The biotechnology core curriculum provides predoctoral students with an integrated, interdisciplinary education in biotechnology. Students apply to the core curriculum after they have been admitted as full-time students in any of the biological, physical, or mathematical science doctoral programs in the Graduate School-New Brunswick. Upon graduation, students within the core curriculum receive a Ph.D. in their primary field (e.g., microbiology, biochemistry, chemical engineering) with specialization in biotechnology. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the subject matter, the program has specific course guidelines, laboratory rotations, and seminars. These features ensure that students not only receive a solid education in their core disciplines, but also that they graduate with the cross-disciplinary skills needed to translate basic-science discoveries into technological applications.
The course structure is flexible. Formal course requirements include a minimum of 6 credits in molecular and cellular biology, 3 credits in biophysical chemistry, and 3 credits in engineering or computer science. During each term they are enrolled, all students must complete two laboratory rotations and enroll in 16:126: 603,604 Topics in Advanced Biotechnology. The laboratory rotation gives students broader exposure to the methods of biotechnology. The topics course, on the other hand, provides students with in-depth exposure to developments in biotechnology and gives them more opportunity to interact with faculty members. Students work closely with a faculty mentor from the participating faculty list on a dissertation topic. The research training focuses on protein production, tissue engineering, drug design and delivery, and biomolecular engineering. Students in the core curriculum are expected to have a science background that includes one year of college mathematics, one year of biology, three years of chemistry (general, organic, physical), and one year of physics.