University of Minnesota
BioTechnology Institute
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MicE Programs


The M.S. degree in Microbial Engineering is based on a dual-track approach. The research track typically takes 2 to 2-1/2 years and requires completion of an original research project under direction of a Mic.E. graduate faculty member. The industrial track takes 1-1/2 to 2 years to complete and requires a summer internship arranged by BTI (usually between the 2nd and 3rd semesters). Either track would support a subsequent move to a related Ph.D. program. See comparative details of the two tracks below.

Research Track

Time: 2-2.5 years

Description: The research track combines coursework in biological sciences and chemical engineering with research, seminar presentations and teaching of a laboratory course.

Coursework: Students choose coursework from biochemistry, food science, pharmacology, plant biology, genetics, cell biology, bioinformatics and engineering. Students must demonstrate proficiency programming in one computer language before completing the degree program. The graduation thesis is based on original laboratory or investigative work.

Credit requirements:
6 cr - Micro (BioC, Gen)
6 cr - Chem. Eng
2 cr - Seminar
6 cr - Related field electives
1 cr - MicE 5950 Fermentation
10 cr - Research
31 cr - Total

Cost: Nearly all students in the research track are supported by research stipends plus free tuition and health benefits. For students not supported by research stipends, the cost per year for resident students is $9,330 for coursework and student fees.

Applied Biotechnology Track

For Industrially Sponsored Applicants

Time: 3 semesters plus internship

Description: Combines coursework similar to the research track with an internship in the biological sciences and engineering, typically in the intervening summer between the second and third semesters.

Coursework: Required classes mirror the research track and emphasize the biological sciences and engineering. To complete the degree, students are required to write a research paper and present a report on their internship - which may be completed with companies either in the United States or Europe. Internships are arranged by the Biotechnology Institute.

Credit requirements:
9 cr - Micro (BioC, Gen)
9 cr - Chem. Eng
2 cr - Seminar
6 cr - Related field electives
1 cr - MicE 5950 Fermentation
4 cr - Preceptorship
31 cr - Total

Cost: Based on $4,665 per semester for residents, about $13,995 for coursework plus student fees. Non-residents not holding fellowships or assistantships pay $8,214 per semester. Students pursuing the industrial track finish earlier but do not receive research stipends and usually must pay for tuition. Sometimes, persons with a Bachelor's degree already employed in industry may receive tuition benefits from their employers to pursue a Master's degree. Some industrial internships may carry a stipend.

Andrew Vail

"I like it because it's got such a diverse selection of course offerings. Just look at the faculty, they have backgrounds in everything from genetics to biophysics. The program has something for everyone."