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Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology - Major

For information, contact Dr. André Walther, awalther@cedarcrest.edu, 610-606-4666, ext. 3513

Program Description

The Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology major is offered through the Department of Biological Sciences where state-of-the-art laboratories allow students to experience biotechnology first-hand. Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology 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. Students often supplement their coursework with an independent research experience, often beginning as early as their freshman year, and the majority of the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology students opt to spend two or more years working with a faculty member conducting original research projects that they then present at scientific conferences. This work can count towards the thesis option for the degree (see further information below). Graduates from the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology 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 and Biotechnology 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, prepare 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 and Biotechnology Major

In addition to a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade-point average, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology 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. Any student who withdraws from a course or earns a grade lower than a C- may repeat the course only one time. 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 Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Major

Biology Core Courses (51 credits)
BIO 123 Foundations in Biology 4 credits

BIO 124 Principles of Cell and Molecular Biology 4 credits
(Students with Advanced Placement credit for BIO123 and/or 124 are required to take the BIO123 and 124 Labs.)
BIO 239 Animal Ecology, Development and Evolution 4 credits
BIO 231 Genetics 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 and Biotechnology 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
*CHE 217 Principles of Biochemistry may substituted for BIO 307 with advisor approval
Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Technique 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 349 Protein Purification and Analysis 1.5 credits
Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Elective Courses (11 credit minimum):
Choose three courses; two must include a lab:
BIO 227 Microbiology 4 credits
BIO 300 Evolution 3 or 4 credits
BIO 313 Advanced Mendelian and Population Genetics 3 credits
BIO 323 Bioinformatics 4 credits
BIO 327 Microbial Pathogenesis 3 or 4 credits
BIO 332 Developmental Biology 3 or 4 credits
BIO 339 Biology of Cancer 3 credits
BIO 348 Diseases of the Nervous System 3 or 4 credits
CHE 308 Biochemistry II 3 or 4 credits
CHE 348 Forensic Molecular Biology 4 credits
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). Most majors from the Department of Biological Sciences require students 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.
Requirements towards fulfilling the thesis include: a.) two semesters (4 credits) of Independent Research (BIO 353) or b.) two semesters of Independent Research (BIO 243) and one semester 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 and Biotechnology majors. All students in the Forensic Science concentration must take the four core forensic courses (CHE 241, CHE 347, CHE 348, and CHE 349). Additional courses that are not already required for the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology major are Biostatistics (BIO 248), Instrumental Analysis (CHE 302), and Ethics (PHI 200). One of these courses (CHE 348) can be used to fulfill a Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology elective. In addition, there is a research requirement for the Forensic Science concentration. By completing the Thesis Option, as described above, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology students will satisfy this requirement. Please refer to the Forensic Science section of the catalog for details.
Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology 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 and Biotechnology (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 and Biotechnology major is not allowed to complete a second major in Environmental Conservation (B.S. or B.A.), 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 123, 124, 239, 231, 350, and 356. By successfully completing the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology major, students will also satisfy the Writing 2 (BIO 356), Natural Sciences (BIO 123/124), and Mathematics and Logic (MAT 141/142) requirements for the Liberal Arts Program.

Program Outcomes

All Majors within the Department of Biological Sciences have the following three outcomes:

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Major Outcomes


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