University of Catania
Follow us

Agricultural Biotechnology

Academic Year: 
Degree Level: 
Master's Degree
Teaching Facility: 
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment
Access Requirements: 
Locally scheduled
Italian Classification: 
LM-7 Biotecnologie agrarie
Teaching Languages: 

Course Overview

The course in Agricultural Biotechnology lasts two years and foresees the students acquisition of 120 University Credits (ECTS), of which 84 by passing the 11 the given courses, 12 by passing of independently chosen ones among all those given at University of Catania, as long as coherent with the degree course and not overlapping with contents already present; 1 ECTS will be acquired with other training activities and the remaining 23 with the final thesis defense. Teaching activities are organized on a six-month basis; they are given with frontal lessons and exercises as well as seminars and technical visits.

The learning outcomes are verified by means of intermediate evaluations, aimed at monitoring the students preparation progress and the effectiveness of the teaching methodologies, and profit examinations, aimed at evaluating the achievement of the overall content of the courses.

During the first semester of the first year the course aims at providing solid basic preparations on biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology; in the second semester of the first year and first semester of the second year topics are extended to the biotechnology applications in the various sectors of agricultural and food chain. The second semester of the second year is dedicated to the experimental degree thesis preparation. Students can enroll into the 2nd year only after having acquired a minimum of 24 ECTS. The final exam consists in the dissertation of the thesis, written in Italian or English and elaborated in an original way, prepared by the candidate and concerning a topic agreed with the promoter belonging to the course, the Department, the University, or another University.

Educational Goals

The graduate in Agricultural Biotechnology is professionally qualified for:

  • carrying out biotechnological interventions for the optimization of productive and reproductive efficiency of agriculturally interesting organisms;
  • developing and applying analytical methods for the characterization of agricultural organisms and products and for their quality and health control;
  • applying innovative methods of genetic improvement of agricultural plants, animals and microorganisms of both food and non-food interest;
  • using molecular methods for varietal recognition and characterization of agricultural biodiversity as well as for germplasm conservation and management;
  • planning and implementing strategies aimed at integrated defense of plants, development of protocols for exploitation of phytopathogenic and beneficial microorganisms, development of molecular diagnostic kits;
  • identifying biotechnological interventions to reduce pollution;
  • carrying out basic and applied research activities and developing scientific and technological innovation;
  • operating with appropriate knowledge on ethical and bioethical issues regulations and economic aspects, as well as national and EU regulations concerning protection of inventions in the biotechnological sector.

The high specialization of the course program is ensured by the availability and qualification of the professors involved as well as by the equipments available to the students (laboratories, experimental and demonstration fields, libraries). Teaching will be based on the qualified research activities conducted by the teaching staff in such a way to ensure students the opportunity to take advantage of the advanced teaching from the scientific point of view and linked to the needs of the territory.

In addition, the course in Agricultural Biotechnology will be able to continue its learning process in higher levels of education such as II level Master's or PhD courses.

Job Opportunities

  • Biologists and similar professions
  • Biochemicals
  • Biotechnologists
  • Microbiologists
  • Agronomists
  • Researchers and technicians graduated in life sciences
  • Researchers and technicians graduated in agricultural, zootechnical and animal production sciences