Catalog • 2012-2013

Genetic Engineering - Major

For information, contact Dr. K. Joy Karnas

Program Description

The genetic engineering major is offered through the Department of Biological Sciences where state-of-the-art laboratories allow students to experience biotechnology first-hand. Genetic engineering students develop a basic understanding of molecular genetics as they explore the technology that has led us to recent advances in the field and discover how molecular biology impacts various other fields such as oncology, gene therapy, immunology, medical genetics, etc. All coursework and laboratories emphasize reading, questioning, analyzing, and evaluating assumptions along with development in technical writing and oral presentation skills. Research is a key component to the program’s success. Students are continually exposed to research throughout the completion of their coursework as all of the core courses are research-based, illustrating advances in the field through the interpretation of data. In addition, the lab courses include original research projects, some of which are self-designed by the students. Finally, the capstone experience is the development of a proposal to conduct an independent research project in a professor's lab. As part of the thesis option for the degree, students may choose to carry out this project during their senior year (see further information below), but the majority of the Genetic Engineering students opt to take several additional semesters of Independent Research, beginning as early as their sophomore year. Graduates from the Genetic Engineering Program, especially those who complete multiple semesters of independent research, are prepared for: (1) immediate employment as a research technician in an industrial or academic setting, (2) admission to graduate school, or (3) admission to a professional school.

Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Genetic Engineering Program is to provide undergraduate women with an intensive, progressive, and balanced learning experience in cellular and molecular biology, emphasizing theory and laboratory skills. Students develop technical expertise that allows them to directly enter the workforce as laboratory technicians, supporting current research in fundamental biological phenomena as well as applied science fields. Alternatively, the leadership skills developed through independent and collaborative thinking, when combined with the solid background in molecular genetics, prepares students for graduate work in genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, and other health-related disciplines. Regardless of their future direction, students are required to express their views effectively through written and oral communication, and engage in critical thinking activities that prepare all graduates for a lifetime of learning.

Program Requirements for the Genetic Engineering Major

In addition to a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade-point average, genetic engineering students must have a minimum average of 2.0 in the major. A grade of C- or better is needed for all courses that fulfill major requirements. Students must earn a grade of C- or better in prerequisite courses before proceeding to subsequent courses. Courses transferred in for all majors must be taken less than ten years ago.

Total number of credits required by program: 80 credits

Coursework Requirements for the Genetic Engineering Major

Biology Core Courses (51 credits)
BIO 121 Principles of Biology I 4 credits
BIO 122 Principles of Biology II 4 credits
BIO 235 Ecology, Evolution and Genetics 4 credits
BIO 236 Cell and Molecular Biology 4 credits
BIO 350 Junior Colloquium 2 credits
BIO 356 Science, Ethics & Society 3 credits
CHE 111 Chemical Principles 4 credits
CHE 112 Chemical Equilibrium and Analysis 4 credits
CHE 205 Organic Chemistry I 4 credits
CHE 206 Organic Chemistry II 4 credits
PHY 101 Introductory College Physics I 4 credits
PHY 102 Introductory College Physics II 4 credits
MAT 141 Calculus I 3 credits
MAT 142 Calculus II 3 credits

Genetic Engineering Core Courses (15 credits)
BIO 335 Molecular Genetics I 4 credits
BIO 336 Molecular Genetics II 4 credits
BIO 345 Advanced Recombinant DNA 3 credits
CHE 307 Biochemistry I 4 credits

Genetic Engineering Elective Courses (3 credits)
Choose two courses:
BIO 341 Mammalian Cell Culture and Microscopy 1.5 credits
BIO 343 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) 1.5 credits
BIO 344 DNA Sequencing 1.5 credits
BIO 347 Microscopy and Image Analysis 1.5 credits
BIO 349 Protein Purification and Analysis 1.5 credits

Genetic Engineering Elective Courses (11 credit minimum):
Choose three courses, two must contain a lab:
BIO 227 Microbiology
BIO 300 Evolution
BIO 313 Advanced Mendelian and Population Genetics
BIO 323 Advanced Bioinformatics
BIO 327 Microbial Pathogenesis
BIO 332 Developmental Biology
BIO 339 Biology of Cancer
NEU 348 Diseases of the Nervous System
CHE 308 Biochemistry II
CHE 348 Forensic Molecular Biology

Transfer students must take the following courses at Cedar Crest College:
BIO 335 Molecular Genetics I 4 credits
BIO 336 Molecular Genetics II 4 credits
BIO 345 Advanced Recombinant DNA 3 credits
BIO 350 Junior Colloquium 2 credits
BIO 356 Science, Ethics and Society 3 credits
Two Techniques Courses (see list above) 3 credits

Thesis Option

All students, particularly those who are interested in attending graduate school or obtaining a research-based job following graduation, are highly encouraged to participate in independent research, which may culminate in a thesis. The thesis option begins during the student’s junior year, as part of Junior Colloquium (BIO 350). As part of their thesis project, all students who select a major from the Department of Biological Sciences are required to develop a research proposal to investigate an original research question. This experience allows the students to go beyond the basic course information, select a problem that interests them, and apply what they have learned in their coursework to a novel situation. As part of the thesis option, students will spend a minimum of two semesters working with a faculty member to conduct the research outlined in their proposal. They will then develop a written thesis detailing their project, and present their final project to the department in the form of a seminar talk or poster.

The title of a student’s thesis will appear on her transcript will appear on her transcript if she completes two semesters (4 credits) of Independent Research (BIO 353) and one semester (1 credit) of Senior Thesis and Presentation (BIO 354) with grades of C- or better.

Other Minors and Majors

A concentration in Forensic Science is an option for Genetic Engineering majors. All students in the Forensic Science concentration must take the four core forensic courses (CHE 241, CHE 347, CHE 348, and CHE 361). Additional courses that are not already required for the Genetic Engineering major are Biostatistics (BIO 248) and Instrumental Analysis (CHE 302), Advanced Mendelian and Population Genetics (BIO 313), and Ethics (PHI 200). Two of these courses (CHE 348 and BIO 313 can be used to fulfill GE electives. In addition, there is a research requirement for the Forensic Science concentration. By completing the Thesis Option, as described above, Genetic Engineering students will satisfy this requirement. Please refer to the Forensic Science section of the catalog for details.

Genetic Engineering majors commonly minor in chemistry. This requires one additional chemistry course (CHE 331 or CHE 335). By fulfilling all of the other requirements for a major in Genetic Engineering (i.e.: C- or better in all courses), students will meet the remaining requirements for the chemistry minor. Please refer to the Chemistry section of the catalog for details.

A Genetic Engineering major is not allowed to complete a second major in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Biology, Integrated Biology, Neuroscience or Nuclear Medicine Technology, nor may she minor in Biology.

Liberal Arts Curriculum Requirements fulfilled within the Major

Students fulfill the Technology, Oral Presentation, and Information Literacy requirement through successful completion of the following required courses: BIO 122, BIO 235, BIO 236, BIO 350, and BIO 356. By successfully completing the Genetic Engineering major, students will also satisfy the Writing 2 (BIO 356), Natural Sciences (BIO 121/122), and Mathematics and Logic (MAT 141/142) requirements for the Liberal Arts Program.