Biotechnology is the group of disciplines or sciences that studies living beings or parts of living beings in order to obtain goods and services from them. Its area of study falls between biology, biochemistry and engineering, and it has a large impact in pharmacy, medicine, microbiology, food science and agriculture, among other fields. The knowledge possessed by biotechnologists, which connects biology and chemical engineering, allows them to optimize and carry the synthesis of products that impact all the areas mentioned out on a large scale.
One area of biotechnology is the direct use of organisms for the production of organic products for consumption, recycling, waste treatment or to clean areas polluted by industrial activities (biomediation). There are also applications of biotechnology that do not use live organisms; the DNA microchips used in genetic analysis is one example. Many products are produced simply using the enzyme reactions of microorganisms.
Modern biotechnology is frequently associated with the use of genetically modified microorganisms, such as Escherichia coli or the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the production of substances such as insulin or antibiotics. It can also refer to transgenic animals or transgenic plants or modified animal cells, such as Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) among many others, which are used for research by the pharmaceutical industries, through which biotechnology is also commonly associated with research into new therapies and new means of diagnosis.
The objectives of the Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology are to instil an interest in learning and applying the knowledge attained in different situations and contexts; to establish the bases for developing biotechnological processes on the basis of knowledge and improving the transformations carried out by living beings; to learn the conceptual, manual and technical tools for improving existing industrial processes, and to endow students with the capacity to apply the knowledge acquired to different problems and areas of knowledge (chemistry, agriculture, health, nutrition, the environment, etc.) for the production of goods and services.
- CB-01. - Capacity for critically analysing complex situations, by collecting information and interpreting data, and designing creative and innovative strategies for solving them.
- CB-02. - Knowing how to communicate orally and in writing in scientific and professional spheres, using own languages and English.
- CB-03. - Working in a team, helping to prepare specific and multidisciplinary projects.
- CB-04. - Planning and assessing one's own activity and learning and elaborating strategies to improve them by applying quality criteria.
- CB-05. Capacity to act, generate proposals and take decisions in research and professional activity with ethical and sustainable criteria.
- CE-01. Applying scientific rationale and the scientific method (to gather and manage data in order to formulate and test hypotheses) to analyse and explain the discipline’s subject matter.
- CE-02. Using and applying the instrumentation and experimental methodologies typical of the discipline safely.
- CE-03. Using specific computer programs for complex data processing.
- CE-04. Identifying and understanding, at a structural and functional level, the molecular bases of the structures and the biological processes, their applications and the regulation mechanisms.
- CE-05. Describing, at a structural and functional level, the cell and physiological bases of living beings.
- CE-06. Relating the macroscopic properties of matter with the characteristics and structure of the individual molecules including biomolecules and macromolecules (natural and synthetic).
- CE-07. Applying the principles and theories of chemical reactivity to the study of organic and inorganic compounds and the development of processes.
- CE-08. Using and applying the main basic operations of engineering relating them to chemical and / or biological principles.
- CE-09. Identifying and understanding the different stages of a biotechnological process, from design to development, and their main applications.
- CE-10. Identifying the bases of genetic modification so the genetic, physiological and metabolic properties of organisms of biotechnological interest can be modulated for research and their potential application.
- CE-11. Applying the main techniques, strategies and methodologies for the study, utilisation and improvement of biological systems, including the methods of cell crop and recombining DNA.
- CE-12. Applying metrological processes in order to obtain quality information in resolving problems of a qualitative and quantitative nature linked to identifying, characterising and determining organic and inorganic substances.
- CE-13. Identifying and interpreting the information contained in data bases on molecules with biological activity and applying the basic biocomputer tools.
- CE-14. Identifying and understanding the basic strategies for using organisms and biological activities in biotechnological processes.
- CE-15. Describing and identifying the risks of genetic modification and applying the rules.
- CE-16. Acquiring a critical capacity in relation to the ethical, legal and social aspects of designing, producing and marketing biotechnological products.
- CE-17. Drawing up and planning the management and execution of work-related projects.
- CE-18. Integrating bachelor's degree knowledge in a professional and research environment, incorporating economic, legislative and managerial knowledge.
The organisation of the Bachelor’s degree.
The Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology is a four-year course, during which students will achieve the skills for learning experimental methodologies, skills for applying scientific reasoning to experimental design and to data gathering, processing, interpretation and analysis. In short, you will learn a new way of thinking and solving problems, by applying the scientific method.
The first year consists of the so-called basic subjects: Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Mathematics, as well as a practical subject called Integrated Scientific Techniques, which helps students to acquire and develop the skills and competencies of laboratory work.
The second year consists of the compulsory subjects that will enable students to learn what living organisms are like from cellular and molecular points of view, and what the thermodynamic principles are which govern them, as well as an introduction to the world of chemical engineering.
In the third year you will complete learning in compulsory subjects to do with the processes that living organisms use for transforming matter, as well as the energy flows associated with those transformations. That same year will also see students learning how to use chemical engineering as a means to simulating or reproducing these processes for a specific purpose. To complete their education, students will work with data-bank bio-informatics management tools, which provide a great quantity of information on living organisms, including their structure and functions. Given that the profession of biotechnologist is geared towards several aspects of the industry, biotechnology graduates need to be capable of carrying out responsibility tasks in designing, production and management. That is why third-year students will come into contact with biotechnology-related social, legal, economic and management aspects.
Fourth-year students will take a step towards specialisation and professionalisation given that they have to choose two optional modules among the following: Industrial Application of Biotechnology; Cell and Molecular Biotechnology; Fundamental Biotechnology and Molecular Physiology. In addition, you will be offered some optional subjects: Business Placements, Biomolecular Design, Bioanalysis, Bioinorganic Chemistry, Natural Products and an Introduction to Professionalisation. To complete their Bachelor’s degree, students will have to do a bachelor's thesis where they will be able to apply all the skills they have learned to date.
University master’s degrees
The UdG offers an extensive master’s-degree programme. Master's degree courses offer advanced, specialised or multidisciplinary training, aimed at providing students with an academic or professional specialism or an introduction to research. These are official courses that enable students to move on to study for a doctoral degree.
Doctorate degree programmes
The doctoral studies are aimed at providing students with advanced training in research techniques and include the preparation and presentation of a doctoral thesis, consisting of original research work. To join a doctoral programme you need to have a minimum of between 60 and 120 ECTS credits at official university master's degree level or equivalent.
Postgraduate courses and specialisation
The University of Girona Foundation: Innovation and Training is the centre that plays host to and organises ongoing educational activities to meet the needs ongoing higher-level education. If offers own masters, postgraduate courses, specialization courses and other postgraduate activities covering all areas of knowledge.