Department of Graduate Biotechnology Joins the School of AREAS, New Undergraduate Program to Start in 2017

The Alcorn State University School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Sciences just got bigger: it has recently added the Department of Graduate Biotechnology.

“The program will allow graduate students to receive a master’s degree in biotechnology,” said Interim Chair Keith McGee, associate professor of biological sciences.

One of Dr. McGee’s main goals is to reconsolidate this program under the leadership of the School of AREAS to prepare students for careers in agriculture, biotechnology and molecular biology as well as create a space for new undergraduate programs.

“With this program, students can look forward to vast opportunities and careers in agriculture, veterinary medicine, and a number of fields in biotechnology,” said McGee. “Biotechnology touches just about everything and is one of the fastest growing sectors there is.”

The graduate program has been in place since 2010 under the joint leadership of the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of AREAS. The program has graduated over 20 students, and currently has nine faculty members and ten students.

The department is also targeting fall semester of 2017 as the starting date of an additional undergraduate program. Students can expect the courses to take place in a classroom setting and meet their instructors face-to-face. (The core curriculum will follow the requirement of 120 hours with 30-36 hours of lab-based courses taught by a diverse faculty).

McGee looks forward to creating a robust group of students in the department that will represent the University well.

“My long-term goal is to develop a Ph.D. program. That way we’ll have the full spectrum covered with program offerings from bachelor’s to Ph.D. degree in biotechnology,” he said. “We, also, want to see more involvement with industry – companies such as Monsanto, Tyson Foods and Archer Daniels Midland, and pharmaceutical companies as well.”

For more information, please contact Dr. Keith McGee at [email protected] or (601) 877-6198, or call the Department of Graduate Biotechnology at (601) 877-6658 or (601) 877- 6678.