Biotechnology & Entrepreneurship: Active Innovation Learning Across Disciplines

Shirley Kovacs, Alice Wright, Timothy M. Stearns, George S. Vozikis


The biotechnology industry represents one of the fastest growing business sectors of California which leads the nation in the number and success of biotechnology firms. The creation of an advanced interdisciplinary Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in biotechnology and business degree could creates graduates who are educated in scientific and technical skills with special emphasis on the agricultural biotechnology which is prominent in the region, as well as for leadership roles in business. Faculty from fourteen Departments in four different colleges of California State University, Fresno initially cooperated to create a comprehensive, interdisciplinary PSM in Biotechnology degree. The resulting PSM in Biotechnology degree not only allows students to explore specific areas of biotechnology interest and expertise within a 30-unit Master of Science degree framework, but it also provides a curriculum that is industryresponsive by including 20% of formal coursework in entrepreneurship skills and devotes an additional 23% of the program to an industrial internship and a culminating experience, which includes substantial immersion into connections and contacts to regional biotechnology-related industries and agencies. The ultimate outcome of this degree development effort within the university is an enhanced level of interdisciplinary sophistication of the faculty in their research and service interests.

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