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Graduate Certificate in Biotechnology

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The Graduate Certificate in Biotechnology seeks to provide advanced, interdisciplinary didactic coursework in the life sciences. The Certificate in Biotechnology requires 15 credits of graduate level course work consisting of:

  1. 9 credits of graduate level course work in the biological sciences comprised of three classes, spread over at least two of the five following areas: Molecular Biology, Genetics, Cell Biology, Physiology and Microbiology (click here for certificate requirements).
  2. 6 credits of graduate level courses in fields related to biotechnology including bioinformatics, engineering, chemistry, agriculture, food safety, health sciences and statistics (click here for certificate requirements).

Admission to the Graduate Certificate in Biotechnology is competitive.

Upon successful completion of the Graduate Certificate in Biotechnology, students may be admitted to the Professional Science Master's Degree in Biotechnology.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Graduate Certificate in Biotechnology program is competitive. Those who meet stated requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet all of those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths.

Admission to the Certificate in Biotechnology requires a scholastic index (grade point average on a 4.0 point scale) of at least 2.8 overall and 3.0 in the sciences. Those who meet the stated minimum requirements are not guaranteed admission, nor are those who fail to meet all those requirements necessarily precluded from admission if they offer other appropriate strengths.

There is also the possibility of entering the program after the successful completion of two courses of the Biological Sciences core with a grade of B or better (not B-) as a continuing education student or as a student enrolled in other UD graduate programs and the achievement of an overall GPA of 3.0 in graduate classes attempted.

Applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 550 or higher on the paper-based test or 79 or higher on the Internet-based test. Previous education, training or residence in the U.S. does not exempt foreign nationals from these requirements. Requests for a waiver of the language test requirements (for example, for students from English-speaking countries outside of the U.S., or for foreign students who have a college degree from a U.S. institution) must be approved by the University of Delaware Office of Graduate Studies. Students who need further training in English prior to attending graduate school may apply for admission through the University of Delaware English Language Institute’s Conditional Admission Program.

The Graduate Record Examination is not required of applicants to the Certificate in Biotechnology.

Prior degree requirements

BA or BS degree, preferably in a science or engineering discipline

Application deadlines

Fall admission: Full consideration deadline: January 15th with rolling admission to continue until May 1st for foreign nationals and July 1st for US citizens/permanent residents.

Spring Admission: Full consideration deadline: October 1st with rolling admission to continue until November 1st for foreign nationals, December 15th for US citizens/permanent residents.

Special competencies needed

Applicants are required to have completed at the undergraduate level the following (or the equivalent): two years of biological sciences; one year of mathematics, preferably to include calculus and/or statistics; one year of college physics; one year of general chemistry; and one course in organic chemistry.

Admission categories

Provisional admission may be offered with the stipulation that any deficiency in undergraduate training be made up (without graduate credit).

Students with TOEFL scores below the minimum required for admission may be considered for conditional admission if they enter the University of Delaware English Language Institute’s academic English program.

How to apply

Application to this program must be made electronically to the University's Office of Graduate & Professional Education. Click here for the University of Delaware Graduate Admission Application online form.

Applications must include three letters of recommendation (sent electronically to the University of Delaware Office of Graduate & Professional Education) from persons able to judge the applicant's ability to pursue graduate study.

All applications also must include a personal statement that addresses the following questions:

  1. What scientific research/employment experience have you had? Please be specific about the field of work and job responsibilities
  2. What are your long-term professional objectives?
  3. What specific attributes of our Department and the Certificate in Biotechnology make you feel that this degree is appropriate to help you achieve your professional objectives?

