Biotechnology, Certificate of Adv. Study


Department of Biology

John V.H. Constable, Chair
Science Building, Room 106
FAX: 559.278.3963

Degrees and Programs Offered

BS in Biology, B.S.
CERT in Biotechnology, Certificate of Adv. Study
CRED in Professional Clear Foundation Level General Science
CRED in Single Subject Credential - Biological Science
MBT in Biotechnology, M.Bt.
MN in Biology, Minor
MS in Biology, M.S.

Courses Offered

The Department of Biology offers diversified undergraduate and graduate programs that matches the breadth and excitement of modern biology and prepares students for the hundreds of career opportunities that use biology as a foundation. The Bachelor of Science degree is awarded to those students who successfully complete the biology core and additional requirements and electives.

The undergraduate biology major we offer has three programmatic goals:

  1. To provide students with a solid foundation in all aspects of modern biology and also the intellectual skills that will serve as the basis for a lifetime of future achievement.
  2. To provide students with the specialized educational opportunities that will allow them to compete successfully for careers in the biological sciences or for advanced studies in major doctoral programs.
  3. To provide preprofessional students with the knowledge needed for advanced study in the many fields that build upon a biological foundation.

Our undergraduate biology major is excellent preparation for graduate programs in clinical laboratory science, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, optometry, doctoral programs, and many others. The department offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in biology and a professional science Master of Biotechnology for qualified students who wish to explore some part of biology in greater depth.



The department is housed in a well-equipped science building.  Among the specialized equipment and technologies available for students are Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) thermocyclers; apparati for conducting molecular and immunological analysis of nucleic acids and proteins; genetic recombination, including use of electroporation and gene guns; a bioinformatics computing laboratory; a proteomics work station; cell and tissue culture facilities; fermenters and bioreactors; fluorescence, confocal and 4-D microscopes; ultracentrifugation; radioactive materials methodologies; and metabolic studies on all types of life forms.  Excellent greenhouse and animal care facilities, as well as media/reagent production complexes, support the instructional and research programs. 

Fresno’s proximity to both the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific coast provides a natural laboratory with numerous field trip opportunities that are rarely equaled at other institutions. High Sierra, Mediterranean, desert, foothill, coastal, and forest environments are all within a three-hour drive of the campus. The department maintains a wealth of field equipment to observe and collect wild organisms. A self-contained pond ecosystem offers a unique, on-campus study resource. The department also maintains extensive collections of museum specimens of insects, vertebrates and a herbarium.


Biotechnology Certificate Program Requirements

The Certificate of Advanced Study in Biotechnology is a postbaccalaureate, one-year, laboratory-intensive program of study consisting of eight specified courses among the M.Bt. program courses. Students may not receive both the M.Bt. and the Certificate of Advanced Study in Biotechnology.

Students interested in entry-level biotechnology careers may pursue the certificate to acquire a breadth of relevant technical skills and knowledge for enhanced career options. Students with advanced degrees (M.S., Ph.D., J.D., M.D.) may expand their skills for specific careers. Students interested in research careers in biotechnology fields are encouraged to supplement a disciplinary master's degree with the certificate. Double-counting of courses for the certificate and the master's degree is possible, but 9 units independent of master's degree coursework must be reserved for the certificate.

Admission Requirements for the Certificate. All admission requirements for the M.Bt. apply except that the prerequisite courses are limited to categories 1-4, and the minimum for admission to the program is two courses, i.e. general genetics and biochemistry lecture. All prerequisite courses must be completed for the certificate award.

Certificate Requirements

Set program of study (20 units)
(See M.Bt. program requirements on this page for specific courses.)
M.Bt. Core requirements IA and IB (8 units)
M.Bt. Courses IIA, B, C, F (12 units)


Faculty expertise spans the range of biology from the molecular to the ecological, with a broad representation of taxonomic specialties. Laboratories in most upper-division majors’ courses are taught by faculty, and individualized student/faculty research participation through independent study is strongly encouraged.

Faculty members have garnered independent research funding from various agencies including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Sea Grant. Faculty and students also participate in collaborative studies on, for example, medical and clinical topics with local physicians and hospitals; agricultural topics with the University of California Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Agricultural Research Service San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center in Fresno/Parlier; ecological and environmental topics with California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service and Endangered Species Recovery Program; and science educational topics with regional school districts and state and national credentialing agencies.

For faculty phone numbers and e-mail, see the campus directory.

For more on the faculty, see the faculty pages.
The faculty pages are updated by the department or program.