MMB Curriculum

To accomplish the mission, vision, goals, and objectives of the program, the Master of Microbial Biotechnology curriculum includes academic courses in science and business along with professional development training and bioscience industry experiences. Through collaborations with local companies, we offer practicum projects, internships, and training that lead to development of knowledge, skills, and abilities highly valued by industry companies. 

The curriculum promotes development in several areas to prepare students for biosciences leadership roles:

  • Interdisciplinary academic training in both science and business
  • Ability to work broadly in multiple areas and effectively in project teams
  • Strong communication skills that foster effective dialogue between individuals, companies, and communities
  • Application of creativity and innovation to solve problems faced by industry companies
  • Comfort with big data management
  • Capacity for making decisions based upon information available
  • Coping with uncertainty and risk
  • Adapting to change

The MMB program is a non-thesis, two-year cross-disciplinary Professional Science Master degree program. The curriculum includes courses offered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), the Biotechnology Program (BIT), the Biomanufacturing Program (BEC), and the College of Management. Students are required to complete a summer industrial internship which includes submission of a portfolio and a presentation during the following fall semester. Forty credit hours are required for graduation, including; 25 credits of required courses, 13 credits of elective courses, and the 3 credit hour summer internship.

The list of required courses is shown below. Please note that students must register for MB 585, Industry Case Studies, each semester for a total of 9 credit hours. During the final spring semester, students register for MB 590, which represents the capstone project course for the program.

PLEASE ALSO NOTE that the listing below represents a general and broad display of courses available to MMB students. For students who wish to focus on particular concentrations of study, we offer several academic tracks:

Please see those individual pages for more specific information.

Required Coursework

Microbiology/Science Courses

  • MB 585/590 - Industrial Case Studies (3 credits; taken four times for 12 credits total)
  • MB 620 - Internship Course (3 credits)
  • Two of the following core Microbiology courses:
    • MB 555 - Microbial Biotechnology (3 credits; offered spring only)
    • MB 714 - Microbial Regulation and Physiology (recommended; 3 credits; offered fall only)
    • MB 751 - Immunology (3 credits; offered spring only)
    • MB 758 - Microbial Genetics and Genomics (3 credits; offered spring only)
    • MB 590 - Topical Problems: Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology (3 credits; Instructor: Dr. Mike Hyman)
    • PB 580 - Introduction to Plant Biotechnology (3 credits; offered fall only)
  • One Science Elective (3 or 4 credits) See Section A below

Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing Courses:

  • BIT 510:  Core Techniques in Biotechnology (4 credits) OR BEC 540: Expression Systems in Biomanufacturing I (3 credits)**
  • Two BIT or BEC Electives:  See Section B below (2 credits each; 4 credits total)

BIT 510 - Core Techniques in Molecular and Cellular Biology (required; 4 credits; offered fall and spring) OR BEC 540 - Expression Systems in Biomanufacturing I (3 credits)**

**IN-COMING STUDENTS MAY BE ABLE TO OPT OUT OF THIS REQUIREMENT if sufficient evidence is provided and indicates, at least, basic experience and understanding of technologies including recombinant DNA procedures, gene expression, isolation and identification of nucleic acids and proteins. Sufficient evidence may include a letter from current or former supervisors and/or professors attesting that the applicant possesses at least basic understanding of and experience with the aforementioned technologies. Applicants with doctoral training in a related area may opt out of BIT 510 OR BEC 540, with MMB Director or Coordinator approval. 

Business Courses:

  • MBA 585:  Current Topics in Bioscience Management (3 credits)
  • Two MBA Electives:  See Section C below (3 credits each; 6 credits total)

Summer internship:
 MB 620: Special Problems: Industry Internship (3 Cr).  Students typically complete the summer internship during the summer between their first and second year, and register for the Internship course during their second fall semester in the program. Requirements of this course include completion of 160 hours, submission of an internship portfolio, and an oral presentation scheduled during the fall semester.

Elective Coursework

Elective courses are selected from the Groups shown below. Students must select one Science elective (Section A), two Biotechnology or Biomanufacturing electives (Section B) and two MBA electives (Section C).

Section A - Science Elective Choices
Individual students should complete at least one (1) of the 3 or 4-credit hour science electives listed below. Please note that other courses, not on this list, may be approved by the MMB Director or the Coordinator.

Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) courses: 

  • BAE 525 - Industrial Microbiology and Bioprocesses
  • BAE 528 - Biomass to Renewable Energy Processes
  • Biochemistry (BCH) courses:
    • BCH 553 - Biochemistry of Gene Expression
    • BCH 555 - Proteins and Molecular Structure
    • BCH 571 - Regulation of Metabolism
    • BCH 701 - Macromolecular structure
    • BCH 703 - Macromolecular synthesis and Regulation
    • BCH 705 - Molecular Biology of the Cell
    • BCH 751 - Biophysical Chemistry
  • Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBS) courses:
    • CBS 565 - Fundamentals of Biomedical Sciences
  • Food Science (FS) courses:
    • FS 502 - Chemistry of Food and Bioprocessed Materials
    • FS 553 - Food Law and Regulation
  • Genetics (GN) courses:
    • GN 513 - Advanced Genetics
    • GN 521 - Molecular Genetics
    • GN 730 - Functional Genetics and Physiology
    • GN 735 - Functional Genomics
  • Microbiology (MB) courses:
    • MB 501 - Biology of Plant Pathogens
    • MB 505 - Food Microbiology
    • MB 532 - Soil Microbiology
    • MB 575 - Introduction to Mycology
    • MB 718 - Introductory Virology
    • MB 725 - Fermentation Microbiology
    • MB 730 - Fungal Genetics and Physiology 
    • MB 751 - Immunology
    • MB 758 - Microbial Genetics and Genomics
    • MB 774 - Phycology
  • Plant Biology (PB) courses:
    • PB 580 - Introduction to Plant Biotechnology
  • Plant Pathology (PP) courses:
    • PP 530 - Agricultural Ethics and the Environment
  • Statistics (ST) courses:
    • ST 511: Experimental Statistics for the Biological Sciences I
    • ST 512 - Experimental Statistics for the Biological Sciences II
    • ST 513 - Statistics for Management
    • ST 520: Statistical Principles of Clinical Trials and Epidemiology
  • Toxicology (TOX) courses:?
    • TOX 515 - Environmental Toxicology
    • TOX 710 - Molecular and Biochemical Toxicology

Section B - Biotechnology (BIT) & Biomanufacturing (BEC) Elective Choices
Student takes two (2) electives total from the BIT and/or BEC choices, for a total of 4 credit hours.
Biotechnology (BIT) electives (2 credits each; see the Biotechnology program website for details on BIT courses; not all BIT courses are offered every semester):

  • BIT 501 - Issues in Biotechnology
  • BIT 562 - Gene Expression: Microarrays
  • BIT 563 - Fermentation of Recombinant Organisms
  • BIT 564 - Protein Purification
  • BIT 565 - Real-Time PCR Techniques
  • BIT 566 - Animal Cell Culture Techniques
  • BIT 567 - PCR and DNA Fingerprinting
  • BIT 568 - Genome Mapping
  • BIT 569 - RNA Purification & Analysis
  • BIT 581 - Plant Transformation
  • BIT 595 - Special Topics 
  • BIT 815 - Advanced Special Topics

Biomanufacturing (BEC) electives (2 credits each; visit the BTEC website for more details on BEC courses):

  • BEC(MB) 520 - Fundamentals of Microbial Cell Biotransformations
  • BEC 532 - Biologic Procession Science
  • BEC 536 - Introduction to Downstream Process Development
  • BEC 542 - Insect Cells Protein Expression
  • BEC 575 - Global Regulatory Affairs for Medical Products
  • BEC 580 - cGMP Fermentation Operations
  • BEC 585 - cGMP Downstream Operations
  • BEC 595 - Advanced Topics in Biocatalysis

Section C - Master of Business Administration (MBA) Elective Choices
Students take two (2) of the following MBA electives for a total of 6 credit hours:

  • MBA 503 - Survey of Accounting (offered fall semester only)
  • MBA 505 - Global Economics for Managers
  • MBA 530 - People Management
  • MBA 550 - Management of Technology and Innovation
  • MBA 554 - Project Management
  • MBA 555 - Product Design and Development
  • MBA 570 - Entrepreneurship: Managing the Growth Venture
  • MBA 576 - Technology Evaluation and Commercialization Concepts (offered fall only)
  • MBA 577 - High Technology Entrepreneurship (prerequisite: MBA 576; offered fall only)
  • MBA 586 - Legal and Marketing Dynamics in Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology (offered fall only)
  • MBA 590 - Classes are special topic classes and could vary by semester/year. Must be approved by MMB program director/staff before registering.

Sample Plan of Work

A sample two year program is shown below. Course sequence may vary depending on availability and student interest.


Fall Semester #1

  • MB 585 Case Studies (required)
  • Core Microbiology Course Choice, MB 714 is the recommended course
  • BIT 510 or Science elective if BIT 510 is full

Spring Semester #1

  • MB 585 Case Studies (required)
  • Core Microbiology Course Choice or BIT 510 (if not taken the previous semester)
  • MBA 585

Summer #1
Industrial Internship experience completed (students register for the internship course in the following fall semester)

Fall Semester #2

  • MB 585 Case Studies (required)
  • MB 620 Industrial Internship (required)
  • One or Two Biotechnology or Biomanufacturing Electives (2 Cr each)
  • MBA 586 or 576 or MBA elective

Spring Semester #2

  • MB 590 Case Studies (required)
  • Science Elective or BIT/BEC elective or other required course not yet taken
  • MBA 577 or MBA elective

Summer #2
Summer internship if planning to begin the MBA program in the fall