Northern offers a two-year associate degree in biotechnology.

Our associate degree in biotechnology is the study of technology based on biology, especially pertinent to agriculture, food science, and medicine.

Biotechnology is a fascinating combination of genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, microbiology, and cell biology and is applied in many fields, including chemical engineering, information technology, and biorobotics. It's used to improve agricultural crops, conduct recombinant DNA procedures, and produce and improve pharmaceuticals.

A strong background in this field is a valuable employee asset in U.S. clinical and research laboratories.

NSU is a member of South Dakota Biotech, an association which directly links Northern to more than 65 companies and organizations in the state and to the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) both nationally and globally.

At NSU, we encourage you to explore your individual interests, work closely with professors on research projects, and present your research results at state, regional, and national meetings as well as in publications.



Demand for graduates in biotechnology is increasing and expected to continue, due to laboratory, research center, and hospital growth. Northern’s biotechnology associate degree prepares you for entry-level positions that will meet the growing needs of the industry nationwide.

Many graduates seek employment in laboratory settings assisting researchers in a variety of areas, including pharmaceuticals and medical research, as well as governmental and legal issues. Potential job titles include environmental engineering technician, agricultural and food science technician, biological technician, environmental health and safety technician, chemical technician, and medical or clinical laboratory technician.

This degree pairs well with a BS degree in biology, environmental sciences, or chemistry.

For more information on careers in your major or help choosing a major, contact Career Services.



NSU biotechnology students are required to complete a 2-credit internship, which provides invaluable hands-on experience that complements their academic coursework and provides a competitive edge at hiring time.

Glacial Lakes Energy LLC, Avera St. Lukes Hospital, South Dakota Department of Public Health, Huron School District, and Redfield Energy LLC partner with Northern to offer internship experiences. Other businesses supporting biotechnology student internships include South Dakota Wheat Growers Association, AlphaGenix, Monsanto, Braasch Biotech LLC, PharmaCline, Exemplar Genetics, 3M, Dow AgroSciences, and Cibus.

This degree relies heavily on hands-on experimentation and lab techniques along with the mandatory internship. Because of this practical training and the need for qualified workers in this field, students may have the opportunity to obtain permanent employment at their internship site.



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Biotechnology (AS) Course Requirements


Plan of Study

Biotechnology (AS) Plan of Study