Master of Science in Biotechnology

Program Coordinator: Dr. Roger Greenwell
Phone: 508-929-8601

The Master of Science in Biotechnology is designed to broaden student understanding of the biological sciences and to prepare students for a professional career in Biotechnology or for doctoral study. Classes are usually held in the evenings and include lectures, laboratory experiences, research methodology, and seminars in current topics. Research, analytical, and communication skills are developed through original research, culminating in a written thesis and defense. In addition to the matriculated program, courses are open to students who hold a Bachelor’s degree in a biological subject, biotechnology, or chemistry.

A combined B.S./M.S. program is available for Worcester State University students majoring in Biotechnology. Please see the Undergraduate Catalog for further information on this program.

Prerequisites for Admission to the Program

To be admitted to the program, a candidate must meet the Worcester State University general admission requirements for the degree of Master of Science. To view these requirements please go to:

The program is open to graduates of accredited institutions of higher education who have been awarded a baccalaureate degree in Biology, Biotechnology, Chemistry, or a similar science major. Graduate study in Biotechnology at Worcester State University assumes sound undergraduate training and evidence of academic capability. Applicants are expected to have completed courses in Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I, Physics I and II, Microbiology, Cell and/or Molecular Biology (all with a laboratory component), Organic Chemistry II lecture course (no lab requirement), and math coursework up to the level of Pre-calculus. The applicant should have achieved a minimum grade point average of 2.75 in all undergraduate work and an average of 3.00 in all course work within his/her major and in the ancillary courses.


Program of Study for the Degree

The program of study includes 35 graduate credits in required and elective courses, research in biology/biotechnology culminating in an acceptable written thesis and thesis defense.

Of the 35 credits required for the degree, at least 22 credits must be earned as a matriculated graduate student at Worcester State University. Credits for which students have earned a “B-” or higher within a two year period immediately prior to the date of their acceptance into the program are transferable from an accredited institution, including credits earned at Worcester State University. A maximum of 12 such transfer credits may be accepted. Matriculated students who do not maintain a GPA 3.0 or higher or have two grades below a “B-” will be terminated from the program. All work for the degree must be completed within a period of six years from the date of admission to the program.

Degree Requirements required of all students

Required Courses

BI-921Biotechnology and DNA4
BI-927Tissue Culture Techniques4
BI-930Biological Chemistry3
BI-942Biostatistical Analysis3
or BI-943 Experimental Design
BI-996Thesis Research I3
BI-997Thesis Research II4
BI-998Thesis Writing2
BI/CH 900-Level Biology or Chemistry electives. One elective may include a Business course from the list below.12
Total Credits35

Elective Courses are from this list or others when approved by the faculty:

BI-915Topics in Advanced Botany4
BI-923Fermentation Technology3
BI-925Cell Physiology4
BI-935Biochemical Techniques3
BI-937Molecular Virology3
BI-980Selected Topics: Advanced Biology1-4
BI-981Independent Study in Biology/ Biotechnology1-6
BI-985Graduate Internship in Biology/ Biotechnology3-4
CH-990Special Problems in Chemistry3
CH-991Independent Study1-4
CH-996Internship: Chemistry3
BA-914Organizational Behavior3
BA-961Organizational Development and Change3
BA-960Leadership Theory and Skills3
BA-962Ethics and Social Responsibility of Leadership3

To fulfill requirements for the Program the candidate must complete 9 credits of Thesis Research and Writing coursework (BI 996, BI 997 and BI 998). Laboratory investigations are supervised by faculty in the laboratories at Worcester State University or by arrangement at another institution. The candidate must adhere to the form specified for the thesis by the Biology Department graduate faculty. The thesis will be defended in an oral examination conducted by the faculty.

During the semester in which the candidate anticipates receiving the degree, the following timetable for the thesis completion and defense shall apply:

A minimum of four weeks prior to the defense, the completed written thesis must be presented to the candidate’s graduate research advisor.  The comprehensive exam/thesis defense will be scheduled with the candidate's thesis committee, comprised of the thesis advisor, the program coordinator and another member of the program graduate faculty.  

A minimum of two weeks prior to the defense, the final copy of the thesis, with approval by the candidate’s graduate research advisor, will be submitted to the members of the candidate's thesis committee.

Comprehensive Examination/Thesis defense

The Master of Science in Biotechnology candidate is required to pass a comprehensive examination/thesis defense in the candidate’s area of specialization. At least twenty-four approved graduate credits must be earned before the candidate can submit a request for the scheduling of a comprehensive exam/thesis defense. If the candidate fails the examination, he/she will be granted one additional opportunity to fulfill this requirement. All work for the degree must be completed within a period of six years from the date of admission to the program.

