Plants provide us with the food, fuel, and fiber we need to survive. Rapid changes in the biotechnology industry have occurred as a result of advances in molecular, genetic and cell biological techniques and have accelerated the ways that we improve plants for our needs. This includes developing plants for more sustainable production and resilience against changing environments and novel diseases. Students working in the field of plant biotechnology emphasize both molecular and cellular biological concepts and associated techniques to address problems facing plant production systems. A strong foundation is developed through coursework in chemistry, physics, statistics, biology, microbiology, genetics, with a focus on plant biology throughout. To attain hands-on experience in plant biotechnology, students complete an independent research project in an MSU laboratory. Graduates of the program are prepared for positions in private industry, universities, or federal agencies.

As part of our plant biotechnology program students will learn the basics of how plants can be modified including how to:

  • Examine gene sequence and expression level variation
  • Design and work with DNA vectors
  • Work with DNA sequence databases
  • Design, conduct, and carry out modern plant biotechnology methods 
  • Select appropriate technique for plant modification including RNAi, CRISPR-Cas9, random insertion, etc.
  • Propagate plants containing modifications through controlled crossing
  • Enjoy a well-rounded learning experience in plant genetics and molecular biology

What can you do with a degree in a Biotechnology Program?biotech pic final
Occupations include:

  • Technical positions with the biotechnology industry
  • Research positions with seed companies
  • University, state, and federal research or regulatory agencies
  • Pursue a M.S. or Ph.D. in an area of plant sciences or molecular biology
  • This degree meets many of the requirements of professional degrees in medical or veterinary schools

Biotechnology Curriculum (per MSU catalog)

Biotechnology Program

For Students


Links of Interest:

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Undergraduate Scholars

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Plant Science Internship Opportunities Program

Ensembl Logo

Species List - Plant Genome Databases

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