Question & Answers: Genetic Engineering


My son has given his CBSE class X Board Examination in March.He would like to go for Genetic Engineering.Basically he’s looking for a course in engineering related to Biology.Can you please provide some options in Biology.


Bioengineering, in its broadest terms, is the fusion of biology and engineering – though such a definition is inadequate to properly describe one of the most exciting fields in modern science. It looks to apply engineering principles to biology. The melding of two disciplines allows pursuing bioengineering to open up many career paths. Bioengineering is used everywhere from healthcare to energy to environment research. Should you have an interest in genetic engineering, bioengineering is definitely the path for you.

It is important to note that many universities do not distinguish between biomedical engineering and bioengineering, though the difference is clear – biomedical leans more towards medicine. In this program, you will typically be studying a variety of subjects including Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Biology, and of course Engineering. Hving to study these courses means that you have gained a solid foundation no matter which field you end up in, and allows you to get a strong headstart for specialitizations such as Genetic Engineering.

On completion of your bioengineering course there are plenty of career paths available to you. Many students go on to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in the field. In the US, students may also look at studying Medicine after this as this course offers a good foundation. Of course, if your interest is Genetic Engineering, then you can specialise in it in a postgraduate course. As this is a relatively new course, there is a lot of scope for exploration, innovation and research. Many industries are hiring bioengineers as they look to the future. For example, many energy companies are looking at alternative fuels and are hiring bioengineers. Other career options include the healthcare industry, government agencies, think tanks and research departments of universities.

Some of the pre-requisite qualities are engineering qualities such as analytical and problem-solving skills and a creative and curious mind. Teamwork is also extremely important, as well attention to detail.

Some of the prominent universities for bioengineering are University of Glasgow, University of Exeter and University of Portsmouth in the UK. In Australia, combined degrees can be pursued University of Queensland and La Trobe University where you can combine your undergraduate degree with a Master’s or another engineering discipline. Some of the best universities for biomedical degree in the US are Johns Hopkins University, UC San Diego and Georgia Institute of Technology, MIT, Stanford and UC Berkeley.

Genetic Engineering is an offshoot of bioengineering and is an exciting new science, albeit controversial. A bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering will provide a good foundation to later specialize in genetic engineering. However, it is possible to pursue this course at the undergraduate level. If you are looking at studying in India, you will need to complete 10+2 in science in addition to entrance tests such as the JEE or any such qualifying test. The career prospects are good with lucrative opportunities in research and development, pharmaceutical industries, education and medical sectors both in India and abroad. Some of college options you can consider are SRM Institute of Science and Technology Chennai, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore and Indian Institute of Technology Mumbai. In the US, UCLA and Purdue University are excellent choices, however you will need to secure exceptional grades to apply.

Genetic engineering includes many areas of specialization such as Agriculture, Medicine, Biotechnology, Energy, Environment etc and it is advisable to determine your area of interest first. This will make it easier to choose your university program as it is vital that the course and facilities match your areas of interest. However, since genetic engineering ususally occurs in the graduate level, focus more on entrance to a strong bioengineering program.

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