Graduate Biotechnology Courses

BI-921 Biotechnology and DNA

Applications of recombinant DNA technology, together with business and industry information and government regulations. Includes a three hour laboratory.

Every year. 4 Credits

BI-927 Tissue Culture Techniques

Presents the most important techniques used for mammalian tissue culture by lecture and laboratory demostration and practice. The course also includes topics in plant tissue culture. (Prereq: BS in biological science)

Spring only and every year. 4 Credits

BI-930 Biological Chemistry

Concerns the physical, chemical, and biological properties and metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, DNA and RNA.

3 Credits

BI-936 Immunology

Recent advances in understanding the immune system will be covered. B.S. in a biological science is required.

3 Credits

BI-937 Molecular Virology

A study of virus families with emphasis on replication and and regulation of gene expression. B.S. in biology science required.

3 Credits

BI-938 Toxicology

A theoretical course presenting the principles and mechanisms of toxic damage to cells, organs and organisms.

3 Credits

BI-942 Biostatistical Analysis

Prerequisites: Undergraduate degree in Biology, Chemistry or related field Math at the level of college-level pre-calculus or higher.

Provides a foundation in biological data analysis and interpretation. Topics include probability, distribution, estimation, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, simple and multiple regression, basic multivariate techniques and vital statistics.

Fall only and every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

BI-943 Experimental Design

Prerequisites: Undergraduate degree in Biology, Chemistry or related field completion of a college course in statistics and completion of math which includes pre-calculus or higher level courses.

The underlying principles of how scientific investigations are conducted in order to maximize the validity of the results will be discussed. This course will cover the philosophy of science as it pertains to experiments, methods of experimental design, statistical inference, analysis and presentation of data, and clear communication of scientific results.

Fall only and every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

BI-950 Physiological Ecology

Considers the physiological adjustments which animals make in response to environmental factors; emphasizes the physiological basis of animal evolution and distribution.

3 Credits

BI-980 Selected Topics: Advanced Biology

Each topic is a timely and exciting new lecture and/or laboratory course. Topics will be announced in advance and will service needs in growth areas; e.g., biotechnology.

1-4 Credits

BI-981 Independent Study in Biology/ Biotechnology

Independent study or directed study on a topic of interest to both the student(s) and the instructor.

Other or on demand. 1-6 Credits

BI-985 Graduate Internship in Biology/ Biotechnology

Requires successful completion of a minimum of twelve graduate credits toward the degree and approval of the Biology faculty. Provides Master of Science candidates the chance to gain practical experience at off-campus agencies where technical and analytical skills can be gained.

3-4 Credits

BI-990 Seminar in Biology/Biotechnology

Study and discussion of current researches, books, and periodicals in the field of biology; includes reports of research in progress.

3 Credits

BI-995 Research in Biology/Biotechnology

Original research in biology under faculty supervision. Requires an acceptable written thesis or paper in publishable format.

1-6 Credits

BI-996 Thesis Research I

Prerequisites: Completion of at least four courses in the program, completion of BI-942 Biostatistical Analysis or BI-943 Experimental Design (or taken concurrently) and permission of the Program Coordinator. Matriculated students only.

Original research in biology or biotechnology under faculty supervision, leading to a thesis, written in an approved format. A research problem will be identified and a literature search conducted. Experiments will be designed, planned and preliminary research work performed.

Fall and Spring and every year. 3 Credits

BI-997 Thesis Research II

Prerequisites: BI-996 Thesis Research I, permission of Program Coordinator. Matriculated students only.

Original research in biology or biotechnology under faculty supervision, leading to a thesis, written in an approved format. Experimental laboratory work will be performed and results evaluated. This course is a continuation of BI 996 Thesis Research I.

Fall and Spring and every year. 4 Credits

BI-998 Thesis Writing

Prerequisites: BI-997 Thesis Research II, permission of Program Coordinator. Matriculated students only.

Original research in biology or biotechnology under faculty supervision, leading to a thesis, written in an approved format. The results of the project experiments will be organized and the findings will be communicated by writing a thesis in the approved format and presenting in an oral defense. This course is a continuation of BI 997 Thesis Research II.

Fall and Spring and every year. 2 Credits

BT-901 Directed Study: Biotechnology

Directed study offers graduate students, who because of unusual circumstances may be unable to register for a course when offered, the opportunity to complete an existing course with an established syllabus under the direction and with agreement from a faculty member. Variable credits.

Fall and Spring and every year. 1-12 Credits