Certificate Program


At the nexus of biology and tech

Enroll in Certificate View Individual Courses

Certificate Description

Work on the front lines of biopharma

Gain an understanding of scientific disciplines, a foundation in principles guiding drug discovery and development, an appreciation of the latest bioscience research and technology, and a broader awareness of today’s biopharmaceutical industry. We offer instruction for professionals from all disciplines at all levels of experience. Focus on the theoretical fundamentals in the Discovery track or practical applications in our Development track.

Biotechnology certificate program objectives

  • Understand molecular diagnostics and their applications on healthcare
  • Break down key molecular biology techniques used to discover novel therapeutics
  • Explain the use of mass spectrometry in drug discovery
  • Recognize abnormalities in gene expression pathways and how they relate to human disease
  • Differentiate the roles and responsibilities of quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC)

Required Credits: Total Required: 19 units. Take 3 core courses (10 units) and 9 units of electives—including at least 1 unit from each track. End with certificate of completion review.
Duration: A full-time student can complete the certificate in 9–12 months.


Course Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
1. Core A Required Course
Principles of Drug Discovery and Development 4.0
2. Core B Required Courses Choose 2 of 4
Biochemistry: An Introduction 3.0
Cellular Biology 3.0
Experimental Methods in Molecular Biology 3.0
Immunology, Principles 3.0
3. Electives, Discovery Track: Choose at least one course from this track for certificate completion
Biology of Cancer 2.0
Gene Expression and Pathways 2.0
Genomics and Next Generation DNA Sequencing: Methods and Applications 3.0
Human Physiology in Health and Disease 3.0
Stem Cell Biology 1.5
Toxicology Basics for Biotechnology 1.5
Viruses, Vaccines and Antiviral Therapy 1.5
4. Electives, Development Track: Choose at least one course from this track for certificate completion
Good Manufacturing Practices 3.0
Molecular Diagnostics 1.5
Regulation of Drugs and Biologics 3.0
5. Additional Courses of Interest
Clinical Trials Essentials: An Intensive One-Week Course 3.5
Data Privacy and Security for Healthcare and Biosciences 1.5
6. Fee for Certificate Review
Biotechnology Certificate Completion Fee None

Certificate Inquiry Form

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Speak to a student services representative.

Call (408) 861-3860


Requisite Knowledge

Please review the course descriptions to ensure that you have taken necessary prerequisites or meet the requirements through job experience or previous education.

Molecular biology. Familiarity with the principles of modern molecular biology is required to begin the Biotechnology certificate. You can satisfy this requirement with an introductory course in molecular biology (taken within the last five years) or by demonstrating equivalent work experience.

Advisory Board

EDWARD ROZHON, Ph.D., chair of the Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, and Clinical Trials Design and Management programs.

Certificate Program Chair

EDWARD ROZHON, Ph.D., chair of the Biotechnology and Clinical Trials Design and Management programs, has had a long career in the biopharmaceutical industry as a contributor to the development of drugs to treat viral and autoimmune diseases, as well as several types of cancer. He has worked in both nonclinical and clinical areas of drug development, in the global pharmaceutical and biotech industry, in a contract research organization to support clinical research as well as in academia. He retired from Genentech in 2014 as a senior manager of clinical trials for autoimmune, infectious, and ophthalmologic diseases. On completing his doctorate at Indiana University, he pursued post-doctoral training in neurovirology at the University of Alabama School of Medicine and at Northwestern University School of Medicine and was subsequently appointed to a faculty position in microbiology and immunology. He has taught courses in drug development and virology at UCSC Extension since 2001.

Certificate Advisory Board

Clinical Research Operations Manager
Stanford Children’s Health 

Head, Early Stage Clinical Development
Acerta Pharma

Huston Associates, LLC
Senior Director, R&D Operations, Xalud Therapeutics 

Senior Director, Regulatory Affairs, Ardelyx Inc.
Lecturer, Medical Product Development Management (Master's Program), San Jose State University
Instructor, UCSC Extension Silicon Valley (Regulatory Affairs)

Founder/CEO of Health Wallet
Instructor, UCSC Extension Silicon Valley (Clinical Trials)

Instructor and Chair Biotechnology and Clinical Trials Design and Management programs
UCSC Extension Silicon Valley

Director of Pharmacy, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. 
Instructor, UCSC Extension Silicon Valley (Clinical Trials and Regulatory Affairs)

Declaring Candidacy

You can enroll in a certificate program any time during your studies.

Once you create your student account, you can enroll in a certificate program. Although you can enroll in a program at any time, the benefit of enrolling early is that it locks in your certificate requirements. This means that even if program requirements change, the requirements to complete your certificate will remain the same for you.

  • You must enroll in the certificate program before enrolling in the Certificate Completion Review.

You have a total of five years to complete all necessary courses in a certificate program.

All the necessary units in a certificate must be completed within a five-year window. The clock begins on the first day of your first course in the certificate program. For example, if you started a course on Sept. 5, 2017, you would have to complete all of the required units in this certificate by Sept. 4, 2022.

  • Enrolling in a certificate program does not trigger the beginning of the five-year window. It begins the first day of the first course that applies to a certificate program.
  • The Certificate Completion Review process does not have to occur within the five-year timeframe.

Grade Requirements

Please note that only letter grades of C- or higher may be applied to a certificate, and in some programs, students may have more stringent requirements. Students in most employer- and government-sponsored payment programs, such as workforce development, as well as international students on F-1 visas, need to maintain a B average to meet their requirements. Personal Financial Planning students have additional grade requirements for individual courses to attain a certificate.

See Grading and Credits Policy for further information.