in Professional Sciences program; graduate level. Focuses on probability and statistics concepts. Topics include binomial and normal probabilistic modeling; important statistical concepts such as confounding, randomization, sampling variability and significance; statistical testing of significant differences and associations; and design experiments to test research hypotheses.

Concentration Courses (21 hours)

 

Required (5 hours)

 

  • BIOL 5550 - Biotechnology  3 credit hours  

    BIOL 5550 - Biotechnology

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 2230/2231 and senior/graduate level. Instruction in both theory and application of current research methodologies in biology and molecular biology. Topics include immunochemistry, polymerase chain reaction, restriction enzyme analysis, and electrophoresis. Five hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6770 - Issues in Biotechnology

    2 credit hours

    Prerequisite: BIOL 4550/4551, BIOL 5550/5551, or 4750/BIOL 6750. Explores current and emerging issues in biotechnology. Students will be asked to solve problems drawn from biotechnology industry. Seminars, field trips, and case study work.

16 hours from the following:

 

  • BIOL 5460 - Human Genetics  3 credit hours  AND

    BIOL 5460 - Human Genetics

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: BIOL 3250/3251. Corequisite: BIOL 5461. Application of the fundamental laws of inheritance to humans. Two lectures and one two-hour laboratory.

  • BIOL 5510 - Food and Industrial Microbiology

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: BIOL 2230/2231. Corequisite: BIOL 5511. Interaction between microorganisms and food; industrial processes of human importance .Three hours lecture and two 1.5 hour laboratory meetings per week.

  • BIOL 6350 - Biostatistical Analysis

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 3250/3251; MATH 1910. Corequisite: BIOL 6351. Intermediate-level introduction to biostatistical procedures used in research. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory.

  • BIOL 6380 - Experimental Immunology

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: BIOL 2230/2231. Corequisite: BIOL 6381. Mechanisms of immunity including the more recent developments in immunology. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory.

  • BIOL 6390 - Advanced Cell and Molecular Biology

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 2230/2231, 3250/3251; CHEM 2030/2031 or 3010/3011. Corequisite: BIOL 6391. Molecular biology of the cell with emphasis on current experimental techniques. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory.

  • BIOL 6410 - Advanced Transmitting Electron Microscopy

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Ultrastructure of the cell using basic and specialized techniques. Seven hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6430 - Clinical and Pathogenic Microbiology

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: BIOL 2230/2231. Comprehensive coverage of the most recent discoveries and techniques used for the identification of pathogenic organisms and their relationships to disease processes. Six hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6440 - Advanced Virology

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 2230/2231; CHEM 1110/1111 and 1120/1121. Emphasizes the main virus families and their biochemical composition. Experimental approaches and techniques will be developed in order to identify and manipulate viruses. Six hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6450 - Advancements in Molecular Genetics

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 2230/2231 and 3250/3251; CHEM 1110/1111 and 1120/1121. Recent advancements in microbial genetics and gene manipulation with emphasis on applications of molecular genetics, including gene regulation and recombinant DNA technology. Six hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6500 - Special Problems in Biology

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of department. Plan, implement, and interpret a research problem in some area of biology. Available topics limited to areas of graduate faculty interest and expertise.

  • BIOL 6590 - Environmental Toxicology

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 1110/1111, 1120/1121; CHEM 1110/1111, 1120/1121, and 3010/3011. Ecological effects of chemicals in the environment and techniques currently utilized to assess these effects. Current environmental assessment techniques, including biomonitoring, will be covered in the laboratory. Six hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6650 - Seminar  1 credit hours  

    BIOL 6650 - Seminar

    1 credit hours

    Discussion and critical evaluation of the primary scientific literature. Responsible conduct of research topics including data management, publication practices, peer review, and collaborative science emphasized. One two-hour session.

  • BIOL 6660 - Seminar  2 credit hours  

    BIOL 6660 - Seminar

    2 credit hours

    Development of written and oral communication skills relevant to obtaining research funding and presenting research results. Responsible conduct of research topics including mentor/trainee relationships, human subjects, animal research, research misconduct, and conflicts of interest emphasized. Two one-hour sessions.

  • BIOL 6720 - Advanced Animal Development

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 3250/3251; BIOL 4210/4211 or BIOL 6390/BIOL 6391 recommended. Corequisite: BIOL 6721. Processes and underlying molecular mechanisms by which a single fertilized egg develops into an adult organism. Focuses on vertebrate development, including insights gained from other model organisms. Three hours lecture and two hours lab.

  • BIOL 6730 - Advanced Microbial Physiology and Biochemistry

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 2230/2231; CHEM 1110/1111, 1120/1121, and 2030/2031 or 3010/3011 or consent of instructor. Survey of the physiology and biochemistry of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms. Six hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6750 - Advanced Plant Biotechnology

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 1110/1111, 1120/1121, 3250/3251. Processes and reasoning behind the human manipulation of plant species for agricultural and technological purposes. Topics include traditional breeding techniques, tissue culture, plant cell transformation, and general plant molecular biology techniques as well as current debate over genetically modified organisms. Six hours lecture/laboratory.

  • BIOL 6760 - Bioinformatics  4 credit hours  

    BIOL 6760 - Bioinformatics

    4 credit hours

    Prerequisites: BIOL 1110/1111 and 1120/1121 and CSCI 1170 or consent of instructor. Explores the emerging field of bioinformatics which involves the application of computer science to biological questions. Bioinformatics applies to the computational aspects of data gathering, processing, storage, analysis, and visualization methods used in revising and testing biological hypotheses. Student should have a strong background in either computer science or biology, be willing to learn about the other field in an accelerated fashion, and be willing to work cooperatively as part of an interdisciplinary team. Four hours of lecture/problem solving per week.

  • CHEM 6510 - Biochemistry II  3 credit hours  

    CHEM 6510 - Biochemistry II

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: CHEM 6500. The structure of lipids, amino acids, nucleotides, and nucleic acids and their metabolism at a molecular level. Emphasis on understanding the chemical basis of biological phenomena. Three hours lecture per week. Offered every spring.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

  • CHEM 6530 - Biochemical Techniques

    2 credit hours

    Prerequisite/corequisite: CHEM 6500 or CHEM 6510 or consent of instructor. Laboratory in biochemical techniques with emphasis on protein purification, enzyme kinetics, carbohydrate and lipid analysis, and manipulation of DNA. Offered every spring.

    NOTE: Graduate standing is the prerequisite for graduate courses in chemistry. The 5000-level courses also have the same prerequisites as listed for the corresponding 4000-level courses in the undergraduate catalog.

Program Notes

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan in the College of Graduate Studies prior to entry into the program;
  2. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which candidate intends to graduate.

Dr. Elliot Altman
Professor
elliot.altman@mtsu.edu
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Dr. Frank C. Bailey
Professor | Director, Forensic Science Program
frank.bailey@mtsu.edu
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Dr. Sarah Bergemann
Associate Professor
sarah.bergemann@mtsu.edu
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Dr. Matthew Elrod-Erickson
Associate Professor | Biotechnology Admissions Coordinator
matt.elrod-erickson@mtsu.edu
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Dr. Mary B. Farone
Professor
mary.farone@mtsu.edu
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Dr. Anthony L. Farone
Professor
anthony.farone@mtsu.edu
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Dr. Jason R. Jessen
Associate Professor | Director, Molecular Biosciences Ph.D.
jason.jessen@mtsu.edu
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Dr. Jeff Leblond
Professor
Jeff.Leblond@mtsu.edu
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Dr. Erin E. McClelland
Assistant Professor
erin.mcclelland@mtsu.edu
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David E. Nelson
Assistant Professor
David.E.Nelson@mtsu.edu
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Dr. Anthony L. Newsome
Professor
anthony.newsome@mtsu.edu
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Dr. J. Brian Robertson
Assistant Professor
james.robertson@mtsu.edu
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Dr. Mohamed (Moh) Salem
Assistant Professor
mohamed.salem@mtsu.edu
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Dr. Rebecca L. Seipelt-Thiemann
Professor | Biotechnology Coordinator
rebecca.seipelt@mtsu.edu
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Dr. Stephen Wright
Professor
stephen.wright@mtsu.edu
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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)
SECOND COURSE SET (ANY ORDER IS FINE)
  • 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
Matt.Elrod-Erickson@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-898-5402


Dr. Saeed Foroudastan
Program Director
Saeed.Foroudastan@mtsu.edu

Phone | 615-494-7618

Rebecca Seipelt
Biotechnology Coordinator
Rebecca.Seipelt@mtsu.edu

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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