What is Biotechnology Engineering
Biotechnology engineering, as the name suggests, is a combination of biology and technology. It is the engineering discipline that is concerned with the study of biological systems, often manipulating them for better efficiency and understanding. Biotechnology covers the areas concerning the engineering of living systems like plant technology, biomedical technology, pharmaceuticals, drug design, animal husbandry, forensics, genetic engineering, biochemical engineering, molecular biology, biomimicry, bioinformatics to name a few. Hence, the origin of the term biotechnology is clearly reflected in the multidisciplinary nature of Biotechnology Engineering course. The stream contains essential biological science and complementary engineering field concepts, which together make biotechnology engineering an interesting subject. The course trains and equips students with theoretical knowledge that is combined with intriguing practical rigour.
The biotechnology engineering course usually begins with an undergraduate introductory course which introduces you to the plethora of biotechnology. Candidates can further pursue an enhanced specialization by taking up postgraduate studies (Master of Technology (M.Tech) or Master of Science (M.Sc.)). Candidates who want to be an expert with sound knowledge and experience in biotechnology engineering can do a doctoral study by taking up a PhD. The scope of jobs after completing the courses is also significantly high both in India as well as abroad. Read further to know and understand the nitty-gritty of a highly rewarding career in biotechnology engineering.
Biotechnology Engineering Course Highlights
Diploma, UG, PG, Doctoral
Direct college exams, common entrance exams and academic qualifications
Duration of the programme
Diploma - 2 years
PG- 2 years
Types of specializations
Undergraduate level (4-year courses)
B.Tech or B.E. in Biotechnology Engineering (BT)
B.Tech or B.E. in Biochemical Engineering
B.Tech or B.E. in Biomedical Engineering
B.Tech or B.E. in Agriculture Biotechnology Engineering
Postgraduate level (2-year courses)
M.Tech or M.E. in BT
M.Tech or M.E. in Clinical Engineering
M.Tech or M.E. in Biochemical Engineering
M.Sc or Master of Science in Life Science, Genetics, Microbiology, Biophysics
Average course fee
Range from Rs. 15,000-11, 00,000 based on the level and college
Average Salary (per month)
Around Rs. 3 - 10 lakhs
Research Associate, Project Associate, Lab Technician, Scientist Process Engineer, Biotechnologist, Biotechnology Engineer, Lecturers, Professors, Advisor/Consultants
Biotechnology Engineering-Degrees and Levels:
Diploma level (3 years courses)
A diploma equips with beginner to intermediate skills in biological science and biotechnology engineering that enable students to pursue basic technical jobs in the BT industry.
Undergraduate level (4-year courses)
- B.E. or B.Tech in Biotechnology Engineering (BT)
- B.E. or B.Tech in Biochemical Engineering
- B.E. or B.Tech in Biomedical Engineering
- B.E. or B.Tech in Agriculture Biotechnology Engineering
Postgraduate level (2-year courses)
- M.Tech or M.E. in BT
- M.Tech or M.E. in Clinical Engineering
- M.Tech or M.E. in Biochemical Engineering
- M.Sc or Master of Science in Life Science, Genetics, Microbiology, Biophysics
Dual degree (Undergraduate + postgraduate 5-year course)- B.Tech + M.Tech or B.S + M.S course provides dual degree with a specialisation in a sub-field of biotechnology.
Postgraduate level (Research-based)
To pursue this it requires an undergraduate degree. Candidates will typically choose the area of specialisation and work with a professor on a thesis project. It combines the intensive academic rigour of research and professional environment.
Doctoral programme (Research-based)
A doctoral study is an indication that a candidate wants to dedicate their career for a particular field of interest with ardent focus. It usually culminates with research and academic career. A postgraduate level qualification is needed in any subfield of biotechnology for this programme. A national-level qualification examination apart from the undergraduate and postgraduate are essential to secure a coveted doctoral degree seat.
Eligibility Criteria (UG & PG) of Biotechnology Engineering
In order to be eligible for a diploma course in biotechnology engineering, one has to have a minimum of 55% aggregate marks in class 10. However, for the SC/ST/PwD category, the required percentage of marks is relaxed. For undergraduate courses, the minimum eligibility into government biotechnology engineering colleges is 75% in class 12 with the subjects Maths, Physics and Chemistry. The eligibility is reduced by 5% for SC/ST/PwD category students. Along with this, candidates are required to qualify the entrance exams as per the scores accepted by the colleges/universities applying for.
Apart from the entrance exam score, the postgraduate (M.S and M.Tech) biotechnology engineering course(s) has the minimum requirements of B.Tech or B.Sc for admission. The eligibility criteria include a B.E or B. Tech degree with a minimum of 60% marks or 6.0 (out of 10.0) Grade Point Average (GPA) in the disciplines of biotechnology engineering.
Admission Criteria for Biotechnology Engineering after Class 12th
Biotechnology Engineering courses, at different levels, have different qualifying requirements to be eligible for admission. At Diploma level, the course is mostly accessible to all students who have completed class 10. At the undergraduate level, students should have completed studies in the science stream, including subjects such as physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics to be eligible for admission. For Master's programmes, the compulsory criterion is an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology Engineering or related disciplines like chemistry, biology, and life sciences either in engineering or pure sciences subjects. Along with this, candidates are required to qualify the entrance examination.
Entrance Examinations for Biotechnology Engineering
The admission varies based on the level you want to get into. There are different types of an entrance examination that secure your seat in different biotechnology engineering institutes across India. The diploma in biotechnology engineering, for instance, has individual college-based admission tests.
For undergraduate biotechnology engineering courses, the score of the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE Main) is considered valid by many colleges and universities. It is used for the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) across India in all the states. The JEE Advanced is for getting admission in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and Indian Institute of Science(IISc). Almost all IITs and NITs offer a very extensive Biotechnology engineering course that one can pursue. For postgraduate programmes, Jawaharlal Nehru University Combined Entrance Examination for Biotechnology (JNU CEEB), Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) are some of the major evaluation examinations for securing admission, where the score of these two is used by almost all reputed colleges to get M.Tech admission. For the M.Sc admission, The IIT Joint Admission Test (JAM) is another important examination.
Fees and Expenses of Biotechnology Engineering Courses
The fee and college expenses of biotechnology courses are as follows:
Diploma level: Fee is in the range of Rs. 15,000-Rs. 1,30,000.
Undergraduate level: Fee entirely depends on the biotechnology engineering college. It is typically between Rs. 45,000-Rs. 11,00,000.
Postgraduate and research: The fees structure at postgraduate level is determined by the institution chosen by candidates. It is in the range of Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 3,00,000. There is a decent stipend allocated for MS and PhD students of biotechnology as well; it can be between Rs. 12,000-Rs. 45,000 per month.
Scope of Biotechnology Engineering in India and Abroad
Biotechnology is one of the most emerging fields of study. It is often termed as the next giant of the industry after IT. So, what makes the field of BT an alluring one? Let's quickly explore a few major prospects in this promising field. In India, the pharmaceutical industry has already reached global prominence and is ever-growing. The sector constantly recruits skilled professionals.
In India, research is majorly undertaken by public-funded institutions and there is a wide scope of jobs in the plethora of BT institutions. These labs often take highly talented employees and comprise a challenging environment which offers an intense learning opportunity and attractive perks. Not to forget the big pharma industry which is a multi-billion dollar segment and has very great potential if you are passionate and skilled. Some other emerging fields include food technology and healthcare technology where modern companies and labs have emerged in India. Bioinformatics and computational biology also offer attractive opportunities that are desk-based jobs and require high analytical thinking.
While in India, biotechnology is an upcoming sector yet to reach its golden bloom, many foreign countries have already realised the importance of biotechnology. It has enormous scope in developed countries where you can secure a great position with BT and allied fields. Modern and trending technologies are often treated with respect and with huge potential for funding, you can explore your passion with ease.
Course Fees Biotechnology Engineering
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The list of the major subjects for both undergraduate and postgraduate BT courses is as follows:
English / Language
Computer Programming and utilization
Elements of Engineering studies
Communication and Life Skills
Various specialization courses in biotechnology engineering include:
Cell Biology and Biological Systems
Genomics and Bioinformatics
Note: These are only representative lists of subjects and are certainly not exhaustive ones. The exact course title and list of subjects vary from college to college.
Careers in Biotechnology Engineering
The biotechnology industry is an upcoming and dynamic sector in India. There are many emerging sectors of employment which are exclusive to biotechnology engineering. India is one of the largest pharmaceutical producing countries in the world and hence, is the biggest source of employment in the BT industry. Besides, there are other industries too which offer jobs after BT course.
Following are some of the major industries which require certified biotechnology engineers for various positions.
Academic and institutional research: Many roles in the entry-level like technician, research assistant, lab manager and project associate are offered by many reputed universities and institutions in India.
Pharmaceuticals and drug industry: Some of the key roles like technicians and analysts are filled by fresh graduates from biotechnology engineering colleges, in this industry.
Chemical Industry: The overlapping fields of biotechnology engineering and chemical technologies make it possible for students to pursue chemical industry-related jobs. There are many process engineering-related technologies in common and one can get a job in any such roles. An example is the brewing industry which needs skilled brewers. They are mostly fresh college pass-outs with a degree in chemical engineering or biotechnology engineering.
Environment: There are many roles in the market which demand cutting-edge skills. Roles like lab assistants and technicians in environment assessment laboratories need to have a basic BT background.
Clinical sectors involving research: Many clinical and pathological laboratories need beginner level biotechnology engineers, and it is a prominent area of employment in India. With many healthcare facilities coming up, the numbers of these job roles are further increasing.
Waste Management: An integral part of sustainable environmental development, waste management is very crucial and requires BT engineers to be employed to mitigate the effects of wastes on nature.
Food processing industries: All major FMCG products, agriculture-based industries hire biotechnology engineers for highly specialized roles in the production domain.
Bio-energy and related industries With a rising need to switch the energy modes to cleaner and more sustainable ones, the energy sector is also emerging as a significant employment provider for BT graduates.
