Looking For a Job in the Biotech Industry? RIC is the Place to Earn Your Degree.

Student peering into the lens of a microscope
Rhode Island College Impact

As a leading educator of Rhode Island’s workforce, RIC has been tapped by the State of Rhode Island to assist in producing more technologically skilled graduates. Along with RIC’s new Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies, the college is launching a new B.S. degree in biotechnology.

Biotechnologists don’t turn water into wine but they do take the way we live to a whole other level. From the large-scale production of vaccines that save millions of lives to the genetic modification of crops that permit greater resistance against pests or diseases, biotechnologists are the innovators of the future.

Recently the State of Rhode Island announced plans to invest $45 million during the fiscal year 2024 to develop a biotechnology sector in Providence. In order to build the necessary workforce, the state awarded Rhode Island College $700,000 this past fiscal year to create the B.S. in biotechnology degree program and proposed another investment of $1.2 million for the current fiscal year. This investment is expected to continue for many years.

RIC President Jack Warner notes, “Rhode Island College has been an engine for the development of the state’s workforce and an anchor institution for its economic future. With this investment by the state, we will be able to make more advancements in the development of the highly skilled tech workforce that our state needs to remain competitive in the global economy.”

The B.S. in biotechnology is a multidisciplinary major that includes many existing courses at the college. While the curriculum is very similar to that of the current B.S. in biology in the first two years, biotechnology majors can select elective courses from a variety of disciplines, including biology, chemistry, computer science, math and physics, which reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the biotechnology industry.

Associate Professor and Chair of Biology Dana Kolibachuk, says, “We are excited for this new major and very grateful for the generous support the Rhode Island legislature has shown Rhode Island College thus far. We are working hard to make this program a success.”

Four new biotechnology courses have been created that help students develop both the communication skills and the technical skills needed for successful careers in the biotech industry.

In the final year of the program, students will participate in an internship experience.

Professor of Biology Geoff Stilwell underscored the importance of the internship, stating, “Students will not only gain additional specialized skills, they’ll be able to network within the industry.”

Upon graduation, they will have developed the technical, communication and laboratory skills they need for entry-level positions in the biotech industry and be well-positioned for jobs within the state.

Opportunities abound for biotechnologists in the pharmaceutical, health care, manufacturing, agricultural and food science industries.

“This new major is guaranteed to be a win for everyone involved,” says Kolibachuk. “Students will develop the skills they need for employment in a field that is expected to grow, companies will benefit from a skilled local workforce and the economy of Rhode Island benefits by having these companies located within the state.”

Indeed, biotechnologists are at the forefront of the future of technology and Rhode Island College intends to be there, educating and ushering in the wave of the future.

For more information about the B.S. in biotechnology, contact Associate Professor Dana Kolibachuk at dkolibachuk@ric.edu.