Jun 25, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Biotechnology, B.S.

Program Description

Academic Unit Head, Biology/Biotechnology: Dr. Kyle Seifert
Phone: (540) 568-6733
Location: Biosciences Building, Room 2001


JMU Biotechnology is a 4-year interdisciplinary major leading to a bachelor of science 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 advisors to develop individualized portfolios of upper level courses that best suit their unique interests and goals. Up to six credits of biotechnology undergraduate research or internship experiences can be applied to the upper level electives requirement. 

Students are eligible to apply 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 .

*Please note that Biotechnology majors are not permitted to double major in Biology , Chemistry  or ISAT  or declare for Biology, Chemistry and ISAT concentrations.

Degree and Major Requirements

Degree Requirements Credit Hours
General Education  1, 2 41
Quantitative requirement 3, 4 3
Scientific Literacy requirement 3, 4 3-4
Major requirements (listed below) and electives





1 The General Education  program contains a set of requirements that each student must fulfill. Some credits may be fulfilled by courses required within the major.
The Natural World  required courses can be fulfilled within the major requirements and do not require additional credit hours.
3 In addition to General Education .
4 The quantitative and scientific literacy requirements are fulfilled within the major requirements and do not require additional credit hours.

Major Requirements


Students who wish to take BIO 250 /BIO 250L  in lieu of BIO 245 /BIO 245L  are encouraged to seek approval for this substitution from the biotechnology program director.

Choose one of the following courses:

Total: 47-50 Credit Hours

Total: 17 Credit Hours

Biotechnology Elective Courses

Select 15 credit hours:

Up to 6 credits of undergraduate research or internship experiences can be applied to the upper level electives requirement. 

Additional Information

When choosing additional 300-400 level courses to complete the credit hour requirement, students are strongly encouraged to discuss their career interests with an advisor who can help select courses best suited to their needs. Students are encouraged to participate in independent biotechnology research courses with a faculty mentor, though a maximum of six credits of BIOT 495 , BIOT 496 , BIOT 497 , BIOT 499A , BIOT 499B  and BIOT 499C  can be counted toward the biotechnology major.

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  or ISAT 203  and BIO 204  or ISAT 204 . The total credit hours listed below do not reflect this recommendation.

Total: 29-31 Credit Hours


1 Fulfills The Natural World . 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

Program Total: 120 Credit Hours