College of Agriculture, Food & Environment

Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology

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Our agricultural and medical biotechnology (ABT) students have a variety of interests, but they all share one thing in common: they want to use science to improve lives around the world. 

Many paths. One biotech degree. 

We emphasize hands-on learning in genetics, molecular biology, genetic engineering, chemistry, and biology to train tomorrow's scientific leaders. Whether you are developing treatments for a genetic disease or genetically engineering drought resistant crops, you will learn to combine basic scientific concepts with problem solving and critical thinking skills to solve medical and agricultural problems. 

 

A Versatile Degree For Many Science-Based Careers...

Many ABT graduates pursue advanced degrees in areas such as health care (e.g., medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and physician assistant studies), agriculture, biological sciences, law, molecular biology, and veterinary sciences. 

There are also many ABT graduates who immediately enter the workforce. This bachelor of science degree will prepare you for positions with biotechnology organizations, government and public affairs, academia, research and development, and more. Future employment can include work with: 

Human Genetics  Public Health Pharmaceutical Development
Food Safety Genetic Engineering Vaccine Production
Bio Manufacturing     Bioinformatics Fermentation Biotechnology
Plant Genetics Genomics Medical Device Development 
Forensics Biofuel Production Research and Development
 
 

Students Say We're Great....

Dr. Lou Hirsch, Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Ag and Medical Biotechnology program, received the 2020 Great Teacher Award from the University of Kentucky Alumni Association. 
 
 

Come See for Yourself 

To learn more about this program, campus life, and chat with an advisor, schedule a campus visit. Virtual visits may be necessary in some cases. 

 

In-State Tuition

Thanks to agreements through the Academic Common Market, students from the following states can enroll in the ABT program at in-state tuition rates: 

  • Delaware
  • Georgia 
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Tennesee
  • West Virginia
Science was always where I was destined to be.

Ellis

Agriculture Biotechnology student and admit to the UK College of Medicine's Medical Sciences Graduate Program

Courses You Will Take

Access Major Map

source: myUK: GPS

Agricultural & Medical Biotechnology(BS) 120 - 128 hours
Freshman Year
Sophomore Year
Junior Year
Senior Year
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Total Freshman Year Credit Hours : 31

Fall Semester
16 Credit Hours
ABT 101
1
ABT 101 - INTRODUCTION TO BIOTECHNOLOGY

ABT 101

1 credit hours

An introduction to biotechnology: historical perspectives, current applications and future directions. The course will consist of informal lectures and interactive discussions led by Biotechnology faculty and visiting professionals. The course will also orient students to the educational/career opportunities in Biotechnology and assist them in developing a focus for their individualized degree programs. Lecture, two hours per week.

Prereq: First year or first semester transfer students in Agricultural Biotechnology.

GEN 100
3
GEN 100 - ISSUES IN AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND ENVIRONMENT

GEN 100

**UK Core - Community, Culture and Citizen**

3 credit hours

How do farmers in Kentucky impact families in California? How can the fashion industry curb the amount of plastic in our oceans? How does fast food affect sea life in the Gulf of Mexico? Whether we realize it or not, each of us has a relationship with agriculture, food and the environment. From race and gender, diet and lifestyles, tourism and evolving technologies, this course encourages you to recognize and think critically about the interconnected systems that affect all human life. By addressing these challenges, you will develop a greater appreciation for how you can positively impact our planet.

Prereq: This course is open to students enrolled in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment or those in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Residential College's Belle C. Gunn Living Learning Program. Freshman only in Fall semesters and transfer students only in Spring semesters.

CHE 105
4
CHE 105 - GENERAL COLLEGE CHEMISTRY I

CHE 105

**UK Core - Natural, Physical and Math** Must be taken with CHE 111 to satisfy UK Core.

4 credit hours

A study of chemical principles and their application to pure and mixed substances. Not open to students who have already completed both CHE 109 and CHE 110.

Prereq: Math ACT of 23 or above (or Math placement test), or MA 109, or MA 110.

CHE 111
1
CHE 111 - GENERAL CHEMISTRY I LABORATORY

CHE 111

**UK Core - Natural, Physical and Math** Must be taken with CHE 105 to satisfy UK Core.

1 credit hours

A laboratory course, to accompany CHE 105 or CHE 110, dealing with the properties of chemical substances and providing an introduction to quantitative chemical analysis.

Prereq or coreq: CHE 105 or CHE 110.

UK Core - Comp. & Comm. I
3
MA 123 or MA 113 or MA 137
4
Spring Semester
15 Credit Hours
UK Core - Comp. & Comm. II
3
CHE 107
3
CHE 107 - GENERAL COLLEGE CHEMISTRY II

CHE 107

3 credit hours

A continuation of CHE 105. A study of the principles of chemistry and their application to elements and compounds.

Prereq: CHE 105 or CHE 110 (with a C or better).

CHE 113
2
CHE 113 - GENERAL CHEMISTRY II LABORATORY

CHE 113

2 credit hours

A laboratory course, to accompany CHE 107, emphasizing qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis.

Prereq: CHE 111. Prereq or coreq: CHE 107.

ABT 120
3
ABT 120 - GENETICS AND SOCIETY

ABT 120

**UK Core - Natural, Physical and Math**

3 credit hours

This course is designed for science and non-science majors, giving students an understanding of how genetics influences and impacts our social fabric on a daily basis, and equipping students with a sufficient understanding to participate in the policy debates that are impacting our lives. The course will introduce students to the basic concepts of genetics and to the modern methodologies of molecular genetics. The course will also educate students in the process of scientific discovery and empower students with the knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate the present and future impact of genetics on society. While the course is intended for first semester freshmen, students at all class standings are welcome to enroll.

BIO 148
3
BIO 148 - INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY I

BIO 148

3 credit hours

BIO 148 introduces the student to the biological mechanisms operating at the molecular, cellular, and population level that contribute to the origin, maintenance, and evolution of biodiversity including the origins and history of the evolutionary process. Course material is presented within a phylogenetic context, emphasizing the shared history of all living organisms on earth through common ancestry. The first semester of an integrated one-year sequence (BIO 148 and BIO 152).

Prereq: Math ACT of 24 or above, or MA 109, and past or concurrent enrollment in CHE 105.

BIO 155
1
BIO 155 - LABORATORY FOR INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY I

BIO 155

1 credit hours

This course is designed to provide a broad introduction into the data, results, and information associated with biological research, and into some of the analytical approaches used to test biological hypotheses. Communication of these aspects of biological research is crucial, and much of this lab course will be focused on the development of effective writing skills for the delivery of this information.

Prereq: Math ACT of 23 or above or MA 109, past or current enrollment in CHE 105.

Please login to http://myUK.uky.edu to access your major map and personalized degree audit via the myUK Graduation Planning System (myUK GPS).

Total Sophomore Year Credit Hours : 29 - 32

Fall Semester
15 Credit Hours
CHE 230
3
CHE 230 - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY I

CHE 230

3 credit hours

Fundamental principles and theories of organic chemistry.

Prereq: CHE 107 and CHE 113.

CHE 231
1
CHE 231 - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LABORATORY I

CHE 231

1 credit hours

Laboratory for CHE 230 or CHE 236.

Prereq: CHE 113; prereq or concur, CHE 230 or CHE 236.

BIO 152
3
BIO 152 - PRINCIPLES OF BIOLOGY II

BIO 152

3 credit hours

The second semester of an integrated one-year sequence (BIO 148 and 152) that is designed to develop understanding and appreciation for the biocomplexity of multicellular eukaryotes, with emphasis on animals and terrestrial plants. Structure and function relationships will be explored at many levels of organization.

Prereq: C or better in BIO 148 or permission of Department.

ABT 201
1
ABT 201 - SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN BIOTECHNOLOGY

ABT 201

*Students must complete Composition and Communication I and II (or equivalent) plus have 30 earned credit hours before enrolling in ABT 201.

1 credit hours

A course designed to acquaint students with the common experimental methods used in agricultural biotechnology. Students will be presented with several case studies which demonstrate basic scientific reasoning and experimental strategies. The students will then use their understanding of basic scientific methods and agricultural systems to critically evaluate work from the current scientific literature. Each student will be required to provide a written and oral evaluation of a research project in some aspect of agricultural biotechnology. The class will provide the students with the basic skills needed for preparing their own research proposals. This course is a Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course in certain programs, and hence is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK.

Prereq: ABT 101 and enrollment in the Agricultural Biotechnology degree program or consent of instructor.

UK Core - Arts and Creativity
3
Elective
4
Spring Semester
14 - 17 Credit Hours
CHE 232
3
CHE 232 - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY II

CHE 232

3 credit hours

A continuation of CHE 230.

Prereq: CHE 230 with grade C or above.

CHE 233
1
CHE 233 - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LABORATORY II

CHE 233

1 credit hours

Laboratory for CHE 232.

Prereq: CHE 231; pereq or concur: CHE 232.

UK Core - Statistical Inferential Reason
3
UK Core - Social Sciences
3
UK Core - Humanities
3
Elective
1 - 4

Please login to http://myUK.uky.edu to access your major map and personalized degree audit via the myUK Graduation Planning System (myUK GPS).

Total Junior Year Credit Hours : 32

Fall Semester
16 Credit Hours
PHY 211
5
PHY 211 - GENERAL PHYSICS

PHY 211

5 credit hours

First part of a two-semester survey of classical and modern physics, focusing on the motion of solids and fluids as governed by Newton's Laws and by the conservation laws of energy, momentum, and angular momentum. Lecture, two hours; recitation, two hours; laboratory, two hours. Credit is not given to students who already have credit for PHY 231 and 241.

Prereq: A working knowledge of algebra as obtainable in MA 109 or MA 110 or MA 112, or an ACT math score of 25 or above, or an SAT math score of 590 or above, or an SAT2016 math score of 610 or above.

ABT 360
3
ABT 360 - GENETICS

ABT 360

3 credit hours

The basic principles of heredity as currently understood from evidence accumulated in classical, cytogenetic, molecular, and squantitative genetic experiments. Emphasis is placed on a thorough understanding of genetic principles and the relationship of genetics to all biological disciplines.

Prereq: BIO 148, BIO 152 and CHE 105 or consent of instructor.

ABT 301
2
ABT 301 - WRITING AND PRESENTATIONS IN THE LIFE SCIENCES

ABT 301

2 credit hours

The goals of this course are to expose students to current scientific literature in the life sciences, develop skills for the evaluation of primary research literature and presentations, prepare students to write an independent research proposal, and develop oral communication skills. Student participation is a key component of activities, and students are required to provide both oral and written evaluations of research publications, presentations, and proposals. A major part of the course involves students developing, writing, and presenting an independent research proposal in coordination with a research mentor. This course should be taken prior to ABT 395 or ABT 399, and students must identify a research mentor early during the semester. This course is a Graduation Composition and Communication Requirement (GCCR) course in certain programs, and hence is not likely to be eligible for automatic transfer credit to UK.

Prereq: Agricultural Biotechnology major or consent of instructor.

UK Core - Global Dynamics
3
Specialty Support FA18+
3
Spring Semester
16 Credit Hours
BCH 401G
3
BCH 401G - FUNDAMENTALS OF BIOCHEMISTRY

BCH 401G

3 credit hours

Descriptive chemistry of amino acids and proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids. Discussion of structure and function; metabolism and bioenergetics; and biological information flow. At the undergraduate level, understanding is demonstrated through hour examinations; at the graduate level, understanding is demonstrated through hour examinations and a brief paper. Lecture, three hours; one optional conference.

Prereq: CHE 107, CHE 236 and BIO 152 or equivalent.

BIO 308
3
BIO 308 - GENERAL MICROBIOLOGY

BIO 308

3 credit hours

Fundamental concepts of microbiology. The nutrition, physiology, genetics, molecular biology of microorganisms, and their roles in nature and in infection and immunity will be studied.

Prereq: BIO 304 OR ABT 360 OR ENT 360 AND CHE 230 OR CHE 236.

BIO 309
2
BIO 309 - MICROBIOLOGY LABORATORY

BIO 309

2 credit hours

This course includes laboratory exercises that are designed to illustrate processes central to microbiology and to familiarize students with basic skills required for working with microorganisms in a safe environment. Students will become familiar with isolating, culturing, and identifying microorganisms, and with molecular techniques used to study and manipulate microbes.

Prereq: BIO 304 OR ABT 360 OR ENT 360 AND CHE 230 OR CHE 236 or consent of Instructor.

PHY 213
5
PHY 213 - GENERAL PHYSICS

PHY 213

5 credit hours

Continuation of PHY 211, covering electrostatics, de circuits, magnetism, Maxwell’s Equations, electromagnetic radiation, light and some modern physics. Lecture, two hours; recitation, two hours; laboratory, two hours. Credit is not given to students who already have credit for PHY 232 and 242.

Prereq: PHY 211 or equivalent.

Specialty Support FA18+
3

Please login to http://myUK.uky.edu to access your major map and personalized degree audit via the myUK Graduation Planning System (myUK GPS).

Total Senior Year Credit Hours : 27 - 33

Fall Semester
12 - 18 Credit Hours
ABT 495
4
ABT 495 - EXPERIMENTAL METHODS IN BIOTECHNOLOGY

ABT 495

4 credit hours

A laboratory techniques course designed to give students the technical skills and understanding necessary to critically examine biological systems at the molecular level. The course will emphasize the principles of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology as applied to a model system for laboratory investigations. Laboratory, nine hours per week.

Prereq: ABT/ENT360 or BIO304, Agricultural Biotechnology major or consent of instructor

ABT 395
1 - 4
ABT 395 - INDEPENDENT STUDY IN BIOTECHNOLOGY

ABT 395

1 - 4 credit hours

ABT 395 INDEPENDENT STUDY IN BIOTECHNOLOGY (1-4 credit hours). Independent study in biotechnology under the supervision of a faculty member. May be repeated for a maximum of six credits. Prereq: Agrciultural Biotechnology major and consent of appropriate instructor before registration. Will allow multiple registrations during the same semester.

Prereq: Agricultural Biotechnology major and consent of appropriate instructor before registration.

Specialty Support FA18+
3
Specialty Support FA18+
3
Elective
1 - 4
Spring Semester
15 Credit Hours
ABT 460
3
ABT 460 - INTRODUCTION TO MOLECULAR GENETICS

ABT 460

3 credit hours

Molecular genetics is the study of the biochemical basis of heredity and focuses on the structure and expression of DNA at the molecular and cellular level. The course will provide a detailed understanding of the biochemical events involved in genome replication, prokaryotic and eukaryotic transcription, and translation of DNA, as well as RNA processing, recombination and the theoretical underpinnings of genetic engineering.

Prereq: ABT/ENT 360 or BIO304 or consent of instructor.

ABT 461G
3
ABT 461G - INTRODUCTION TO POPULATION GENETICS

ABT 461G

3 credit hours

This survey course examines the population dynamics and equlibria of genes in nuclei, chloroplasts and mitochondria. Emphasis will be on biological relevance (in plants, animals, and micro-organisms), but some theoretical derivations will also be introduced.

Prereq: ABT 360 (or equivalent) and one course in probability/statistics.

Specialty Support FA18+
3
Specialty Support FA18+
3
Specialty Support FA18+
3

Please login to http://myUK.uky.edu to access your major map and personalized degree audit via the myUK Graduation Planning System (myUK GPS).

Our Advising Style

Unlike other programs, ABT students are paired with a faculty advisor while also having the support of the ABT academic coordinator. These multiple lines of support help you maximize your college career with expert advice and personal guidance.

In our most recent advising survey, two-thirds of ABT students said they were extremely satisfied with their advisor, the highest rating possible. In the same survey, when asked what they like about their advisor, one student responded with: 

"Everything really. He is a great person to get connected with for the friendship as well as all of the great advice he provides for classes and outside the academic world. He is always willing to meet to help us with anything - even if it is just to get some coffee and chat. I couldn't ask for a better advisor."

 

Research Opportunities

Research experience is at the heart of what we do. There's no better way to prepare tomorrow's scientific leaders.

While the opportunities are endless, here are a few examples of ABT student research projects:

  • genetic engineering of microorganisms for pharmaceutical agents 
  • development of new bioengineered strains of microorganisms for food production
  • gene cloning
  • pest and disease resistant gene development 
  • development of new immunological and nucleic acid types 

 

 

 

Apply for Our Scholarships

In addition to automatic and competitive scholarships from the University of Kentucky, ABT students are also eligible for a variety of awards from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. With one of the largest college-based scholarship programs, we have awarded more than $3 million over the past four years. These awards are based on a variety of criteria such as hometown, major, career goals, high school extracurriculars, and more. 

The deadline to apply is December 1 for first-semester freshmen and January 31 for current students and transfer students. For more information, click here

Miss the deadline? Need more funding? Browse other local, state, and national scholarships in our online college scholarship library

Living Learning Program

Named after UK's first female graduate, Belle C. Gunn, this first-year program is open to all University of Kentucky freshmen.  We seek students who, like Gunn, have passion and determination.  Through field trips, professional development workshops, and service programs, we apply student passions to global issues at the intersection of food, economics, and environment.  All students in this program will also enroll in connected courses, share study groups, and have an assigned peer mentor - all to help with the transition to college life. 

While all students will enjoy the same benefits, some events and projects will be geared toward students' preferences and career goals. Depending on interests, each student will join one of the following tracks: 

  • Food & Health 
  • Family & Community 
  • Nature & Landscapes 
  • Livestock & Equine 

All students participating in our living learning program will live in Woodland Glen IV, one of UK's newest residence halls.  To apply, select the "Agriculture, Food and Environment" living learning program while completing the housing application. For more information, visit the University of Kentucky Housing website

 

 

International Opportunities

Should you choose, you can gain international experience while earning credit towards your degree. We offer a variety of study, research, intern, and service abroad programs for all budgets and comfort levels. Some students have even earned grants and scholarships to fully fund their international experiences.

These programs are designed to broaden your mind and introduce you to unfamiliar ways of thinking and living. Ultimately, these experiences will make you a more competitive applicant in the global workforce. 

Pre-Med? Pre-Vet? Pre-Law?

Each year, many of our graduates attend professional schools in areas such as veterinary medicine, law, pharmacy, dentistry, and more. If you are interested in pursuing a similar path, we offer pre-professional advising services. 

Our pre-professional advisors will assist you with: 

  • Listing required courses for respective professional schools 
  • Scheduling pre-professional courses alongside your major requirements 
  • Suggesting supplemental coursework 
  • Connections to student organizations, volunteer work, shadowing experiences, etc.
  • Preparatory information for admission tests
  • Navigating the application process

Click here for more information.

Clubs & Organizations

Students can join organizations and clubs to learn outside the classroom, gain valuable work experience and develop their leadership skills. Many of our students are involved in:

Agriculture Biotechnology Club
members are engaged with students, faculty, and professionals within biotechnology related interests

Pre-Med Activities Council
bringing together aspiring health professionals for service and opportunities to prepare for professional school

Pre-Vet Club
utilized as a connection point for students to plan and prepare for veterinary school as a collective group

Learn more about Clubs & Organizations in our college.


Imagine Your Future

Medical Scientists

Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$84,810

per year in 2018

Number of Jobs

130,700

in 2018

10 Year Job Outlook

10,600

new jobs (average)


Imagine Your Future

Pharmacists

Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and offer expertise in the safe use of prescriptions.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$126,120

per year in 2018

Number of Jobs

314,300

in 2018

10 Year Job Outlook

-100

new jobs (average)


Imagine Your Future

Microbiologists

Microbiologists study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and some types of parasites.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$71,650

per year in 2018

Number of Jobs

21,700

in 2018

10 Year Job Outlook

1,100

new jobs (average)


Imagine Your Future

Veterinarians

Veterinarians care for the health of animals and work to protect public health.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary

$93,830

per year in 2018

Number of Jobs

84,500

in 2018

10 Year Job Outlook

15,600

new jobs (average)