Biotechnology has become an essential component of the ag industry. Why? Because it can help give farmers the tools they need to increase the yield of plant and animal products. It can also help lower the costs of production. If biotech and the ag industry interest you, consider an Agriculture degree with a biotechnology emphasis from Dordt.Request Info
The biotechnology emphasis encourages students to look at agriculture through the microscope to discover innovations for a better future. Classes in cell biology, plant protection, and entomology and pest management will challenge you. Hands-on experience outside the classroom will prepare you to put what you’ve learned to use.
What You'll Learn
Dordt’s biotechnology emphasis combines practical experience with classroom instruction on an array of topics and issues related to agriculture and biotechnology. You’ll gain a better understanding of farm production. You’ll discuss and debate environmental implications of biotechnology. And you’ll learn how God can use your expertise in agricultural sciences to impact His kingdom.
What You Can Do With A Biotechnology Emphasis
Biotechnology is a booming field. Possible career opportunities for someone pursuing a biotechnology emphasis include becoming a Bioinformatics Scientist, Fermentation Operator, Research Geneticist, and more.
A Research Geneticist studies the inheritance of traits at different levels and may evaluate or treat patients with genetic disorders.
A Fermentation Operator will control the fermentation process and overlook different fermentation equipment.
A Production Scientist will evaluate the materials and tools that are utilized for production and oversee process formulation research trials.
Students who choose the biotechnology emphasis will complete courses in chemistry, biology, and agriculture in addition to completing the general requirements for an agriculture degree. Although students have some flexibility about which courses they take, students will complete at least five credit hours of lab work.
- Principles of Chemistry: A study of the fundamental principles of chemistry and an introduction to foundational issues in science. Topics include atomic and molecular structure, chemical equilibria, chemical kinetics, chemical thermodynamics, and electrochemistry. An introduction to laboratory safety and chemical hygiene is included in the laboratory. This is the first course in chemistry for majors in the physical and life sciences. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory period per week.
- Organic Chemistry: Structure and Mechanism: In this foundational organic chemistry course, students will learn the foundational topics and problem-solving skills needed to understand the plethora of chemical reactions that involve compounds containing carbon. A working knowledge and application of topics such as nucleophiles, electrophiles, acids, bases, stereochemistry, mechanism, kinetics, substitution reactions, elimination reactions, carbonyl chemistry, and conformational analysis will be developed. Through a detailed understanding of the chemistry, an honest discussion of ethical implications, and a thoughtful interaction with the material we will develop an understanding of how God reveals himself through his creational structure.
- Advanced Organic Chemistry: Synthesis and Mechanism: In this advanced organic chemistry course, students will learn more advanced topics and problem-solving skills needed to understand the diversity of chemical reactions utilized in modern organic chemistry. Through the process of reviewing current chemical literature articles that report the total synthesis of natural products and investigate reaction mechanism, students will apply the foundational ideas learned in Chemistry 225, classify reactions based on analogy, articulate an understanding of topics such as stereoselectivity and regioselectivity, and explore how organic chemists advance the field. Through a detailed understanding of the chemistry, an honest discussion of implications, and a thoughtful interaction with the material will we develop an understanding of how we as scientists and Christians should respond to culture.
- Advanced Organic Chemistry: BioOrganic: In this advanced organic chemistry course, students will learn the application of organic chemistry to the processes of life. Through the process of reviewing chemical literature articles that report metabolic pathways and the total synthesis of biological products, students will apply the foundational ideas learned in Chemistry 225, classify reactions based on analogy, articulate an understanding of topics such as stereoselectivity and regioselectivity, and consider how biological catalysts accommodate chemical reactions. Through an in-depth application of the chemistry, an honest discussion of implications, and a thoughtful interaction with the material we will develop an understanding of how God has created a world in which life is supported through organic chemistry.
- Advanced Organic Chemistry Laboratory: In this advanced laboratory course, students will propose, complete, and report on common laboratory techniques utilized in organic chemistry. Students will explore several common reactions including esterification, electrophilic aromatic substitution, and multi-step chemical synthesis. Students will also propose and complete an individual laboratory project. Graded on an A-F scale.
- Biochemistry: Study of the foundations of biochemistry, starting with the structures and functions of small biomolecules—amino acids, monosaccharides, fatty acids and nucleotides—to macro-biomolecules—peptides, proteins (enzymes), oligosaccharides, nucleic acids and lipids. With this knowledge of biomolecules, the principles of metabolism, enzyme kinetics, catalytic strategies, regulatory strategies, and allosteric enzymes will be studied. Introduction to transduction and energy storage involved with glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, the citric acid cycle, oxidative phosphorylation, and fatty acid metabolism. After exploring God’s beautiful design of biomolecules, the students will understand how God’s hand is working in living cells and thereby give glory to God.
