Accelerated Studies and Industrial Application

BTI’s MicE program offers a 2-year Masters in Microbial Engineering (MicE) for students with a biology or engineering background. The program, which celebrated its 35th Anniversary in 2019, accepts four or five students every year. Before graduating, students complete a research project under the direction of a MicE faculty member. Here are some commonly asked questions about the program, past, present, and future.

Could you give a basic overivew of the MicE program and purpose?
The MicE program is a research-based Masters program that combines biology and engineering. Most students have biology backgrounds and add engineering knowledge with this program, but some have an engineering background and add biology knowledge. All entering students have some research experience.
How do I find a research advisor? 
Students do three 5-week rotations during their first semester. These rotations involve working on a research question for 10-15 hours per week. Because the faculty includes different departments, students are exposed to a range of ideas and possibilities. Students may do a rotation in Mechanical Engineering and then in Soil Science, which are two radically different fields where your experience is very different. At the end of the three rotations, students choose a lab where they will do their thesis research.
Do students get a stipend? 
Yes, all students in the research track get a stipend that pays their tuition and a living expenses. The current living expenses stipend is $21,500 per year.
Where are recent graduates now?
After completing the program about half of the students accept industrial positions in biotechnology firms like Cargill, Bio-techne, Beckmann or one of the smaller companies in the Twin Cities. The other half join a Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota or elsewhere. There is no Microbial Engineering Ph.D. program, so they join other departments, often Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics.