Biotechnology at Dixie State University

By Erin O'Brien

We are excited to announce that a brand-new Certificate program in Biotechnology has been added to the degrees at DSU. Approved in early February by the DSU Board of Trustees, the Biotechnology Certificate of Proficiency fills a gap to help students get started in this rapidly growing field. 

The certificate consists of 21 credits of lecture and lab courses that can be completed in just two semesters. The classes were chosen based on feedback from local biotech firms in the S. Utah area and include lower-division courses in biology, chemistry, math, and computer science. 

Advanced high school students can begin working on the required courses prior to graduating through Concurrent Enrollment at DSU. In fact, the Department of Biological Sciences is working to have all of the certificate courses offered through concurrent enrollment within the next year.

These classes provide the skills that people need for entry-level lab positions -jobs that are expected to grow dramatically in the area over the next few years. However, they also lay the foundation for anyone who decides to continue onto a bachelor’s degree in any STEM field. The certificate courses are all required by DSU’s new bioinformatics bachelor’s degree and nearly all are required by many of the degrees offered in the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology. This certificate gives incoming students a taste of many of the different STEM fields so that they can make a better decision about their major without losing time toward their graduation.

Dixie State was the recipient of a Talent Ready Utah grant in 2018 which is providing funding for paid apprenticeships with local biotech firms this spring for students who have completed most if not all of the certificate courses. This helps students get their foot in the door with local employers. We hope the apprenticeship program will continue for years to come and owe their current success to the Department of Workforce Services and our great industry partners at SoftCell Biological, Precision Genomics, DXNA, and LUMEN.