Merritt Microscopy, Genomics & Histotechnology Program Pages

For information on our programs, email Feather Ives at

The Merritt College Biosciences department’s mission is to provide our students with access to excellent careers in high demand fields, with an emphasis on increasing diversity in the sciences. Biosciences is a growing $177 billion dollar industry in California and the majority of the jobs are in the San Francisco Bay Area. We launch your career in biosciences through education and training in microscopy, histotechnology, and genomics.



Microscopy is the art and science of taking accurate, informative and often beautiful images using a microscope. Microscopes enable us to see into a world otherwise hidden from the naked eye.

The microscopy program prepares students for positions, including staff an imaging core, research lab technician, imaging specialist in a research lab or biotech company, imaging equipment sales consultant, and imaging product manager.


Histotech, also known as microscopic anatomy or microanatomy, is the branch of biology which studies the microscopic anatomy of biological tissues. Histotech is the microscopic counterpart to gross anatomy, which looks at larger structures visible without a microscope.

The histotech program prepares students for positions in hospital and clinical diagnostic labs, biotech histotechnology labs, academic research labs, agricultural and plant pathology labs, and veterinarian labs. Upon completion students are prepared to take the state board exam.


Genomics is the study of all of an organism’s genes (the genome), including interactions of those genes with each other and with the organism’s environment. DNA is contained in all living cells and provides the basic information needed to sustain life, growth and reproduction. In the lab we can process DNA by extracting DNA from cells, and then sequence, or “read”, the order of each part of the DNA molecule, as well as locate genes of interest to learn the mechanics and operations which are the elemental basis for life. Each individual carries a unique pattern of DNA inherited from parents. Once we decode the sequence of this molecular pattern and identify genes within the pattern we can begin to understand and compare genetic code between two individuals, for a large population, or between species.

Students learn practical skills such as safe laboratory practices, professional research practices. Students extract and purify DNA, prepare DNA for sequencing and analyze results using GenBank and available software tools designed for genetic analysis.
Our laboratory has industry standard laboratory equipment needed to acquire the skills needed to begin working with DNA and RNA samples. We teach Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) methods and send our prepared samples to local vendors for sequencing.





Typically, students find employment in the field within a year to 18 months.

We offer courses nights and weekends and online.

Our courses are accredited, and many are transferable to CSU.


Merritt Biosciences students and graduates have gone on to intern or work at:



Bioscience Certificates: