MiraCosta College welcomes a cohort of junior year students this fall for the college’s first four-year bachelor’s program in biomanufacturing. The program will prepare students for careers in the biotechnology industry. The inaugural program emphasizes biological production where science is partnered with quality and compliance. Existing biotechnology degree programs in California focus on product understanding during the research and early development stages. MiraCosta College’s biomanufacturing degree program will emphasize the process understanding required of later stages of biotech development and production.
"We are delighted to see the launch of MiraCosta's new biomanufacturing program," said Don R. Fitzgerald, vice president and general manager, Oceanside Product Operations, Genentech. "We applaud their commitment to STEM education and the opportunity that the College is providing for local students to explore the exciting field of biotechnology."
Created to serve a need in the North County San Diego region, the biomanufacturing degree was designed with the industry in mind.
"The new four-year degree program at MiraCosta College is an outstanding, timely, and welcome addition to the life science community," said Joe Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom, the Life Science Association of California. "Biomanufacturing is a critical need in our industry, so congratulations to the MiraCosta College leadership team for their foresight in introducing a tremendously affordable program for students. The life science industry employs nearly 50,000 people and generates $34 billion in annual economic activity in San Diego County alone. Having a home-grown workforce is essential to the future growth of this high-wage sector, so we look forward to providing our support to the faculty and students in the program."
Courses will cost $46 a unit for lower division classes and an additional $84 a unit for upper division classes. The four-year program is expected to cost a total of about $10,000, not including books, materials and fees for health services, parking and the student center.
The 23 students in the inaugural class bring with them a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences. Roberto Ruiz earned a 12-unit certificate at MiraCosta while working part-time washing glassware for a biotech company. Through his dedication and hard work, he is now performing technical lab work while finishing his bachelor’s degree in science with five years of practical experience under his belt.
Samantha Rhodes is a single mother who started the MiraCosta biotechnology program eight years ago. She finished much of the certificate-level coursework before switching to a related health career. Her experience has led her back to working in a scientific laboratory setting. She now hopes to make an impact by helping develop next generation biopharmaceuticals. Fellow student and veteran Andy Relopez is a self-driven professional and a true asset to the classroom environment. He is using his GI Bill to fund his final two years to pursue a bachelor's in science.
In 2015, MiraCosta College was selected as one of only 15 community colleges in California authorized by Senate Bill 850 to pilot a bachelor’s degree program. The California legislature is currently considering Senate Bill 769 that would extend the pilot bachelor’s degree program to 2028. Introduced by State Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, SB769 has been approved by the Senate Education Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee, and was passed by the Senate. It has been approved by the Assembly Committee on Higher Education and has been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for a vote. The college has been approved to offer this program through its accreditor, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).
For more information on the biomanufacturing bachelor’s degree at MiraCosta College visit miracosta.edu.