Jerry Simecka, PhD, Graduate Advisor
Education and Administration Building, 247C
The Biotechnology program at UNT Health Science Center (UNTHSC) is a specialized master’s program designed to train individuals for careers in industry and research by providing the tools and experience needed for highly technical positions offered in emerging biotechnology companies, life science organizations, and research institutions. The Master of Science (MS) degree in the discipline of biotechnology is administered by the Department of Biomedical Sciences. The program is usually completed in two years. Students are only admitted in the summer semester.
The master’s degree in biotechnology will provide a strong foundation upon which to build a career. The rigorous curriculum focuses on providing students a broad-based view of the biomedical sciences, as well as in depth knowledge of lab management and industry practice, ethical issues, and laboratory skills necessary to prepare the student for a career in the biotechnology and life science industry. As part of the Biotechnology program, all students will complete a 2-semester (40 hours/week) internship practicum in biotechnology and use this experience to write a detailed internship practicum report pursuant to receiving the MS degree. The average time to complete the degree is 2 years. Students are only admitted in the summer semester. A comprehensive list of course requirements is available online.
Opportunities for Graduates in Biotechnology
Biotechnology in the United States is a dynamic industry and there are many opportunities for employment. When considering a career in biotechnology, most people think of a scientist in a white coat in a laboratory developing drugs to improve the quality of life. However, biotechnology has a wide variety of career opportunities ranging from sales and marketing, to research and development, to manufacturing and quality control and assurance. The biotechnology industry continues to flourish nationwide. The total number of biotechnology companies is increasing annually. Employment in the biotechnology field continues to grow as well.
There are many career options for someone with a graduate degree in biotechnology. Examples of potential careers include a biotechnical scientist working as part of a team of scientists under the direction of a group leader on a given product; a consultant providing advice and support in product development, process implementation, forensic analysis, manufacturing, and management recruitment and training; and an industry researcher helping to define the range and scope of new areas of research that may lead to new products.
Each student is responsible for the completion of the requirements for the program according to the procedures that follow. Each item must be completed in the sequence and time period indicated. Forms are subject to revision at any time and should be obtained from the GSBS Forms and Guidelines website.
- The admissions committee will review all applicants for acceptance into the MS in Biotechnology Program. A student must have a bachelor’s degree and must meet the general admission requirements as described in the catalog in effect at the time of application. All applications must be completed and received in accordance with the deadlines published in the academic calendar. A student admitted into the MS program in biotechnology must take a minimum of 9 semester credit hours (SCH) per long semester and 6 SCH during the summer (24 SCH/year).
- Students must be in good academic standing prior to be allowed to start their internship at a site (cumulative GPA 3.0). Exceptions to this rule can only be granted by the dean or his designee.
- By the end of the second summer semester or before, usually six weeks prior to starting the internship, the student will be assigned a major professor and an advisory committee consisting of the major professor and two other graduate faculty members. The names of these individuals must be filed in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) Office of Admissions and Services prior to starting the internship or no later than one week after starting. In addition, a degree plan must also be filed with the GSBS Office of Admissions and Services at this time.
- During the fall and spring semesters of the second year, the student will enroll in Internship Practicum (BMSC 5697; 9 SCH). The internship practicum will be completed at a site previously approved by the advisory committee. During this time, the student will gain experience in tasks associated with the application of biotechnology in an industrial setting.
- A formal research proposal describing how the practicum is to be spent must be approved by the advisory committee and submitted to the graduate school 6-8 weeks after starting the internship.
- At the end of Internship Practicum (BMSC 5997), students will present their work as both oral and written reports. The oral presentation will be open to the public and will then be followed by a private defense with the advisory committee. The student must submit a first draft of his/her internship practicum report and internship daily journal to the major professor prior to the public seminar for review. The major professor must approve the internship practicum report prior to the student submitting it to advisory committee members. The final written report should be given to the committee no later than two (2) weeks before the formal defense. Students should coordinate the reservation of a seminar room with the graduate school office no later than one (1) month prior to their defense. At this time the committee will either approve/or not approve the work of the internship and the practicum report. If disapproved, the student may have a chance to revise the report or repeat the practicum one time at the discretion of the committee. The major professor together with the other members of the committee will assign a letter grade to the practicum. The report must be submitted in accordance with the instructions for completing graduation requirements within the deadlines for graduation published in the academic calendar. A more detailed description of the internship practicum and report requirements may be found in the Internship Practicum Guidelines available on the GSBS Graduation website.
- It is strongly suggested that the student and major professor, as well as the major professor and the on-site mentor, communicate on a regular basis to review the student’s progress during the practicum.
Internship Practicum (BMSC 5697)
Internship Practicum (BMSC 5697) provides a hands-on training experience for the biotechnology student. The program director will identify approved, on-sight and off-campus internship opportunities in north Texas and will work to place students at suitable sites. From time to time, opportunities may exist in other parts of the state or country. It is also possible that occasional opportunities will exist on the campus. The internship takes approximately 2 semesters (32 weeks, 40 hrs/week) during which the student will be working under the direct supervision of an internship mentor at the internship location. UNTHSC does not offer any remuneration to the student when he/she is enrolled in BMSC 5697 and the student should not expect to be paid as an intern. The student is responsible for transportation to and from the site, whether it is on-campus or off-campus. Drug testing and a criminal background check are required before starting an internship. The student is expected to keep a laboratory notebook/daily journal during this experience. At the end of the practicum, the student will write a final practicum report detailing the activities of the internship. The student’s advisory committee must approve this report together with the laboratory notebook. The student must make a formal presentation to the advisory committee and defend the work at this time. A copy of the report must be submitted within the appropriate deadlines for graduation as published in the GSBS Academic Calendar.
In general, master’s students do not qualify for graduate assistantships. They are, however, eligible to apply for the Elena and Thomas Yorio Scholarship for First-Year Students and the Rachel Dauphin Memorial Scholarship (continuing students).