Biotech

In 1819, Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia to question convention, expand understanding, and harness the "useful sciences" as a means to better society. In the nearly two centuries since, UVA has become one of the nation's premier academic institutions. Combining outstanding coursework, world-class faculty and cross-disciplinary collaboration, we are dedicated to advancing knowledge for the common good. 

Our students who pursue careers in the biotech area come from a variety of experiences and have unique skills they can offer as an employee for your organization. 

Jump ahead to: 

Student Demographics

Undergraduate Enrollment by Major (2015)

  • Biology- 604
  • Chemistry- 208
  • Biomedical Engineering- 282
  • Chemical Engineering- 140

Degrees Conferred by Major (2012-13)

  • Biology- 282
  • Chemistry- 117
  • Biomedical Engineering- 70
  • Chemical Engineering- 55
  • Materials Science and Engineering (Masters)- 7

Rankings and Data Points

The University of Virginia prides itself for being among the nation's most elite colleges and universities. Both the university and its schools are nationally ranked, and students in our schools related to the biotechnology industry achieve 3.0 GPAs or higher. 

U.S. News and World Report Rankings

  • No. 2 public university in the country
  • No. 24 among the 310 "national universities"
  • No. 5 public university best value
  • No. 25 most innovative school
  • No. 1 among public universities in first-year retention and 2015 graduation rate 

School Rankings

  • The School of Engineering and Applied Science ranks No. 21 among public schools that offer a doctoral degree and ties for No. 32 overall

Average GPA by School (2015)

  • Arts and Sciences- 3.296 (10,291 students)
  • Engineering- 3.285 (2,577 students)

Curriculum

Biology

The B.S. Biology degree program is designed primarily for students who plan to pursue largely technical careers in the biological sciences immediately after graduation.

Biology majors are required to complere a core curriculum that includes: 

  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Evolution and Ecology
  • Biochemistry
  • Developmental & Regenerative Biology 
  • Introduction to Neurobiology 

Additionally, majors are required to complete at least six houts of laboratory course work at or above the 3000 level. 

Other upper-level courses from the curriculum include: 

  • Synthetic Biology 
  • Human Genetics
  • Population Biology and Conservation Biology 
  • Developmental Mechanisms of Human Disease 

Chemistry

The Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry (B.A.) is a flexible program designed to prepare the student for further study in a wide range of fields. With a minimum number of required courses, the chemistry B.A. permits the student to design an undergraduate program uniquely suited to individual needs.

The Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (B.Sc.) is a pre-professional degree designed for students who plan to become chemists, either by going to graduate school or by working in the chemical industry. The B.Sc. program, certified by the American Chemical Society, emphasizes intensive study in the sciences.

The B.Sc. in Chemistry with Specialization in Biochemistry caters to students having a strong interest in biology and biological chemistry by incorporating biologically-related lecture and laboratory courses. Many students in this program plan to attend medical or dental school, but a significant fraction pursues graduate study in chemistry, biochemistry, environmental science, or related areas.

Some highlighted courses from the curriculum include: 

  • Cell Biology and Biochemistry
  • Physical Chemistry 
  • Analytical Chemistry 
  • Nanomaterials: Synthesis, Properties and Applications 

Biomedical Engineering 

Biomedical Engineering's innovative research programs span basic to translational research. Historical strength in cardiovascular science and medical imaging is prominent, with deeply rooted partnerships in the Cardiovascular Research Center, Cancer Center, and Department of Radiology. Collaboration across the Schools of Medicine and Engineering likewise drive more recent research excellence in computational systems biology, tissue engineering, and cell and molecular engineering.

The undergraduate program merges  human biology with laboratory and clinical perspectives, a solid engineering education with depth in a complementary field, and product and experimental design throughout all four years.

Some highlighted courses from the curriculum include: 

  • Computational Biomedical Engineering 
  • Biomedical Engineering Design and Discovery 
  • Biomechanics
  • Biomedical Systems Analysis and Design 
  • Capstone Design 

Chemical Engineering 

The Chemical Engineering program has a research program focused on Bioengineering and Biotechnology. 

Some highlighted courses from the general curriculum include: 

  • Introduction to Programming
  • Chemical Reaction Engineering 
  • Chemical Engineering Design 
  • Comp. Model and Sim

Some highlighted courses from the Bioengineering and Biotechnology concentration include: 

  • Modeling and Simulation in Chemical Engineering 
  • Material and Energy Balances
  • Biochemical Engineering 
  • Bioprocess and Bioproduct Engineering 
  • Bioseparation Engineering 

Research Partners

  • Department of Cell Biology- The Department of Cell Biology at the University of Virginia conducts biotechnology and translational research that is pursued with  the goal of translating laboratory discoveries towards the enhancement of human health. Additionally,  the Department is actively educating the next generation of translational scientists. It does so through the  Biotechnology Training Program.
  • Coulter Translational Research Partnership- The Coulter Translational Research Partnership is a $20M program that funds cutting edge biomedical technologies with the purpose of improving clinical practice. The program is also dedicated to training serial innovators in translational research and commercialization.