- Advanced Biochemistry: A study of the way the cell uses the breakdown of molecules to extract energy and then uses this energy for sustaining the functions of the cell by producing new needed biomolecules. This sequence will begin with the study of the metabolism of the carbohydrates culminating in the electron-transfer processes leading to the production of ATP. The metabolism of other types of biomolecules such as lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids will also be studied. Finally, the processes of biosynthesis will be investigated beginning with photosynthesis of carbohydrates in plants and ending with biosynthesis of lipids and proteins. The last chapter will help the student to appreciate how all of these complex created biological processes are regulated by the use of hormonal signals which integrate and coordinate the metabolic activities of different tissues and optimize the allocation of fuels and precursors to each organ. Three lectures per week.
- Cell and Molecular Biology: An introduction to molecular mechanisms in living organisms. Topics include structure and functions of cellular components, gene structure and expression, and recombinant DNA technology. Concepts of reductionism and evolutionary theory will be addressed. Three lectures and one laboratory period of three hours per week.
- Advanced Microbiology: An upper-level course in the study of microbes, their history, their cell biology, and inter-organism (symbiotic) processes. Topics will include and build on pro- and eu-karyotic distinctions, in-depth study of viruses and plasmids, anaerobic metabolism, biofilms, endosymbiosis, antibiosis, antibiotic resistance, disease mechanisms, how host immune responses develop and adapt. Laboratory work will include basic microscopic observation, culturing, and identification. Isolation and characterization of bacteria, viruses, and potential antibiosis will be featured as “unknown” work. Intended for biology majors and pre-medical students. Students cannot receive credit for both Biology 302 and 310. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week.
- Advanced Genetics: A study of the relationship between genetic information and the organism. Topics include population genetics, selection, speciation, recom-bination, mutations, epigenetics, and systems biology. A variety of bioinformatics tools will be used for genomic analyses. Laboratories will involve crosses and analysis, molecular techniques, and computer applications. Includes discussions of God’s providence and evolutionary theory. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week.
- Cell Biology: A study of the morphology and physiology of the cell, its organelles, and its constituents.
- Nature and Properties of Soils: A comprehensive introduction to the field of soil science with an emphasis on scientific principles and their application in solutions to practical soil management problems. Two lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week.
- Feeds and Feeding: The evaluation, composition, and values of feedstuffs as they relate to animal nutrient requirements will be considered. The basics of ration formulation and feeding management will be covered for the major livestock species. Two lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week.
- Principles of Animal Health: Animal care and facility sanitation will be discussed, focusing on care, disease prevention, disease detection, animal treatment, pharmacology, and health programs. Three lectures per week.
- Anatomy and Physiology of Animals: The structures and functions of the major body systems will be studied as they work together in the life processes of an animal. The nervous, skeletal, muscle, circulatory, endocrine, digestive, and reproductive systems will be examined. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week.
- Entomology and Pest Management: An introduction to entomology and insect-pest management including insect biology, taxonomy, ecology, life cycles, and integrated pest management. Three lectures per week.
- Plant Protection - Weed Science and Plant Pathology: A study of the major weed and plant pathology principles and theories and their application to the field of pest management. The course will include identification, physiology, ecology, life cycles, and stewardly management practices for important pest species. Three lectures per week.
- Reproductive Physiology: A study of the principles of reproductive physiology and lactation focusing on the major classes of livestock. Students will use these principles to develop an understanding of reproductive management techniques and will examine the ethics of reproductive technologies. Two lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week for seven weeks.
- Advanced Animal Nutrition: A problem-solving approach will be taken to examine the nutrient requirements of animals in different production systems. Methods that can be used to meet those requirements will be evaluated. Ration formulation will be discussed as it relates to the different digestive systems and production requirements. Two lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week for seven weeks.
- Plant Physiology: A study of the basic functional aspects of plant growth, development, and reproduction. Lecture topics will include water relations, nutrient relations, translocation, photosynthesis, flowering, fruiting, seed germination, growth, development, and phytohormones. Two or three lectures and/or one three-hour laboratory period per week.
- Agriculture Senior Seminar: An integration of departmental courses, research, and analysis of current topics with emphasis on Christian perspective for persons involved in agriculture. Issues will include government policies, world hunger, the family farm, meat production, and others. Three lectures per week.
Ready to take the next step?
With experience in a variety of fields, our faculty members are equipped and ready to help you succeed.
Agriculture Stewardship Center
With an emphasis in biotechnology, you’ll have the opportunity to spend time in Dordt’s Agriculture Stewardship Center. This unique location includes 200 acres where students will raise livestock and grow crops, small grains, and produce.Learn more
Connect with us
Submit your information to request more information about Dordt and this program. We'll also use this information to connect you with your admissions counselor!
Related Programs & Emphases
Still looking for the right fit? Here are some additional program options that we think might interest you or are often paired with this program. You can also view the programs page to keep exploring your options.