Jan 22, 2022  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biotechnology, B.S.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Departments

Dr. Stephanie Stockwell, Director
Phone: (540) 568-8980
Email: stockwsb@jmu.edu
Location: ISAT-CISAT Building, Room 320


JMU Biotechnology is a 4-year interdisciplinary major leading to a B.S. degree. The program is shared among the Departments of Biology , Chemistry and Biochemistry  and Integrated Science and Technology (ISAT) . Students undertake a rigorous curriculum rich with hands-on laboratory experiences, critical analyses of both the "how" and the "why" of biotechnological solutions and the development of transferable skills needed to keep up in a rapidly changing field. The combination of both scientific/technical depth and cross-disciplinary breadth allow graduates to pursue diverse career paths in industry, government and advanced studies.

Biotechnology majors complete 47-50 credit hours of science foundation courses, 17 credit hours of biotechnology transition and core courses, and 15 credit hours of electives. Advanced courses are selected from an extensive list of Biology , Chemistry and Biochemistry , ISAT , Engineering  and Mathematics and Statistics  offerings. Students work with assigned academic advisers to develop individualized portfolios of upper level courses that best suit their unique interests and goals. Up to six credits of undergraduate research or internship experiences can be applied to the upper level electives requirement. 

Students are eligible for the General Business Minor .  Students may not receive dual credit toward the Biotechnology major for 300- and 400-level Biology  courses that are also applied toward the Biology  major. Biotechnology students pursuing a minor in ISAT may not substitute 100-level Biology or Chemistry courses for ISAT foundation courses. Biotechnology majors are not eligible for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Minor .

Degree and Major Requirements

Degree Requirements

  • General Education: The Human Community  41 Credit Hours 1
  • Quantitative requirement 3 Credit Hours 2
  • Scientific Literacy requirement 3-4 Credit Hours 2
  • Major requirements (listed below) and electives 79 Credit Hours

Total: 126 Credit Hours


1 The General Education  program contains a set of requirements that each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
2 In addition to General Education .

Major Requirements

Total: 17 Credit Hours

Biotechnology Elective Courses

Select 15 credit hours:

Additional Information

Additional 300- and 400-level courses may meet the requirement, with permission from the program director.

Students are highly encouraged to include academic credit for independent research or internships, up to 6 credits of which may be applied to the elective requirement. Approved courses associated with this kind of independent study include:

Recommended Schedule for Majors

First semester, first year biotechnology majors are encouraged to start with a 14-15 hour course load. This will generally include a biology course (four credit hours), CHEM 131  and CHEM 131L , and/or a math course, plus General Education . In some cases, the general chemistry sequence may be postponed when math placement scores suggest that the development of quantitative reasoning skills should come first. The work load may then be adjusted in the second semester based on the level of success in the first semester.

First Year

Note: Other recommended first-year courses include BIO 203. Viral Discovery (0,4)  or ISAT 203  and BIO 204. Viral Genome and Bioinformatics (0,4)  or ISAT 204 . The total credit hours listed below do not reflect this recommendation.

Total: 29-31 Credit Hours


1 Fulfills General Education : Cluster Three. Some students may be advised to postpone their general chemistry courses if their math placement scores are not sufficiently high. 

Total: 30-31 Credit Hours

Third Year

Total: 32 Credit Hours

Fourth Year

Total: 29 Credit Hours

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Departments