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Biotechnology

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Co-Directors: Dr. David B. Knaff, Horn Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Dr. Jon Weidanz Associate Professor of Pharamacology

Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center jointly offer an interdisciplinary Master of Science in Biotechnology degree designed to prepare students for a laboratory research career in biotechnology. In addition, the School of Law and the Graduate School offer a dual-degree program leading to the degrees of Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and Master of Science in Biotechnology.

Master of Science in Biotechnology. Students may pursue either of two tracks within the program: the biomedical track or the applied sciences track. The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) at the Health Sciences Center (HSC) administers the biomedical track, and the Texas Tech Center for Biotechnolo gy and Genomics administers the applied sciences track.

The applied sciences track is a two-year program, with the first two semesters consisting of required and elective coursework. The second year (nine to 12 months) is devoted in its entirety to full-time laboratory research or to advanced coursework in an academic area of concentration related to a field in biotechnology with a one-semester capstone course. Students may satisfy the research requirement in either of two ways: (1) complete an M.S. thesis, based on research carried out in the laboratory of a participating faculty member, or (2) complete a non-thesis internship in a research laboratory on campus, an industrial research laboratory, a government laboratory, or a not-for-profit foundation laboratory. Students who select a non-thesis option must pass a comprehensive final exam during their fourth semester. Options should be carefully discussed with the director and/or graduate advisor of the center.

The biomedical track is a 21-month program consisting of two semesters (nine months) of coursework and 12 months of full-time laboratory research. It is anticipated that students in this track will complete all of their coursework during their first year, with the second year devoted completely to the research component of the degree plan. The research component may be completed either at the HSC campus or through an internship at a biotechnology laboratory. Internship locations are similar to those described for the applied sciences track. Students who choose to do their research at the HSC campus will work with a member of the biotechnology graduate faculty and will have the option of writing an M.S. thesis. All biotechnology graduate faculty members have active research programs that emphasize use of molecular biology methods.

First-year students in both tracks take a common core curriculum consisting of an introductory lecture course, an introductory lab course (BTEC 5338), a course on the ethics of research (GSBS 5101), and a bioinformatics course (BTEC 5001-01 or GBTC 6202). Students in the applied sciences track are also required to take a course in scientific communication (BTEC 5100). The biomedical track requires a series of lab rotations during the second semester of the first year. The remaining coursework requirements for the biomedical track consist of specific HSC courses, while the remaining coursework requirements for the applied sciences track are satisfied by selections from a broad list of approved electives.

Students interested in the program should have an undergraduate degree that provides a sound background in biological sciences, preferably from a molecular perspective. A minimum of one semester of organic chemistry is required. A second semester of organic chemistry and at least one semester of biochemistry or cell biology and one semester of molecular biology/molecular genetics are highly recommended. Admission will be based on the student's undergraduate record and GRE scores and on other considerations such as previous research experience and letters of recommendation. Applications from students interested in the applied sciences track should be submitted through the Texas Tech Office of Graduate Admissions, and applications from students interested in the biomedical track should be submitted through the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the Health Sciences Center.

Scholarships. A limited number of $1,000 scholarships will be available at the start of the fall semester for outstanding first-year students. Students awarded these competitive scholarships will be eligible to pay tuition at the in-state rate. Applications are available to both Texas residents and non-residents and are evaluated holistically by the Center for Biotechnology and Genomics Scholarship Committee.

J.D.–M.S. in Biotechnology. The dual-degree candidate must choose to pursue both degrees by the end of the third or fourth semester in law school and must meet admission requirements for the M.S. degree. Students in the dual-degree program cannot take any courses outside the School of Law during their first year. Typically, if all prerequisites are met, both degree programs can be finished in a maximum of four and one-half years, including summer sessions. Separate applications for the J.D. and M.S. portions of the dual degree are required. LSAT scores that are satisfactory for admission to the School of Law will eliminate the requirement that the student take the GRE.

The dual-degree program is designed principally for the student with an interest in intellectual property law in the area of biotechnology. A candidate for the J.D./M.S. in biotechnology may credit up to 12 non-law hours of approved courses toward the J.D. degree, and 12 law hours may be credited toward the M.S. degree.approved courses toward the J.D. degree and 12 law hours may be credited toward the M.S. degree.