Bio-processing industries: One of the prominent industries that are considered traditional yet an enormous opportunity provider for biotechnology engineers is bioprocessing engineering.
Bioinformatics: As data-based roles are gaining demand post software industry disruption and bioinformatics also has large computational needs, it will be creating more jobs for skilled candidates passing freshly out of the BT colleges and institutes.
As you can clearly see, almost all of these roles require specialization and advanced skills in biotechnology. You can choose your area of interest after the introductory biotechnology engineering courses and align your options accordingly with proper industrial training.
Many recent developments and discoveries have shaped the human understanding of basic things as simple as understanding the human sleep cycle or protein shape. With modern technology and the computer-aided processing capacities, biotechnology is at the forefront of unveiling the most astounding discoveries of life. The next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology was a breakthrough to understand the basic building blocks of all life forms, followed by it, the windows id opened to the plethora of computational biology fields that take us into the future. Genomic and proteomic technologies that form a part of the biotechnology engineering courses are the way forward.
Genetic engineering methods like CRISPR technology have revolutionized the way humans can synthesize new forms of life. The study and analysis of humongous data has enabled never before the understanding of origin and evolution of living organisms on earth. These are a few modern areas in Biotechnology that require a lot of human resources and promise a bright future for the upcoming generation. Hence, not only from the scientific research and development point of view but also in terms of employability, biotechnology engineering institutes are surely going to play a crucial role in shaping the country’s future.
Job Profiles and Top Recruiters
Some of the important job profiles offered in the biotechnology engineering industry are as follows:
Research Associate- The role of Research Associate (RA) demands to work on short research assignments related to biotechnology engineering.
Technician- It is a skilled job and requires well trained and knowledgeable people to smoothly run the company’s operations. All of these are complex tools and require sound knowledge and skills to be able to handle the job smoothly.
Scientist-The role of a scientist requires one to work on research projects that provide outputs that can be further taken up by industries and collaborators.
Professors- The role is tasked with teaching college and university students.
Advisor/Consultants- The role involves providing technical and expert advice for solving major problems.
Department of Biotechnology
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
Academic Institutions: NITs/IITs/Central universities
Dr Reddy’s Laboratories
Aurigene Discovery Technologies Limited
Avesthagen Technologies Pvt Ltd
Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
So, from the above discussion, it is clear that the scope in biotechnology engineering is huge and is expanding like never before. Fresh pass-outs from BT institutes and biotechnology professionals with relevant years of experience can expect to get good jobs in the sectors of nutrition, food processing, pharma and healthcare, animal sciences, agriculture, and environmental conservation and become successful in the long run.
The Biotechnology industry in India is a very emerging one. The major employers are research facilities and to an extent industrial players. There is a promising future for the industrial segment. The typical range of remuneration for the diploma or similar course certified biotechnology engineers are around Rs 3 - 5 lakhs, and it increases with the qualification of undergraduate engineers, it is around Rs. 8 - 10 lakhs. A Postgraduate degree and higher specialization can offer more job security and consistent pay, typically in central research laboratories and in academic institutions, a salary can range between Rs 12-20 Lakhs, based on experience and knowledge.
Required Skillset for Biotechnology Engineering
Following non-science specific competencies are given maximum weightage by the biotechnology engineering employers:
Patience and tenacity: A research-oriented profession, biotechnology engineering is unlike any 9-5 job. One has to toil a lot at the laboratory with results pending for hours or even days. The candidates must have that amount of patience and tenacity to be able to taste success in their respective field.
Organizational skill: This is essentially related to time management. Creating deadlines and meeting those, delegating non-core jobs, goal-setting and meeting goals, and decision-making are some of the important aspects of this skill.
Detail-oriented: Research and data handling requires one to be extremely detail-oriented. Be it online or offline research or delving in the details of a project, biotechnology engineers should take every small detail into account to avoid any technological error.
Problem-solving/troubleshooting: This is the ability to identify and define a problem, propose more than one solution to it, evaluating each solution and selecting the best alternative to reach at a concrete conclusion without any impediment, in a timely manner.
Time management: Biotechnology engineering courses require students to be extremely particular about time management as they form a part of a bigger value-chain and even a small delay on their part can have a significant impact on the entire process. They must have knowledge of the four types of tasks and how best to manage them- i. Important urgent, ii. Important but not urgent, iii. Not important but urgent and iv. Not important and not urgent.
Project management: A project has some pre-defined deliverables and project management skill means the ability to produce those deliverables within a definite timeline and budget.
Course Curriculum for Biotechnology Engineering
The course curriculum of BT is an amalgamation of the basic biological science concepts and rigorous engineering. A typical biotechnology engineering UG programme has the following key concepts covered in the entire course of study.
Basic science courses: Physics, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry
Basic engineering courses: thermodynamics, materials science
Introduction to Process Engineering
Environmental science and engineering
The curriculum for the postgraduate biotechnology mostly consists of advanced level subjects and topics providing in-depth knowledge in various aspects of biotechnology engineering. The curriculum, however, can vary slightly from college to college.