The Wave of the Future

Degrees Offered

The Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences offers the:

  • BS degree Agricultural Sciences with a concentration in Biotechnology,

and in cooperation with the Department of Biology, the:

  • Ph.D. degree in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Agricultural Biotechnology.

Biotechnology applies scientific and engineering principles to living organisms to produce products and services of value to society. Modern biotechnology provides breakthrough products and technologies to:

  • combat debilitating and rare diseases,
  • reduce our environmental footprint,
  • feed the hungry,
  • use less and cleaner energy,
  • and have safer, cleaner and more efficient industrial manufacturing processes.

Students with training in biotechnology enjoy exciting careers that help feed, fuel and heal the world.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Agricultural Sciences 
Concentration in Agricultural Biotechnology

Department Chair: Dr. Samuel Nahashon, (615) 963-5431

Suggested Four-year Plan

Freshman Year
ENGL 1010 Freshman English I 
CHEM 1110/1111 General Chemistry I and Lab 
MATH 1110 College Algebra I 
UNIV 1000 Service to Learning
AGSC 1410 Introduction to Animal Science 
Humanities Elective
ENGL 1020 Freshman English II 
CHEM 1120/1121  General Chemistry II and Lab 
Social/Behavioral Science Elective
Humanities Elective
AGSC 1200 Introduction to Plant Science
Sophomore Year
COMM 2200 Public Speaking 
AGSC 2010 Introduction to Agribusiness 
HIST 2010 American History I
AGSC 2040 Computer and Statistical Application in Agriculture
BIOL 1110/1111 Introductory Biology I and lab 4
ENGL 2110-2230 Sophomore Literature I
Social/Behavioral Science Elective 3
Humanities Elective 
HIST 2020 American History II 3
BIOL 2110/2111 Cell Biology and Laboratory 4
Junior Year
AGSC 3710 
AGSC 3270 
BIOL 2120/2121 Principles of Genetics and Lab
AGSC 2600 
AGSC 3540 Laboratory Instrumentation
AGSC 3110 Principles and Methods of Biotechnology 4
CHEM 3410 General Biochemistry I and Lab 3
BIOL 3410/3411 OR 3400/3401 Principles of General Bacteriology and Lab or Introduction to Microbial Physiology and Lab 4
Senior Year
AGSC 4710 Seminar
BIOL 4110, 4111 Molecular Genetics and Lab
AGSC 4280 Food Safety and Quality Assurance
AGSC 4270 3
CHEM 2010 Organic Chemistry I 3
CHEM 4700 OR 2100 Introduction to Analytical Chemistry
AGSC 4500 Senior Project 
BIOL 4112 Bioinformatics
AGSC 3110 Principles and Methods of Biotechnology 3

For the BS degree, in addition to the General Education requirements of the university, students in the Biotechnology Concentration take the following courses:

Number      Course Title                                      
UNIV 1000  Orientation
AGSC 1200  Introduction to Plant Science
AGSC 1410  Introduction to Animal Science
AGSC 2010  Introduction to Agribusiness 
AGSC 2200  Fundamentals of Soil Science 
AGSC 2410  Introduction to Poultry Science 
AGSC 3540  Laboratory instrumentation
AGSC 4500  Senior Project  
AGSC 4710-4720  Seminar
AGSC xxxx  Biotechnology and Society 
AGSC xxxx  Principals and Methods of Biotechnology I
AGSC xxxx  Principals and Methods of Biotechnology II
AGSC xxxx  Biotechnology in Agricultural Production 
AGSC xxxx  Agricultural Bio-security  
AGSC xxxx  Ethics and Bio-forensics in Ag. Biotechnology 
BIOL 4112  Bioinformatics  
BIOL 1110-1  General Biology I & Lab 
CHEM 2010  Organic Chemistry I & Lab
BIOL 2110  Cell Biology + Lab
BIOL 2120, 2121  Genetics + Lab 
CHEM 3410  General Biochemistry I & Lab
BIOL 3410  Principles General Bacteriolog
BIOL 4110, 4111  Molecular Genetics & Lab 

And two credits of electives from the following list:

