Dr. Peiyu Zeng
Associate Professor

Biotechnology (B.S.)

Biotechnology Faculty Working with Student

What is Biotechnology?

A combination of biology and technology, Biotechnology is the field of applied biology using living organisms and bioprocesses to engineer and advance products. SUNY Cobleskill's Biotechnology program is solidly based in the arts and sciences, with a further focused and advanced specialization in modern cellular biology, genetics and molecular biology.

What does a Biotechnician Do?

Advancements in medicine, pharmaceuticals and agriculture are all made possible by Biotechnology graduates, and SUNY Cobleskill’s Biotechnology program arms students with the knowledge necessary to improve lives through science.

Program Highlights

- Small class sizes provide students with a unique opportunity to obtain extensive laboratory hands-on experience generally not offered at larger undergraduate institutions. There is an approximate 1:10 faculty-to-student ratio in the upper-level Biotechnology courses.

- Students with advanced-placement high school coursework credits can complete SUNY Cobleskill’s Biotechnology bachelor’s degree program in three years.

- All Biotechnology laboratories are conducted in LEED-certifiable facilities with state-of-the-art equipment in SUNY Cobleskill's Wheeler Hall, completed in 2011.

- Six-credit, semester-long internships can be completed on or off campus and provide students with practical knowledge working in industrial or academic research environments.

- Capstone courses provide students with the theoretical and practical knowledge of molecular biology and genetic engineering as they relate to plants (both genomic and chloroplast emphasis), animals and microorganisms used in agriculture. Advanced knowledge areas include: ethics, biosafety, cell culture, gene identification, gene isolation, cloning (amplification), insertion methods, screening, and post-transcriptional and post-translational analysis of gene activity.

- Ongoing undergraduate research programs include soybean and switch grass transformation, and RNA interference.

- All Biotechnology laboratory and lecture experiences are taught in small classes with direct supervision and instruction from academically recognized experts in the field.

- SUNY Cobleskill is in close proximity to Albany, which is predicted to be the Nanoscale Science Center of the world, providing students with varied and rich graduate and transfer opportunities.

-Tuition and fees are affordable, among the lowest in New York state and the Northeast.

-Financial aid and scholarships are available in addition to comprehensive tutoring and student services.

What Will I Learn?

Biotechnology students take coursework in biology, chemistry and mathematics, in addition to specialized courses that appeal to their interests and career goals. Specialization areas include microorganisms, plants and animals used in modern agriculture. Students in SUNY Cobleskill's Biotechnology program gain a firm understanding of standard ethical practices, learn to prepare technical reports, demonstrate good lab practice, are knowledgeable in the principles of microscopy and understand the basic concepts in genetic engineering. See program details and course breakdowns >

Career Outlook

Biotechnology is among the top 10 growing industries in the world, and it is an increasingly important field with a high demand for trained individuals. Career opportunities are rapidly developing nationwide and especially in the Northeast, and are needed in areas of:
- industrial research
- academic laboratories
- government institutions

Graduates are prepared for employment in a variety of fields, including:
- agricultural biotechnology
- animal biotechnology
- aquaculture biofuels
- biomanufacturing
- biopharmaceuticals
- conservation biology
- education
- food safety
- forensics
- medical devices
- medical diagnostics
- vaccines

Average salaries for a baccalaureate degree in Biotechnology range from $45,000 to $65,000, and there are numerous opportunities for advancement. Students who graduate from SUNY Cobleskill’s Biotechnology program are immediately employable. Alumni have sought careers at Albany Nanoscale Science Center as well as Upstate Medical School in Syracuse.

Graduates of the Biotechnology program can continue their education by studying:
- genomics
- molecular biology
- medical and veterinary research

Some students who continue their studies have been offered full scholarships to graduate school.

Biotechnology graduates also pursue doctorates, and SUNY Cobleskill Biotechnology graduates have gone on to study at Penn State, Cornell University and the University at Buffalo.