Biotechnology is one of the key technologies of our age . The supposedly young discipline can look back on a long tradition: people were already using yeast to brew beer four thousand years ago. Biotechnology is about processes like this. Using living organisms such as enzymes or cell cultures, products can be created or refined.
In contrast to the past, biotechnologists ensure that chemical processes are precisely controlled. The industries in which biotechnology is used are diverse:
- Food production
- chemical industry
- agricultural economics
- environmental engineering
In order to develop modern biotechnical processes, extensive knowledge from the fields of biology , physics , chemistry , genetics, computer science and engineering is required.
Requirement for studying biotechnology
Prospective students should carefully compare the various bachelor’s and master’s programs in order to find the program that suits their interests. Budding biotechnologists have a keen interest in science and mathematics . Also, technical understanding and knowledge of English are required. In addition, applicants must be able to show good grades on their Abitur certificate, because the NC is very high in most courses.
Course content in biotechnology
The range of subjects in the courses depends primarily on the orientation of the course: In Germany there are engineering-oriented courses as well as courses focused on the natural sciences.
In the bachelor’s degree
The bachelor’s degree in biotechnology accordingly consists of scientific and technical subjects. In the first semesters, students mainly attend courses in the basic subjects of mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, biology and process engineering.
The basic knowledge is necessary in order to later understand course-specific content such as cell cultivation and enzyme technology. In the higher semesters, students can then specialize in an application area of biotechnology . Depending on the university, different subjects such as genetic engineering or brewing are offered.
In the master’s degree
If you want to make a career in research or hold management positions in the private sector, you should add a master’s degree to your bachelor’s degree. The master’s courses are prerequisites for a doctorate and are often very research-oriented .
The students deal in detail with molecular and industrial biotechnology and continue their education in the field of process engineering. Depending on the type of master’s program, it is possible to specialize in a certain field of work, for example biomedicine or bioprocess engineering.
Career prospects for biotechnologists
Since biotechnology is one of the most important growth industries, graduates have very good chances on the job market. Most of them work in research and development. The areas of work are very different: In the medicine and pharmaceutical industries , so-called “red biotechnology”, graduates are involved in researching and developing new drugs, for example.
In food production (yellow technology), they are involved in the production of cheese and beer, among other things. In the chemical industry (white biotechnology) they extract fine chemicals and biogas and in agriculture (green biotechnology) they grow new plants. Also in the environmental technology (gray Biotechnology) biotechnologists be used to clean or waste water, for example, to waste recovery.
In addition to research and development, graduates can also take on tasks in analytics, project management or quality control. Apart from industry, biotechnologists are also active in research and teaching at universities or in scientific institutions and authorities.
Studying biotechnology globally
English language skills are essential for studying, as most of the specialist literature is written in this language. At some universities, some of the courses are also held in English .
One or more semesters abroad are recommended. There, students not only acquire the necessary language skills, but they also sharpen their academic profile and collect intercultural skills.