About the Biotechnology Master’s Program
Program Coordinator: Dr. Yehia Mechref, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Director of Center for Biotechnology and Genomics
Texas Tech University offers an interdisciplinary Master of Science in Biotechnology degree designed to prepare students for a laboratory research career in biotechnology, or to enhance their graduate credentials as preparation for further professional degree programs. In addition, the School of Law and the Graduate School offer a dual-degree program leading to the degrees of Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and Master of Science in Biotechnology .
The Texas Tech Center for Biotechnology and Genomics administers the Master of Science in Biotechnology, with an emphasis in bioinformatics as an additional option. The degree program is offered with a concentration in an intensive research experience (either completed as a Research Concentration in Life Sciences or a Research Concentration in Bioinformatics), or a coursework-based degree program designed to be completed in one year if desired.
The research-based concentration is a two-year program (38 credit hours), with the first two semesters consisting of required and elective coursework. The second year (nine to 12 months) is devoted to research (and possibly additional advanced coursework). Students may satisfy the research requirement in either of two ways: (1) complete an M.S. thesis, based on research carried out in the laboratory of a participating faculty member, or (2) complete a non-thesis internship in a research laboratory on campus, an industrial research laboratory, a government laboratory, or a not-for-profit foundation laboratory. Students who select a non-thesis option must pass a comprehensive final exam during their fourth (or final) semester.
The coursework-based M.S. program concentration is comprised of 30 credits of graduate coursework consisting of required and elective classes. All students selecting this option must enroll in a capstone course designed to prepare students to integrate the skills and knowledge learned from their coursework and synthesize new concepts and innovate ideas, products, and processes. Students who select a non-research, 30-credit option must pass a comprehensive final exam during their second (or final) semester.
Students may focus some of their elective courses in a minor (e.g., Communication Studies) to create a program tailored to their future professional goals. Options should be carefully discussed with the director and/or graduate advisor of the center.
The core curriculum (required courses for all students) consists of an introductory lecture course (BTEC 5301 ), an introductory lab course (BTEC 5338 ), a course on the ethics of research (CHEM 5104 ), a bioinformatics course (BTEC 5322 ), and a course in scientific communication (BTEC 5100 ). The remaining coursework requirements are satisfied by selections from a broad list of approved electives offered by the Center for Biotechnology and Genomics or other departments.
Students interested in the program should have an undergraduate degree that provides a sound background in biological sciences, preferably from a molecular perspective. A minimum of one semester of organic chemistry is required. A second semester of organic chemistry and at least one semester of biochemistry or cell biology and one semester of molecular biology/molecular genetics are highly recommended. Admission will be based on the student’s undergraduate record and GRE scores and on other considerations such as previous research experience and letters of recommendation. Applications should be submitted through the Office of Graduate Admissions.
Scholarships: A limited number of scholarships will be available at the start of the fall semester for outstanding first-year students, with preference given to students enrolled in the 38-credit research-based concentration. Students awarded these competitive scholarships will be eligible to pay tuition at the in-state rate. Applications are available to both Texas residents and non-residents and are evaluated holistically by the Biotechnology and Genomics Scholarship Committee.
Concentrations: Students interested in hands-on experience in biotechnology (Concentration in Research) will carry out research leading to an internship or thesis in Biotechnology (either in Bioinformatics or Life Sciences). In addition to the credit hours required for academic coursework, these Research concentrations necessitate 18 credit hours of research — BTEC 7000 in combination with BTEC 6000 (thesis) or BTEC 6001 (internship).