CMU launches new biotechnology program to meet growing industry demands

| Author: Robert Wang | Media Contact: Robert Wang

The College of Science and Engineering at Central Michigan University is proud to announce the launch of a new and innovative Biotechnology program, set to commence in Fall 2024. This innovative program is designed to equip students with the technical skills and professional development needed to thrive in the rapidly expanding biotechnology sector.

Revolutionizing education and career readiness

Biotechnology leverages biological systems and organisms to develop new products and methods that enhance human health and society. This interdisciplinary field is transforming medicine, agriculture, food production, and environmental management. CMU's new program aims to harness this potential by preparing students for immediate entry into the workforce with a strong emphasis on laboratory-intensive, hands-on technical skills.

Meeting industry needs

The decision to introduce this program comes in response to significant industry demand. According to MichBio, the bioscience industry in Michigan alone provides over 39,000 jobs and has a total economic impact exceeding $28 billion. Nationally, biotech firms employ over 1.66 million people, generating approximately $140 billion in revenue.

“The new Biotechnology major is an exciting opportunity for our students,” said Dr. Steven Gorsich, chair of the Department of Biology at Central Michigan University. “Our students are motivated to learn these hands-on skills, and employers are eager to hire biology graduates from CMU.”

Curriculum highlights

Our new Biotechnology program will offer students a comprehensive education, blending advanced technical laboratory skills with professional development. Key courses include:

  • BIO 115 Exploring Biotechnology: An overview course providing insights into the diverse applications of biotechnology.
  • BIO 215 Career Pathways in Biotechnology: A course focused on developing professional skills, including resume building, interview preparation, and understanding bioethics.

The curriculum also mandates an internship or research experience, ensuring that students gain real-world, experiential learning that is highly valued by employers.

Diverse career opportunities

Graduates of the Biotechnology program will find opportunities across various sectors, including:

  • Medical and Laboratory Sciences: Clinical or laboratory technician, DNA analytics, medical equipment development, basic and applied research.
  • Agriculture and Food Production: Food, plant, and animal research and development, greenhouse, and field specialist roles.
  • Environmental Science: Environmental remediation and quality control.
  • Sales and Marketing: Technical service and sales representative roles.
  • Hands-on learning and industry support

This new program stands out for its hands-on, experiential learning approach. All elective courses include laboratory components that emphasize problem-solving and troubleshooting, preparing students for real-world challenges. This approach is expected to attract students interested in a focused major that offers explicit career preparation.

The program also benefits from robust support and feedback from the Biotechnology Industry Advisory Board, staffing firms, and survey data from current students and alumni. This feedback has been instrumental in shaping a program that meets both educational and industry needs.

Program launch

We’re set to offer BIO 115 in Fall 2024, followed by BIO 215 in Spring 2025. The full program will be available starting in Fall 2024, providing students with an unparalleled opportunity to dive into the dynamic field of biotechnology.

For more information about the Biotechnology program at CMU, prospective students and interested parties are encouraged to contact the Department of Biology at 989-774-3227.

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