Through the interdisciplinary structure of the Applied Biology programme on the Schwenningen Campus, you gain deep insights into biological sciences as well as into a wide range of industrial engineering and pharmaceutical applications of biology. You will learn how industry and practical research use biological methods and findings. The course not only teaches the theory of biology, but also focuses on practice. In the first semester already you will be doing lab practicals and will thus learn the techniques which you will later need in your work. The focus here is also on the industrial application of biological theory and methods, for example in the production of pharmaceutical substances or recombinant proteins.
The Applied Biology programme on the Schwenningen Campus is divided into the foundation level courses of the first two semesters, and advanced level courses in semesters 3 to 7. The bachelor's thesis can be written at the University or in industry, or at an external research institute. In order to complete the study programme, students must write a thesis and take the final bachelor's examination.
In the lectures, seminars and practicals of the first two semesters you will be taught the fundamental principles of biology and other natural sciences, in particular mathematics, chemistry and physics. This will give you the basis for understanding technical applications in biological sciences. In foundation level courses you will also be introduced to the theoretical and practical methods of analysis which are necessary to understand, modify and optimise biological and biotechnical applications.
In your first year you will also be taking language courses, particularly English, the language of modern science. If you want to follow a career in biotechnology, good English language skills are a must. These will be customised to your courses so you will have the English you will need later in your work.
The advanced level semesters (semesters 3 to 7) will be carried out partly at the University, but also in industry or in an external research institute. You will deepen your knowledge of biology in such areas as human biology, pharmacology, immunology and toxicology. Here the focus is also on the practical application of knowledge and methods. For example, in an interdisciplinary practical you may be producing genetically engineered microorganisms which produce particular recombinant proteins which are then purified. This is the same process which is used in the industrial production of Insulin.
The following are the 3 main areas of specialisation in the advanced level courses:
- White (industrial) biotechnology deals with the transfer of biological, biotechnological and biochemical findings and processes in industrial production. Bioprocess technology provides the technical requirements for this.
- Red (pharmaceutical) biotechnology involves the use of biological science technology and methods for the development, testing, production and approval of drugs.
- Grey biotechnology deals with applied environmental protection and the relevant environmental technologies. Areas of application are, for example, the preparation of drinking water, the purification of waste water, exhaust fumes and air, the treatment of waste and the restoration of contaminated soil.
These areas of specialisation deal with many topics of global relevance - an important aspect being the contribution of applied biology and biotechnology to sustainability and climate protection. For example, biologists are searching for answers to the following questions:
- What methods will improve the effect of drugs?
- What is the role played by design substances in this? How can drugs developed from such substances be produced in the necessary quantity in an economically feasible manner?
- How can the growing world population be fed with healthy, high quality food?
- What effect does climate change have on the use of biological raw materials? How can this use be planned in an ecologically effective and sustainable way?
- How can ecologically problematic products - for example conventional packaging - be replaced by sustainable alternatives? What requirements must be fulfilled in order to produce sufficient amounts of such alternative products at a reasonable price?
- What effect does microplastic have on biological organisms?
- Can microorganisms be used in order to break down microplastics and other harmful or dangerous substances in an environmentally friendly way?
Topics which particularly interest you can be looked at in more depth in electives, for example the innovative and future-oriented subject of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology combines elements of biotechnology, molecular biology, organic chemistry and biochemistry, information technology and engineering. An example of this is so-called Tissue Engineering - the synthetic production of organic tissue used in medicine.
During your advanced level semesters you will also take courses in scientific methods, a key qualification for your future career. Practical project work and coursework provide opportunities to apply this. Our goal is to provide our graduates with a solid grounding in scientific methods and outstanding theoretical and practical interdisciplinary problem-solving skills. Such problem-solving and interdisciplinary competences are skills which employers increasingly ask for. The interdisciplinary and practical approach of the Applied Biology degree from Furtwangen University gives you the best possible qualification for the current and future job markets.
Electives are not the only way to deepen your knowledge or specialise in a particular area. This can also be done during practical study semesters, course work and the choice of the bachelor's thesis topic. During the internship semester and while doing your thesis, you will ideally be working in an industrial company or in an external institute.
The internship semester is particularly useful for increasing your practical knowledge and skills. Our long-term cooperations with companies and research institutes make it easy to find an internship suited to your personal interests. The practical experience will give you early insights into the requirements and types of work you can expect in the future, and students often return to work for the same company or institute after they graduate.
In the 7th semester you will take your final examination for the Bachelor of Applied Biology on the Schwenningen Campus. The exam will test what you have learned during your course. If you write your bachelor's thesis externally in a company or research institute, you will have the opportunity to build your network of potential employers. In addition, this proves that you can apply the theory you have learned during your degree programme in a practical way.
- Sound knowledge of biology, chemistry or biochemistry, as well as principles of engineering and mathematical subjects
- Ability to deal with biological systems in labs and in technical standards
- Ability to modify, cultivate and apply biological systems for the production of value added materials
- Ability to plan, design, carry out, evaluate and optimize biotechnological processes and experiments
- Ability to chemically analyze and evaluate biological systems and their products
- Independent scientific work skills
- Qualification for master's studies
- Intercultural competencies gained for example during study semester or internships abroad
- Knowledge-based evaluation and decision-making skills
- Teamworking skills and ability to take responsibility
- Communication and presentation skills
- Ability to perform any technical function in companies
- Ability to carry out tasks in research facilities (including PhD work)
- Career prospects in industry, the health sector, labs and research institutes, government agencies and local authority facilities
- Ability to carry out Research and Development in academic and industrial environments