B.Tech Biotechnology vs B.Sc Biotechnology

Biotechnology is a highly interdisciplinary field that combines biological sciences with engineering technologies to manipulate living organisms and biological systems to produce products that advances healthcare, medicine, agriculture, food, pharmaceuticals and environment control. Some of the best innovations and developments that have come out of Biotechnology are: genomic sequencing technology, natural alternatives to pesticides, production of biofuels and developments in stem cells technology.

B.Tech degree in Biotechnology encompasses both the biological sciences as well as engineering aspects of Biotechnology. The B.Tech curriculum covers life sciences subjects such as Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Cell Biology etc and engineering subjects like Bioprocess Engineering, Biochemical Engineering, Thermodynamics, MassTransfer etc.

A B.Sc degree on the other hand focuses more on the biological sciences aspect of Biotechnology. There will be a few subjects (1 or 2) related to industrial processes but the main emphasis will be on R&D in biological sciences fields such as Biochemistry, Plant and Animal Biotechnology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Microbial Genetics, to name a few.

A broad suggestion:

There is no such thing as a B.Tech being better than a B.Sc or vice versa. Students must choose a course that aligns with their long term goals. Do you want to pursue a research career in areas such as Stem Cells, Genetic Engineering, Plant Biotechnology, Molecular Biology etc.? If yes, choose B.Sc/MSc Biotechnology or B.Sc Biotechnology and MSc in any specialized field of Biotechnology and pursue your PhD if interested.

If you want to keep your options open, then go for B.Tech Biotechnology. Many B.Tech students who do not find jobs in biotech sector shift to software, management etc. So, this is an added bonus for biotech students and this kind of transition will be tougher with a B.Sc and MSc degree in Biotechnology.

Scope of Biotechnology for B.Tech students:

Any student who wants to pursue a career in Biotechnology must be aware that this field is still developing in India. Therefore job openings and pay packages are both low when compared to IT.

After a B.Tech degree, students can find jobs in pharmaceutical companies, research labs and institutions in India. However, most students tend to go abroad to pursue their masters or doctorate studies in Biotechnology and allied fields. Some also shift to MBA and enter the world of business, finance and banking as their engineering background gives them the required quantitative skills to excel in these sectors. Many shift to software through on-campus placements. Regarding on-campus placements, since the number of job openings is very less in Biotechnology, the number of companies coming for placements will be few. Core companies only hire students from universities such as IITs, NITs etc. If your university is not reputed nationally or state wise, chances of any biotech or pharmaceutical company coming for placements sessions will be low.

Since this field is highly research oriented, vast and diverse, it is highly recommended that students pursue their graduate studies in Biotechnology, Biomedical sciences, Biological sciences, Bioprocess Engineering etc.

Scope in Biotechnology for B.Sc students:

If you are a B.Sc student in Biotechnology or any other it is highly recommended that you pursue your MSc. The job opportunities for B.Sc graduates in a highly research oriented field such as Biotechnology is limited. Most students tend to pursue their MSc in Biotechnology. India is home to some excellent MSc programs such as JNU, DU, IISc, TIFR, IITs etc. With an MSc degree, most students tend to work in research labs and industries as research assistants. It is highly recommended that you do your MSc in a reputed institution for good campus placements and job opportunities.

Many MSc students tend to pursue their PhD degrees in Biotechnology or related fields as a PhD degree opens up more avenues both in India and worldwide. A PhD degree will give you the ability to start your own research lab, become a professor or HOD in universities or lead a team of research scientists..

The verdict:

If you are passionate about improving the quality of people's lives through research, then this field will fit you perfectly. Since Biotechnology is in its nascent stages in India, many students tend to get disillusioned with the limited opportunities. Indian government has set up research institutions which conduct research in Cancer Biology, Stem Cells, Genetic Engineering, Biomedical Sciences etc.

Players in the Biotechnology sector in India

Companies, institutions and labs: Following is a list of companies, universities and research institutions that are renowned in India and worldwide for their work in Biotechnology and allied fields.

Pharmaceuticals: Biocon, IFGL Bioceramics Limited, Orbees medical, Invitrogen, Glaxosmithkline, Reliance life sciences, CTS life sciences, Dr.Reddy's labs, Cipla, Jubilant life sciences, Wockhardt, Torrent pharma, Cadila healthcare and Ranbaxy.

Universities & institutes offering Biotechnology courses after Class XII:IIT, IPU, Jamia, Punjab Univ, Manipal etc.

Research institution: Center for Cell and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), CSIR - Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) , National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), National Chemical Laboratories (NCL), National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology ( RGCB), Institute of Microbial Technology (CSIR-IMTech) , MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), National Institute of Immunology (NII), AU-KBC research centre, Centre for Stem Cell Research (CSCR).

Healthcare: Cerner corporation, Unitedhealth Group.

For more details on how to get into Biotechnology courses Click HERE

About the blogger: Shruti is a consultant at MyExamPlan.com. She can be reached at shruti@myexamplan.com