Jul 18, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2023-2024 
USC Catalogue 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Biological Sciences (Biotechnology) (BS)

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The general education, writing, foreign language and diversity requirements for a degree in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences apply. Biotechnology involves the utilization of biological processes and living organisms for human benefit. A rapidly growing part of the U.S. and global economies, biotechnology represents one of the main career paths for life scientists who do not wish to go into academic or clinical careers. The present is a “golden age” in the history of biotechnology due to many relatively recent transformative innovations. These technologies collectively provide a platform for using living systems to solve many of the core problems that plague society, including cancer, inherited and infectious diseases, food scarcity and environmental issues.

Students will learn skills necessary for professional jobs in the biotechnology industry. Because biotechnology is composed of a number of subsectors (e.g., synthetic biology, genome editing, clinical diagnostics, cell therapies, plant-based meats), the goal is to provide students with broad training in applied life science and business skills. Students will benefit from core courses that provide essential conceptual knowledge in both biology and business. They will then specialize through upper-division electives focused on life science applications involving biological macromolecules, cells or organisms; business skills needed in the biotechnology industry; and/or experiential learning through hands-on course work, directed research and/or internships. The highly interdisciplinary nature of this emphasis will give students a broad foundation needed to succeed in the modern biotechnology industry or to pursue graduate education.

Collateral Sciences Courses (32 units)

Introduction to Research-Active Faculty (1 to 2 units)

Enroll in one or both courses.

Upper-Division Core Courses (11 units)

Biotechnology Seminar Requirement (2 units)

If enrolling in BISC 461, select a biotechnology emphasis-relevant section.

Biotechnology Capstone Course Requirement (4 units)

Upper-Division Electives (10 to 12 units)

Select three electives from the course options listed below:

Scholarship in Major Subject

The department requires that students receive a grade no lower than C- in the five lower- and upper-division core courses. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in the upper-division course work required for the major, as well as an overall 2.0 GPA. All major core courses must be taken on a letter grade basis.

Honors Program in Biological Sciences

The department offers an honors program to outstanding students already pursuing studies for the BA or BS degree in Biological Sciences. This program offers students an opportunity to participate in undergraduate research, experience in writing an honors thesis summarizing the completed research, and experience in an honors seminar. Honors students are required to take two semesters of BISC 493x Honors Seminar  (1 unit/ - semester) and one semester of BISC 494x Honors Thesis  (2 units) in addition to fulfilling all requirements of the BA or BS degree. Honors students must also choose BISC 490x  as one of their upper division electives. This program leads to the designation on the transcript of Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with Honors.

Honors Admission Requirements

Students may apply to the department for admission to the honors program after having completed at least one year of work at USC with a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all science and math courses required for the major.

Honors Scholarship Requirements

For continuation in the honors programs, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the sciences and mathematics courses required for the major.

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