Biotechnology Laboratory Certificate Program


The Biotechnology Laboratory Technician certificate consists of five classes (16 semester units) and a seminar series. It is designed to train individuals with the skills necessary to secure entry-level positions in biotechnology as Lab Technicians or Research Assistants. The program curriculum provides an overview of the industry and the functions of biotechnology and pharmaceutical laboratories in research, manufacturing and quality control. The current offering of the Certificate of Competency program is designed to be a cohort model where the selected group goes through pre-determined course sequence together.  The Certificate program may be completed in a little over two semesters of study including the Science Boot Camp(approximately eight months).


  • To enable transitioning students to compete for laboratory technician/research assistant positions in biotechnology-related industries.

  • Provide guidance from trained faculty with solid foundation in biotechnology and industry.  Train students in a facility with state-of-the-art equipment.

  • Maintain up-to-date lectures, techniques and subjects in the rapidly advancing technologies through guest and expert lecturers from the industry.

  • Provide the non-traditional/working students with convenient program offerings.

  • Deliver students that are successful in the workplace.

Program Requirements

It is generally expected that the applicant has completed two years of college courses or earned an associate degree which included some basic sciences in Biology, Chemistry and Math.  Experience or proficiency in these areas will be considered for meeting the qualifications. Prerequisite courses are:

  • General Chemistry (CHEM 150)
  • Organic Chemistry (CHEM 201/202)
  • Introduction to Cellular & Molecular Biology (BIOL 210)
  • Introduction to Organismal & Population Biology (BIOL 211)

The following credit courses are required to achieve the certificate and must be completed with a grade point average of a "C" or better.  All 16 units of the program are fully transferable academic units, and all of the units may be counted toward the CSUSM undergraduate degree in Biotechnology.

  • BIOT 355 | Molecular Biotechnology with Lab- (4 units)

In-depth treatment of the fundamental molecular techniques in use in the field of biotechnology.  Designed to give hands-on experience as well as conceptual background in biotechnological methods.  Subjects covered include: nucleic acid isolation, vectors, cloning, library screening, hybridizations PCR, sequencing, sequence analysis and bioinformatics, and transgenic organisms.  Other subjects will vary to reflect current practice and developments in biotechnology.  Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory.

Prerequisites: BIOL 210 and 211 or equivalent

  • BIOT 356 | Cellular Biotechnology with Lab - (4 units)

In-depth treatment of the fundamental cellular techniques in use in the field of biotechnology. An overview of the drug discovery process is presented together with theoretical and practical aspects of specific technologies.  Included in lecture and laboratory instruction are the physiology of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, culture of bacterial, plant, insect and mammalian cells, genetic engineering and expression systems, hybridomas, fermentation and scale-up technology, separation technology, protein purification, and immunochemistry.  Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory.

Prerequisites: BIOL 210 and 211 or equivalent

  •  BIOT 357  Foundations of Biotechnology (2 units)

A review of biotechnology applications and product development in the life science industry.  Topics will include: 1) the process of bringing a product to market from concept to sales; 2) laws, regulations, ethics, and social issues pertaining to the discovery, development, testing, manufacturing, and commercial distribution; 3) skills of technical writing, Standard Operating Procedures and documentation of regulatory, quality assurance, and intellectual property; and 4) employment opportunities.

Prerequisites: BIOL 210 and BIOL 211 or equivalent

  • BIOT 358 | Computer Skills for Biotechnology - (3 units)

Designed to introduce and explain the application of computational and analytical methods to solve problems in biotechnology.  Many of the popular software tools employed in biotechnology and informatics research will be covered.  The theoretical basis governing the use and importance of these tools will also be covered.

Prerequisites: BIOL 210 and 211 or equivalent              

  • CHEM 341 | Introduction to Biochemistry - (3 units)

    The object of this one semester course is to introduce students to the fundamental concepts and language of Biochemistry.The areas covered are (but not limited to): basic thermodynamics of biological systems, properties of amino acids, protein structure, introduction to enzyme kinetics, inhibition and regulation, nomenclature and structure of carbohydrates and lipids, the structure of biological membranes and membrane transport, the structure of nucleic acids and an introduction to metabolism.

    Prerequisites: CHEM 150 and CHEM 201/202 or equivalent

    For more information, please contact Jill Litschewski by phone (760) 750-8705 or e-mail at