South Dakota’s biotech industries are projecting substantial growth for the next several years, and the University Center is responding with programs that will train skilled workers to handle chemical and biological research.

“In the last five years, South Dakota has grown its bioscience jobs by 11 percent,” said Joni Johnson, executive director of South Dakota Biotech. “Employment is projected to increase 10.8 percent through 2020.” South Dakota Biotech is a nonprofit membership organization focused on developing the bioscience industry in the state.

Among the programs created to meet the critical need for biotech companies is a new undergraduate associate of science degree in integrated science, which joins two certificate programs currently offered at the University of South Dakota’s Department of Biomedical Engineering at University Center.

The new degree is aimed at students who want to develop skills related to chemical and biochemical research, medical device and pharmaceutical development, industrial operations, and life sciences. Courses completed in the associate’s and certificate programs also can be applied toward earning a bachelor’s degree in related areas.

Last fall, students began enrolling to earn a certificate in regulatory affairs and a certificate in laboratory science. Students in both programs take eight credit hours in integrated science and good laboratory practices. The certificate in regulatory affairs also includes a three-credit regulatory affairs course, and the laboratory science certificate requires four credits of microbiology. 

Starting in the fall of 2017 those students – and new enrollees – can go after the new associate’s degree. Students will study chemistry, biology, and physics combined with courses on subjects such as biomedical technologies and medical device design for a total of 60 credits.  



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