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Question about college

  1. Aug 16, 2004 #1
    Hello!

    My name is Marco and right now I am looking through many different college catalogues and trying to decide what to do for the next five years. I am thinking of studying an engineering program in Biotechnology but the curriculums tend to differ quite a lot depending on the school and I do not really know witch is the best one for the future since my knowledge in the field is, of course, still quite limited. However, I have an URL to the curriculum a nearby college offers. Perhaps some of you with more experience in the field could evaluate it and give your opinion? I would be very grateful in that case, because this is a very important decision for me and I do not want to make the wrong one.

    The text is in both Swedish and English and the column to the right of the course name, poäng in Swedish, is the amount of credits the course gives.(20 credits is one full semester here).

    http://www.teknat.uu.se/student/studieplan/x1.html


    Thank you in advance for taking your time!


    Kind regards from Scandinavia :smile:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2004 #2
    Do you want to stay in sweden?
    Otherwise i know a highly credited biotechnology college in holland.
     
  4. Aug 16, 2004 #3
    I would like to stay in Sweden at least during my undergraduate studies. But please tell me more about this college in the Netherlands Marijn, it might be intresting for me later.
     
  5. Aug 16, 2004 #4

    iansmith

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    Marco, in the future what would like to work with? More of the biology side or the engineering. From the link provided, I think that the background in bio is poor and it is mostly concentrated in the chemistry and biochem area. Personally I feel that having a solid background in biology is the key to have a good understanding of the biotech but I am a microbiologist and I might be bias.

    Here the curriculum from university for the biotech program

    Master of Science Applied program
    http://www.mcgill.ca/biotechgradprog/curriculum/mscacourses/

    Minor in Biotech from engineering dept.
    http://www.mcgill.ca/engineering/degrees/undergrad/minors/biotechnology/
     
  6. Aug 16, 2004 #5
    If you're interested more in the engineering side (process work, fermentations, large scale operations, etc), you might be left playing catch up to those who did degrees in chemical engineering and took electives in the biological sciences to round out their knowledge. To be honest, the curriculum looked to be more along the lines of a biophysics degree - which, if that's what you're really interested in, I say go for it. If your interests tends more toward being able to do work with genetics and various applications thereof (medicine, agriculture, environmental sciences, etc), you might find that another program with a stronger biological focus would suit you better.
     
  7. Aug 16, 2004 #6
    Thank you, Ian Smith and Mike H for your replies!

    Personally, I would probably prefer to work with biology instead of engineering; however pure science degrees do not enjoy the same reputation as engineering degrees here in the Swedish industry. It is mostly because of tradition. The only possible career way for a person with a molecular biology degree for example seems to be PhD programs and that means another four or five years in school. That is why I thought it would be better to have a degree in engineering and the choice to continue to study for a PhD or find a job after graduation.
    These are of course just my impressions, so please correct me if I am wrong.

    But the engineering program above would not be sufficient to work with, for example, applied genetic research?

    Here is a list of the degree projects students from the program have done, could you take a look on them as well since I know too little to fully understand them. Maybe that gives a better picture on what one is qualified to do after the education.

    http://www.ibg.uu.se/1MB9(26)0/2001-12-12_113749_733.html


    Kind regards!
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2004
  8. Aug 16, 2004 #7

    iansmith

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    From what the title, it seems to me that the students are looking at developing tools for diagnostic and research rather than doing "pure" research. Most of the project are applied biotechnology work. The engineering program might be sufficient to work in applied genectic research but it lacks a specific genetics classes. As an example, two course (Gene Function, Gene technology) seem to be good in for general applied work that involve model organism but it seems to lack the specificity of a bacterial genetic class.

    If you take a degree project, this will add to your trainning. You will have the chance to see some of theoritical knowledge is applied. This trainning will also enhance your knowledge and qualification.
     
  9. Aug 16, 2004 #8
    Based on my quick perusal of the thesis titles and looking at a few of them, it seems that the program provides a solid foundation in quantitative areas and computer skills, which are always good things to have.

    I think the best thing to do is to inquire whoever the program's contact is and ask a few questions, namely:

    1.) What kinds of things do your program's graduates do after finishing?

    2.) Are you aware of any problems that graduates have had in moving to related fields that aren't very close fits to their education?

    3.) What kinds of graduate programs do the people who finish this program end up doing? (You may decide somewhere along the way that you want to continue your education and it's not a bad idea to see that people with this degree do have a good bit of success getting accepted to graduate studies.)

    Just as an aside, I thought some of the thesis topics were really interesting and would make excellent research projects in a variety of fields. Just from my experience, the sort of work that past graduates have done could fit into a variety of departments here in the U.S. (chemistry, biophysics/biochemistry, biology, bioengineering/chemical engineering). That sort of versatility is very helpful in finding a good job and being able to keep doing interesting things without limiting yourself too much.
     
  10. Aug 17, 2004 #9
    An excellent suggestion Mike H! I shall take contact with Uppsala University and ask the questions you suggested.
    The information on the Internet doesn’t really say much about what the graduates are doing other than that almost 50% decides to continue their studies in graduate programs. What kind of graduate program doesn’t say though.

    Once again I want to express my gratitude for taking your time, Mike H and Ian Smith. Perhaps I will post more questions here when I have spoken with or e-mailed the university.

    Kind regards.
     
  11. Aug 19, 2004 #10

    Moonbear

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    I differ from IanSmith's perspective on the course listing. It seemed fairly balanced, though the biology emphasis is definitely on cell and molecular biology. It's fairly intensive in physics and chemistry as well. If you're more interested in the biology side of things, if it's possible, you might want to squeeze in a few classes on other topics in biology, just to give you a better perspective of WHY you're studying what you are in molecular biology and apply it to a systems level (such as a mammalian physiology course).

    If your long-term interest is applied genetic research, you're probably going to need to get a graduate degree anyway, unless you're content to work as a technician for someone else. In that case, this program sounds like it will provide a broad range of background information for you to choose a graduate program with more information about what you like and don't like.
     
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