Certificate Requirements

Biological Sciences Core (9 credits)

9 credits, three classes; must include classes from at least two of the five following categories

  • Cell Biology
    • BISC612 Advanced Cell Biology (3 credits)
    • BISC625 Cancer Biology (3 credits)
    • BISC671 Cellular and Molecular Immunology  (4 credits)
    • PLSC635 Plant Developmental Biology (3 credits)
    • ANFS671 Paradigms in Cell Signaling (3 credits)
    • BISC639 Developmental Neurobiology (4 credits)
    • BISC690 Fundamentals of Pharmacology (3 credits)
    • BMEG605 Princ of BME I: Molec and cell systems (3 credits)
  • Genetics
    • BISC654 Biochemical Genetics  (3 credits)
    • BISC656 Evolutionary Genetics (3 credits)
    • BISC693 Human Genetics (3 credits)
    • PLSC636 Plant Genes and Genomes (3 credits)
  • Microbiology
    • ANFS635 Animal Virology (3 credits)
    • ANFS639 Food Microbiology (3 credits)
    • BISC682 Bacterial Pathogens; molecular mechanisms (3 credits)
    • BISC679 Virology (3 credits)
    • PLSC619 Soil Microbiology (4 credits)
    • PLSC629 Introduction to Fungi (4 credits)
    • MAST618 Marine microbial ecology (3 credits)
    • MAST625 Microbial Physiology and Diversity (3 credits)
  • Molecular Biology
    • ANFS670 Principles of Molecular Genetics (3 credits)
    • BISC602 Molecular Biology of Animal Cells (3 credits)
    • CHEM642 Biochemistry II (3 credits) 
  • Physiology
    • BISC605 Advanced Mammalian Physiology (4 credits)
    • BISC615 Vertebrate Developmental Biology (3 credits)
    • BISC675 Cardiovascular Physiology (3 credits)
    • KAAP651 Neurophysiological Basis of Human Movement (3 credits)
    • BISC606 Advanced Mammalian Physiology II (4 credits)
    • BISC627 Advanced Neurophysiology (3 credits)
    • BMEG606 Princ of BME II: Tissue and organ systems (3 credits)

Biotechnology-related science courses (6 credits)

Two courses from the following list adding up to at least 6 credits.   

  • Agriculture/food science
    • ANFS628 Food Chemistry (4 credits)
    • ANFS629 Food Analysis (4 credits)
    • ANFS636 Immunology of domestic animals (3 credits)
    • ANFS637 Avian immunology (3 credits)
    • ANFS643 Food engineering technology (3 credits)
    • ANFS649 Food biotechnology (4 credits)
    • PLSC603 Soil physics (3 credits)
    • ENWC611 Insect pest management (3 credits)
    • ENWC610 Medical, Veterinary, and forensic entomology (3 credits)
    • ENWC619 Biological control (3 credits)
    • ENWC805 Insect-plant chemical ecology (3 credits)
  • Bioinformatics
    • BINF644 Bioinformatics (3 credits)
    • CISC636 Introduction to bioinformatics (3 credits)
    • CISC841 Bioinformatics (3 credits)
    • MAST697 Bioinformatics programming for Biologists (3 credits)
    • MAST698 Environmental and systems bioinformatics (3 credits)
    • BINF650 Protein Modifications (3 credits)
    • BINF694 Systems Biology I (3 credits)
    • BINF695 Computational System Biology (3 credits)
    • BINF816 Systems Biology of Cells in Engineered Environments (3 credits)
  • Chemistry/Biochemistry
    • CHEM641 Biochemistry (3 credits)
    • CHEM645 Proteins, Structure and Function (3 credits)
    • CHEM646 DNA-Protein Interactions (3 credits)
    • CHEM686 Biophysical Chemistry (3 credits)
    • CHEM653 Bioinorganic Chemistry (3 credits)
    • CHEM681 Green Chemistry (3 credits)
    • CHEM643 Intermediary Metabolism (3 credits)
    • CHEM684 Biochemistry of Nucleic Acids (3 credits)
    • PLSC608/CHEM608 Environmental Soil Chemistry (3 credits)
  • Engineering
    • CHEG621 Metabolic engineering (3 credits)
    • CHEG625 Green Engineering (3 credits)
    • CHEG650 Biomedical Engineering (3 credits)
    • ELEG670 Biophysics of excitable membranes (3 credits)
    • ELEG671 Introduction to biomedical engineering (3 credits)
    • ELEG675 Image processing with biomedical applications (3 credits)
    • ELEG678 Introduction to nano and biophotonics (3 credits)
    • ELEG679 Introduction to medical imaging systems (3 credits)
    • MEEG612 Biomechanics of human movement (3 credits)
    • MEEG682 Clinical biomechanics (3 credits)
    • MEEG683 Orthopedic Biomechanics (3 credits)
    • MEEG684 Biomaterials and tissue engineering (3 credits)
    • MEEG685 Control of human movement (3 credits)
    • MEEG686 Cell and tissue transport (3 credits)
    • BMEG679 Introduction to Medical Imaging Systems (3 credits)
    • CHEG624 Bio-Based Materials (3 credits)
    • ELEG801 Advanced Topics in Biomedical Engineering (3 credits)
  • Health Sciences
    • BISC600 Biotechnology and molecular medicine (3 credits)
    • NURS687 Nursing Sciences Research (3 credits)
    • NURS621 Advanced pathophysiology (3 credits)
    • NURS622 Advanced pharmacology (3 credits)
    • PHYT623 Clinical Neuroscience (3 credits)
  • Advanced Laboratory Techniques
    • BISC601 Immunochemistry (4 credits)
    • BISC604 Nucleic Acids Laboratory (4 credits)
    • CHEM679 Biomolecular NMR Spectroscopy (3 credits)
  • Statistics/data analysis
    • BISC643 Biological Data Analysis (3 credits)
    • STAT608 Statistical Research Methods (3 credits)
    • STAT609 Regression and Experimental Design (3 credits)
    • STAT611 Regression Analysis (3 credits)
    • STAT615 Design and Analysis of Experiments (3 credits)
    • STAT616 Advanced Design of Experiments (3 credits)
    • STAT621 Survival Analysis (3 credits)
    • STAT656 Biostatistics (3 credits)
    • STAT674 Applied Data Base Management (3 credits)
    • STAT675 Logistic Regression (3 credits)

