ABT Course Descriptions

ABT Course Descriptions

ABT Course Descriptions

Year 1

An introduction to biotechnology: historical perspectives, current applications and future directions. The course will consist of informal lectures and interactive discussions led by Biotechnology faculty and visiting professionals. The course will also orient students to the educational/career opportunities in Biotechnology and assist them in developing a focus for their individualized degree programs. Lecture, two hours per week.

Prereq: First year or first semester transfer students in Agricultural Biotechnology

This course is designed for science and non-science majors, giving students an understanding of how genetics influences and impacts our social fabric on a daily basis, and equipping students with a sufficient understanding to participate in the policy debates that are impacting our lives. The course will introduce students to the basic concepts of genetics and to the modern methodologies of molecular genetics.  The course will also educate students in the process of scientific discovery and empower students with the knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate the present and future impact of genetics on society. While the course is intended for freshmen, students at all class standings are welcome to enroll.  (Offered in spring only.)

Prereq:  none

Year 2

A course designed to acquaint students with the common experimental methods used in agricultural biotechnology. Students will be presented with several case studies which demonstrate basic scientific reasoning and experimental strategies. The students will then use their understanding of basic scientific methods and agricultural systems to critically evaluate work from the current scientific literature. Each student will be required to provide a written and oral evaluation of a research project in some aspect of agricultural biotechnology. The class will provide the students with the basic skills needed for preparing their own research proposals. (Offered in the fall semester only)

Prereq: ABT 101 and enrollment in the Agricultural Biotechnology degree program or consent of instructor.

An experiential education internship focusing on introducing students to the culture and activities of a science lab without the pressure or expectation of research productivity. Students will gain experience and confidence with important laboratory activities such as (but not limited to) maintaining clean equipment, media preparation, biological organism maintenance, and data organization and analysis. While students enrolled in this course are encouraged to participate in research if possible, the focus is to learn effective laboratory citizenship and familiarity with a new scientific practice.

Prereq: Major standing in the Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology program.

Years 3 and 4


This course will focus on effective communication of ideas and research results in biotechnology. It will focus on both written presentations, in the form of research publications and research proposals, and oral presentations. The focus of this course is on student participation. Students will be required to provide both oral and written evaluations of research publications and proposals. The first part of the semester will focus on a dissection, evaluation, and discussion of recent Biotechnology-related research publications. Students will be required to provide both oral and written evaluations of the publications that are discussed. Next, they will discuss the aspects of successful oral presentations, including the effective use of visual aids. The middle of the semester will be spent developing a research proposal, focusing on the separate components of a proposal. The end of the semester will involve student presentations of a research proposal that they have developed. These presentations will be evaluated and discussed by the other members of the class. The goal of this course is to develop skills in the evaluation of research, to provide practice in scientific writing, to prepare Biotechnology students to write their independent study research proposals and written reports, to develop oral communication skills, and to expose students to current literature and research in Biotechnology. Lecture, discussion and oral presentations.

Prereq: Agricultural Biotechnology major or consent of instructor. 

The basic principles of heredity as currently understood from evidence accumulated in classical, cytogenetic, molecular, and quantitative genetic experiments. Emphasis is placed on a thorough understanding of genetic principles and the relationship of genetics to all biological disciplines.

Prereq: Six credits in biological sciences and one course in general chemistry. 

Independent research in biotechnology under the supervision of a research mentor. In addition to developing a written research report, students will deliver their oral research presentations during a symposium at the end of the semester.

Prereq: Major standing in the Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology program, submission of a learning contract, and consent of instructor.


Research in biotechnology under the supervision of a faculty member. One to four credit hours/semester. The course may be repeated for a maximum of six credits, but the student must meet the requirements each semester to allow enrollment. This course should further the students' experience with science, enhance their appreciation for the scientific process, and what it means to conduct scientific research.

Prereq: Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology major, consent of advisor before registration and identification of a faculty research mentor.


Molecular genetics is the study of the biochemical basis of heredity and focuses on the structure and expression of DNA at the molecular and cellular level. The course will provide a detailed understanding of the biochemical events involved in replication, prokaryotic and eukaryotic transcription, and translation of DNA, as well as RNA processing, recombination, and the theoretical underpinnings of genetic engineering. (Same as ENT 460)

Prereq: ABT 360 (or equivalent) or consent of instructor.

This survey course examines the population dynamics and equilibria of genes in nuclei, chloroplasts and mitochondria. Emphasis will be on biological relevance (in plants, animals, and micro-organisms), but some theoretical derivations will also be introduced. (Same as BIO/ENT/FOR 461)

Prereq: ABT 360 (or equivalent) and one course in probability/statistics. 

A laboratory techniques course designed to give students the technical skills and understanding necessary to critically examine biological systems at the molecular level. The course will emphasize the principles of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology as applied to a model system for laboratory investigations. Laboratory, eight hours per week.

Prereq: ABT 360 (or equivalent), Agricultural Biotechnology major or consent of instructor.

4-Year Plan

Many of the courses on this page are part of the ABT program. Review the ABT 4-year plan to learn more.

View 4-Year Plan

Contact Information

Esther Fleming
Academic Coordinator

N-24C Ag. Science Center North Lexington, KY 40546-0091

+1 (859) 257-3263