Biotechnology Certificate Program

The Biotechnology Certificate Program (BCP) is a competitive, limited enrollment program emphasizing close supervision and instruction in current theoretical and practical training in molecular life sciences. It was established in 1986 to meet the personnel requirements of the rapidly expanding Bay Area biotechnology industry. 

Each course within this program is fifteen weeks in length, and most courses have a minimum of 90 hours of hands-on training. The current curriculum was designed after extensive consultation with representatives from academic and commercial laboratories in biotechnology.

Students who are interested in careers biotechnology but do not want to commit to a three-year MS program should consider the Biotechnology Certificate Program in Biological Science. 

The Program is staffed by research faculty from the Departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry. The majority of the BCP faculty have active externally-funded research programs in the molecular life sciences.

Application to the Program generally requires a baccalaureate degree in biology or chemistry, including completion of the following prerequisites:

  • Microbiology (with laboratory)
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics (within the last 3 years)
  • Cell or Molecular Biology (within the last 3 years)

Complete a University application at CSUMentor and a departmental application (click here). Both are due by April 15 (late BCP applications will be accepted through May 1). Students wishing to also pursue an MS in Biological Sciences can apply to both (see online application) but keep in mind that Master program applications are due April 15 (late applications will not be accepted). BCP applications will be reviewed after the MS/MA application review is complete (during the first week of May).

The 20-unit Biotechnology Certificate Program is designed to be completed in a typical academic year of two semesters.

Fall Semester

  • BIOL 601A - Foundations in Scientific Research (1 unit)
  • BIOL 415 - PCR, Sequencing and Fragment Analysis (3 units)
  • BIOL 424 - Bioinformatics (3 units)
  • BIOL 616 - Cell and Molecular Biology I (3 units)

Spring Semester

  • BIOL 601B - Foundations of Scientific Communication (1 unit)
  • BIOL 425 - Techniques in Mammalian Cell Culture (3 units)
  • BIOL 622 - Advanced Molecular Techniques (3 units)
  • BIOL 620 - Functional Genomics (3 units)

Exit Exam

Completion of all required courses and a GPA of B or higher is a prerequisite for taking the exit exam.

The BCP exit exam is administered once a year,during the Monday and Tuesday after finals week. The exit exam consists of 7 sections, one for each of the required courses (excluding 601A and 601B);and one section of calculations relevant to the cell and molecular biologist. There are no units associated with the exam.

The calculations section will be offered on the first day of the exit exam. This section will be graded on the spot. Any errors found can be redone during day one. You must get 100% correct on this section in order to proceed to the second day of exams. The grading scale for the remaining sections are as follows: + (1 point), +/- (0.5 points), or - (0 points). A minimum of 4 points is required to pass the BCP exit exam and obtain the Biotechnology Certificate.

Please download the BCP Handbook which contains more detailed information about the application process and program policies.

Department of Biological Sciences

Science Building North 429
Department Office: 510-885-3471

Program Coordinator

Dr. Maria Gallegos