General Information


All students will develop a plan of study in consultation with their advisor upon matriculation into the program.


The Graduate Certificate in Biotechnology has no thesis or dissertation requirements.

Financial aid

Students enrolled in this program are responsible for their own tuition and living expenses. Both the Department of Biological Sciences and University of Delaware Office of Financial Aid will provide assistance in identifying suitable fellowships, grants and loans to help finance their education.

Academic load / Completion timetable

It is expected that the Certificate in Biotechnology will be primarily a part-time program or pursued along with another graduate degree. As such, the only enrollment requirement is that matriculated students must enroll in at least one certificate class per academic year and the certificate must be completed within five years.

Normal progress towards degree is reviewed for all students in the program at the end of every academic year and is assessed based on grades and participation in program activities.

Upon completion of the Certificate requirements, the Director of the program will submit the approved plan of study form to the Office of Graduate and Professional Education for audit. The University will state on the student’s transcript that the Certificate in Biotechnology was awarded. A diploma for the certificate program is not awarded to the student.

Students failing to make satisfactory progress towards degree will be identified by the graduate affairs committee in consultation with the student’s academic advisor/program director. Recommendations for dismissal are made by the Department chair of Biological Sciences to the University of Delaware Office of Graduate studies.


Only graduate courses completed with a grade of B or higher fulfill the biological sciences core and the biotechnology-related course requirements for the Certificate in Biotechnology. Students receiving a B- or lower in a required core course are subject to dismissal from the program. However, they may file an appeal to the Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Affairs Committee for approval to retake the course and remain in the program. If the appeal is not approved, the Graduate Affairs Committee will recommend to the Office of Graduate Studies that the student be dismissed from the program.

Students who feel that they have been graded inappropriately or receive what they perceive as an unfair evaluation by a faculty member may file grievances in accordance with University of Delaware policies. Students are encouraged to contact the Department's Graduate Program Director prior to filing a formal grievance in an effort to resolve the situation informally.

Course substitution

All petitions for course substitutions and variances in the completion deadlines must be made to the Graduate Affairs Committee, Department of Biological Sciences. Only courses listed in the curriculum may count towards the degree unless a variance is granted by the Graduate Affairs Committee, Department of Biological Sciences.

English language requirements

Aside from the TOFEL admission requirement for foreign applicants, there are no specific requirements. However, successful completion of the degree will require fluency in both written and spoken English.

Contact Us

For more information about the Graduate Certificate in Biotechnology, please write to Betty Cowgill at

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  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • 105 The Grn, Room 118 Wolf Hall
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • University of Delaware
  • Phone: 302-831-6977