Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Microbial Engineering M.S.

BioTechnology Institute
College of Biological Sciences
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
M.S. Program in Microbial Engineering, University of Minnesota, 1479 Gortner Avenue, Suite 140, Saint Paul, MN 55108 (612-624-6774; fax 612-625-5780)
  • Program Type: Master's
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2018
  • Length of program in credits: 30
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Master of Science
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
Microbial engineering allows students to pursue an interdisciplinary program that combines microbiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, bioinformatics, chemical engineering, and related sciences. Students perform brief rotations in faculty laboratories to choose an independent project, and tailor their coursework to support and complement their research. Projects can span modern basic microbiology, applied industrial engineering, as well as include computer science and informatics disciplines. After graduation, many students choose to continue on to a PhD program in a related discipline or work directly in biotechnology research and development. Supporting courses are chosen from fields including biochemistry, microbiology, food science, genetics and cell biology, and computer science. The program is coordinated by the BioTechnology Institute (BTI) and involves faculty from 10 departments and 5 institutes of the University.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
Typically, applicants with a bachelor's degree in biological sciences, biochemistry, chemistry, or chemical engineering apply. Recommended academic preparation includes one year each of calculus, organic chemistry, physics, microbiology, and a background in a field such as basic chemical engineering, biology, physical chemistry, or genetics. Background deficiencies can be made up during the first year of graduate work. Most students enter the program with a GPA of 3.40 or higher.
Special Application Requirements:
Three letters of recommendation, scores from the General Test of the GRE, the TOEFL score for international applicants, transcripts, Curriculum Vitae, and an autobiographical statement including occupational goals must be submitted to the director of graduate studies. Applications are accepted for fall semester only. To receive full consideration for financial aid, students must apply for fall semester admission by February 1.
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 550
    • Total Score: 6.5
    • Final score: 80
    • Speaking test score: 0
Key to test abbreviations (TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Plan A: Plan A requires 14 major credits, 6 credits outside the major, and 10 thesis credits. The final exam is oral.
Plan B: Plan B requires 24 major credits and 6 credits outside the major. The final exam is oral.
This program may not be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
Students must attend research seminars during the first-year spring semester, and must present a research seminar in a biotechnology seminar series the following year.
Required Course
MICE 5355 - Advanced Fermentation and Biocatalysis Laboratory (1.0 cr)
Supporting Coursework
Take at least 6 credits of supporting coursework, which can either be from the following list or other courses, in consultation with the advisor.
BIOC 5xxx
BIOC 8xxx
FSCN 5xxx
FSCN 8xxx
PHAR 5xxx
PHAR 8xxx
PBIO 5xxx
PBIO 8xxx
GCB 5xxx
GCB 8xxx
Plan Options
Plan A
Take at least 13 credits, in consultation with the advisor, to meet the 14-credit minimum for the major.
CHEN 5xxx
CHEN 8xxx
MICB 5xxx
MICB 8xxx
Thesis Credits
Take at least 10 master's thesis credits.
MICE 8777 - Thesis Credits: Master's (1.0-18.0 cr)
Plan B
Take at least 23 additional credits, in consultation with the advisor, to meet the 24-credit minimum for the major.
CHEN 5xxx
CHEN 8xxx
MICB 5xxx
MICB 8xxx
Plan B Requirement
The Plan B project comprises a 4-credit summer preceptorship in a private company research laboratory, or in a University research institute, culminating in a project paper. The appropriate 4-credit course is selected with the approval of the advisor.
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MICE 5355 - Advanced Fermentation and Biocatalysis Laboratory
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Course Equivalencies: MicE 5355/ChEn 5355
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Methods in industrial microbiology, lab, and pilot scale fermentation/biocatalysis engineering. Lab experiments carried out in fermentation pilot plant. Operation of bench/pilot scale bioreactors. Designing bioreactors. Process optimization, monitoring, and control. Scale-up experiments, data analysis. prereq: [3301 or BIOL 3301], [grad student in microbial engineering or upper-div major in [microbiology or chem engineering or biochemistry]], instr consent
MICE 8777 - Thesis Credits: Master's
Credits: 1.0 -18.0 [max 50.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 10 cr total required [Plan A only]