Number       Course Title                                        
AGSC 3210  Principles of Crop Science 
AGSC 3260  Plant Physiology
AGSC 3300  Plant Pathology 
AGSC 3320  Propagation of Horticultural Plants 
AGSC 3400  Animal and Plant Genetics 
AGSC 3410  Anatomy and Physiology of Domestic Animals
AGSC 3430  Animal Health and Disease Prevention
AGSC 3530  Food Microbiology
AGSC 4070  Agricultural Special Problems
AGSC 4310  Plant Breeding
AGSC 4410  Dairy Production and Management
AGSC 4420  Poultry Disease Prevention and Sanitation
AGSC 4430   Animal Nutrition
AGSC 4440  Physiology of Reproduction

For additional information: 
Contact Dr. S. Nahashon.           

PhD Concentration 
The Ph.D. concentration in Biotechnology is an interdepartmental degree program that is  jointly offered by the Department of Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Biological Sciences.

Admission Requirements: Ph.D. Program 

Administered by the Department of Biological Sciences. Applicants to the Ph.D. program must submit a completed application form, a personal statement describing interest in the program and professional goals, and three letters of recommendations from persons familiar with the applicant's academic work, especially in biology. The departmental admissions committee will base admission upon these materials and interviews with selected applicants.

Admission requires the applicant have a bachelor's degree from a fully accredited four-year college or university, a minimum score of 1370 calculated from the GPA multiplied by 200 and added to the GRE combined verbal and quantitative scores and a minimum score of 600 on the GRE subject test in biology. Students may also be admitted with subject test scores below 600, but such students must take the departmental diagnostic examination. The admissions committee will evaluate the student's performance on the examination and design a curriculum to eliminate any identified weaknesses. After passing the recommended courses with a grade of "B" or better in each, the student will begin the Ph.D. curriculum.

Programs of Study: Ph.D. Program 

The degree candidate must file a program of study after competing nine (9) semester hours of graduate work, but before completing fifteen (15) hours of graduate work. The program lists the courses which will be used to satisfy degree requirements, as well as detailing how other requirements will be met. The student may later change the program of study with the written approval of the Department and the Graduate School.

Admission to  Candidacy: Ph.D. Program 

The student must apply for admission to candidacy after completing the 24 hour core of required courses (See Degree Requirements below), with an average of "B" (3.00) or better, passing the comprehensive examination, and gaining approval of the dissertation proposal. Students may have a "C" grade in no more than two courses (6 credit hours), neither of which can be a core course. No "D" or "F" grades are acceptable. A student who receives a grade of "C" in excess of six credits must repeat the course and achieve at least a "B".

Degree Requirements: Ph.D. Program 

After gaining admission to candidacy, the student must complete an approved curriculum (24 hours minimum of electives set by the student's research advisory committee), enroll in Graduate Seminar (BIOL 7010, 7020), complete a dissertation (24 hours), and successfully defend the dissertation prior to gaining the Ph.D. degree (please refer to Biological Sciences Graduate Student Handbook for specific dissertation requirements). A student entering with a Master's degree may have applicable hours transferred toward the Ph.D. program, as determined by the Advisory Committee. The total number of hours required is 76.

For additional information: 
Contact Dr. S. Nahashon

Graduate Elective Courses 

AGSC 5160 Animal Genetics and Breeding
AGSC 5190 Plant Breeding
AGSC 7010 Advancements in Agricultural Biotechnology
AGSC 7020 Economic, Regulatory and Ethical Issues in Biotechnology
AGSC 7030 Gene Expression and Regulation and Regulation in Higher Plants
AGSC 7040 Plant Tissue Culture Methods and Applications
AGSC 7050 Biotechnology in Animal Reproduction
AGSC 7060 Advanced Soil Technology
AGSC 7070 Molecular Genetic Ecology


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Undergraduate Admissions 
P. O. Box 9609
Nashville, TN 37209

888-463-6878 toll-free
615-963-5101 voice
615-963-2930 fax


Graduate Admissions 
P.O. Box 145
Nashville, TN 37209

615-963-7371 voice
615-963-7219 fax