Coursework Overview

DEB Required Courses

The Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology requires enrolled students to complete all coursework and training activities, including a professional internship, to complete the degree and receive the official designation on the doctoral diploma and transcript. The Biotech Program tracks student progress via an annual progress report, verifies the information in the campus course systems, and will complete a DE Final Verification for graduating DEB students before the doctoral dissertation is filed with Graduate Studies.

Note: Graduate students who are not officially enrolled in the DEB may take any of the courses except the DEB282 Internship course. Undergraduates may enroll in the DEB294/ECH294 Friday seminar course with permission of instructors.

For officially enrolled DEB students to receive a DE Final Verification form to file with their doctoral dissertation, the following course / training requirements must be satisfied:

There is also one elective seminar course on industrial bioprocessing (MIC292) offered every other winter quarter. This elective seminar may replace one quarter of the DEB294/ECH294 Friday seminar course.

Professional Development Activities and Workshops

Throughout the academic year, DEB students are invited to participate in events, activities and workshops that will hone professional development skills (e.g., science communication, grant writing, project management, mentoring) and allow for cross-disciplinary networking. Though, professional development activities and workshops are technically optional, participation is strongly encouraged when time permits. Annual offerings may include, but are not limited to:

  • Fall Welcome Event (October)
  • Curriculum Vitae Preparation Workshop (November)
  • Chalk Talks (~monthly from November through May)
  • Internship Preparation Workshop (December)
  • Science Communication Workshop (January)
  • Annual Biotech Retreat Posters and STEM-Talks (held in mid-March or early April)
    • Awards will be given for best Biotech Posters and STEM-Talks aimed at a general audience.
    • Students will network with industry partners, faculty and the DEB community.
  • BioTech SYSTEM Outreach Activities
    • STEM-Talks for Visiting High School Students (~monthly from January through May)
    • High School Student E-Mentoring (eight weeks from late January to late March)
    • Teen Biotech Challenge Contest Judging and Event Hosting (TBC virtual judging in April and in-person awards in May)
  • DEB Research Award Application (due early May)
  • Soft Skills Workshop (late May or early June)
  • Workforce of the Future Biopharma Industry-Led Workshops (timing varies with industry partner availability – past workshops held in November, March, and April)
    • Risk Management led by Bayer
    • Pharmaceutical Data Management led by Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
    • Quality by Design led by Genentech

In addition, the Biotechnology Program hosts technical courses for external audiences. DEB students can usually sign up for those offerings at a reduced cost. Recent offerings have been focused on data science and cellular agriculture.

DEB Example Training Plan

DEB students are affiliated with 29 different doctoral programs and will have slightly different patterns of DEB course completion, internship timing, workshop participation and outreach volunteerism. The average time to degree for DEB graduates is 5.5 years. Below is an example of a reasonable DEB training plan.

Year 1

  • Submit an online DEB Enrollment Form which will trigger appointment scheduling for a group Zoom meeting (~30min) led by Dr. Denneal Jamison-McClung to discuss DEB program requirements and paperwork processes.
  • Process a DE Application Form (GS323) with the Office of Graduate Studies. After rotations and upon joining a laboratory, make sure the research faculty advisor is a member of the DEB faculty or is willing to join.
  • Begin required DEB coursework - make sure that course planning will allow DEB263 (only offered during winter quarter, Fridays, 2-4pm) to be successfully completed before the Qualifying Exam.
  • Attend the Annual Biotech Retreat to network with DEB community stakeholders.
  • Apply for research-related federal fellowships and traineeships, as well as the DEB Research Award ($1000).
  • Submit an annual DEB Progress Report.

Years 2-3

  • Finish required coursework and prepare to take the Qualifying Exam (QE). Make sure at least one DEB faculty member is included on the QE committee and that the DEB Chair signs the QE Form that is submitted to Graduate Studies. The DEB Chair should also sign the Advancement to Candidacy form once past the QE.
  • Work on general science communication and networking skills.
    • Attend the DEB/ECH294 Current Progress in Biotechnology seminars (3 quarters for credit) and sign up go to lunch with an industry speaker.
    • Attend the DEB Science Communication Workshop in Winter Quarter.
    • Sign up to give a Chalk Talk or present your research at the Annual Biotech Retreat –this will help to prepare for the Qualifying Exam.
    • Volunteer to help for one of the BioTech SYSTEM outreach events or activities.
  • Submit an annual DEB Progress Report.
  • Find opportunities to present your research at conferences and publish results.
  • Apply for dissertation year awards, travel awards, as well as the DEB Research Award ($1000).

Year 4

  • Develop a professional curriculum vitae (CV) – attend the November CV Prep Workshop.
  • DEB Internships – attend the December Internship Prep Workshop
    • Discuss internship timing with your DEB faculty advisor and come up with a plan that works for all parties, in terms of research progress, any concerns about fee payment (if internship will overlap an academic year quarter), etc.
    • Mull over internship goals and logistics - skills to acquire? location? industry sector?
    • Audit DEB/ECH294 Friday seminars of interest to network with speakers re: internship possibilities at lunch.
    • Apply for internship positions. Once an internship offer is received and accepted, complete the DEB Internship IP form, discuss with Dr. Jamison-McClung and file the form with the Biotech Program office.
    • Enroll in DEB282 for ~7-12 units. Most students will intern during the summer (~400 hours = fulltime internship over 10 weeks) and enroll in DEB282 in the following fall quarter, submitting a final report to receive credit.
    • Fill out the DEB Internship Survey.
  • Sign up to give a Chalk Talk or present your research at the Annual Biotech Retreat
  • Submit an annual DEB Progress Report.
  • Apply for research-related federal fellowships and traineeships, as well as the DEB Research Award ($1000).

Year 5

  • Work on dissertation writing and set deadlines that align with graduate plans.
  • Continue adding technical and professional skills, update your CV, notify references, and start applying for jobs and/or training positions.
  • Audit DEB/ECH294 Friday seminars of interest to network with speakers re: job opportunities. 
  • Stay in touch with DEB internship mentors and supervisors – continue building a professional network that will help with next career steps.
  • Plan for your Exit Seminar and consider announcing the event to the DEB (as seminar seating or Zoom option permits).
  • Fill out the DE Final Verification Form, ask the DEB admin team to process it and submit the form to Grad Studies with your dissertation.
  • Fill out the online DEB Exit Survey.