A Biotechnology Major is an undergraduate major in biotechnology that involves the study of the use of living things to produce products for human use. Biotech has been around for thousands of years with the use of yeast for cheeses, bread, and brewing booze. Modern biotechnology uses genetic engineering to manipulate the genes within organisms to produce many different pharmaceuticals such as insulin to creating fish the glow in the dark. The biotechnology undergrad major has four different areas of specialization: fermentation/microbiology, animal biotech, plant biotech, and bioinformatics.
The major is in the Department of Plant Sciences of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Those with their emphasis in fermentation/microbiology will find that they are basically getting an advance B.S. in Microbiology. The core requirements are identical, but you benefit greatly (or suffer, some might say) by taking several extra courses in other science disciplines. A secondary benefit is not having the language requirement from the other college. The animal emphasis involves a lot of Molecular and Cellular Biology courses, with some NPB thrown in, and then a lot of Animal Science type courses. The plant emphasis surprisingly has a lot of classes about plant biology. The informatics path is relatively new, as it came about when the major restructured and redesigned requirements in 2004. It's a mix of bio courses ranging from molecular to evolutionary, and several computer and math courses. Computational biology and bioinformatics is a rapidly growing field, and there have been lots of recent technological advances. This is a great emphasis for the future, and a rare chance as an undergraduate, to get into this field.
See also the general Biotechnology entry for local biotech companies or UCD biotech programs