Top Employers

UVA graduates have gone on to work for a variety of companies in the biotechnology field. Some employers of our alums include: 

  • Eutropics Pharmaceuticals
  • Kwon Park
  • Nitto Denko Avecia Inc. 
  • St. Jude Medical Center

Student Experiences

Contracted Independent Organizations (CIOs)

There are nearly 1,000 different student organizations at the University of Virginia. Among them include these organizations specifically focused on biotechnology: 

  • Virginia Biotechnology Association- Chapter at UVA- The Virginia Biotechnology Association Chapter at UVa is a professional student organization that seeks to support the biotechnology community on Grounds and provide opportunities for UVa students to connect with the broader Virginia biotech community.
  • The American Institute of Chemical Engineers at UVA- The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) student chapter at the University of Virginia is an active academic organization that promotes the professional development of its members along with the development of Chemical Engineering at the University. AIChE at UVA provides an outlet for the social enjoyment of its members through its events, relationships with other student chapters and the parent body of AIChE, and faculty and staff of the Chemical Engineering Department at UVa. AIChE at UVA hosts a chemeE car team and contributes to the community through its service branch, Wahoo Wizards.

Student Research

The following are examples of research opporunities provided through the Center for Undergraduate Excellence:

  • Amgen Scholars Program in Science and Biotechnology- The Amgen Scholars Program provides approximately 250 selected undergraduate students with the opportunity to engage in a hands-on research experience at some of the nation’s leading educational institutions.  Amgen Scholars will have the opportunity to take part in important university research projects, gain hands-on lab experience and contribute to the advancement of science; interact with and receive guidance from faculty mentors, including some of the nation’s top academic scientists; and attend scientific seminars, workshops and other networking activities.
  • VA-NC Alliance Summer Research Program at the University of Virginia- The VA-NC Alliance Summer research Program is an eight-week research internship at the University of Virginia. Research tracks available include: astronomy, biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, and nanotechnology. Students work in labs with faculty and graduate students on research projects chosen by faculty.

Capabilities and Skills

Biology 

The Biology program helps students develop both an enduring and knowledgeable appreciation for the science of living systems and a deep conceptual and technical understanding of contemporary biology. The curriculum, consisting of core coverage of genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, ecology and evolution, together with a diverse offering of specialized/advanced elective courses, prepares students for a variety of careers in the biological sciences, including teaching, healthcare and research.

Biomedical Engineering 

Students in biomedical engineering speak three languages: engineering, medicine, and life sciences. They have an in-depth understanding of living systems, technology, and regulatory affairs, and students learn how to work in diverse teams.

Chemical Engineering

Graduates of the Chemical Engineering program at the University of Virginia utilize their technical competency, communication skills and breadth of knowledge to serve effectively in the chemical engineering profession; to become technical leaders in industry, government or academia; or to pursue advanced study in engineering and applied sciences and in professions such as law, business, and medicine.

Student outcomes are: 

  1. Able to use science, engineering, mathematical, and computational knowledge, skills, and tools to formulate and solve problems involving the technological applications of chemistry and allied sciences.
  2. Well-versed in the design, conduct, and interpretation of experiments to solve problems.
  3. Competent to carry out process design functions that require not only technical expertise but also interdisciplinary contributions, knowledge of contemporary industrial practice, and an awareness of economic, environmental, and ethical considerations.
  4. Able to communicate effectively to technological peers and to lay audiences.
  5. Able to function as effective team players and team leaders.
  6. Educated about the context in which engineering is practiced in the modern world and the professional responsibilities accompanying that practice.
  7. Aware of the need and able to engage in life-long learning.

How to Recruit

Employers in the biotechnology space looking to recruit students have a variety of opportunities to engage.

The signature events are our annual job and internship fairs that occur every semester! The University of Virginia Job and Fairs are an opportunity for organizations and institutional members to meet with students from the university who are interested in careers in biotechnology. The programs consist of  panels, presentations, and exhibitor showcases. There are several opportunities for organizations and institutional members to participate in this event as a sponsor or as an exhibitor. This is the information from this year's event. 

Engagement is not limited to these events, however. Organizations are encouraged to post their jobs and internships year round through our Handshake job portal. 

Handshake is UVA's online recruiting portal that allows you to:

  • Post jobs or internships
  • Register for Career Fairs
  • Manage your On-Grounds Interviewing
  • Advertise your presentations
  • and more!

Log in or register for Handshake here.

More to Explore

Our team is here to help you with everything you need to know about recruiting UVA students. 

For help: David Lapinski, Director of Employer Relations

UVA offers a wide variety of large career events to meet the needs of organizations recruiting UVA students. 

Handshake is UVA's online recruiting portal. Post jobs or internships, register for Career Fairs, manage your On-Grounds Interviewing, and more!