If you have strong research and writing skills and an interest in the study of life, learn more about the best online master’s in biology.
In these programs, you’ll investigate the study of life. Sounds pretty broad, right? That’s because biology encompasses a wide range of fascinating fields including immunology, marine biology, biochemistry, ecology, evolutionary biology, and much more. Overall, you’ll study the structure and function of various life forms.
Earning your master’s degree in biology can lead you to dental school, medical school, doctoral study, or a career in research or education. You may also become a zoologist, biologist, geneticist, or forensic scientist. The possibilities are endless!
Of course, you may be worried about the time and sacrifice required to earn a degree. With these online master’s in Biology, there’s no need to fear. You can watch lectures and complete coursework according to your schedule, from wherever you are. That means you can continue working and taking care of other responsibilities, all while earning a high-quality degree.
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What kind of master’s in biology should you get?
It’s important to choose a master’s in biology program related to your career goals. Some programs are specifically for biology teachers, while others are ideal for pre-dental or pre-medical school students. Others are more general programs that can apply to a wide variety of careers. In our program descriptions, we’ve indicated which career paths each program is suited for.
In addition, some programs will allow you to select a specialization or area of focus aligned with your goals. In other programs, you can strategically choose electives related to your career plans.
These programs are available in traditional formats and online. Of course, online programs allow you to work from anywhere, at any time. If you’re interested in the flexibility of online programs but unsure if biology is for you, check out our list of the Best Online Colleges and Universities.
How much money do people make with a master’s in biology?
Just as a master’s in biology can lead to a wide range of careers, it can lead to a wide range of salaries. Let’s take a look at some of your options and their median salaries, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Zoologist/wildlife biologist- $63,420
- Microbiologist- $71,650
- Geneticist- $80,370
- Biochemist/biophysicist- $93,280
- Forensic scientist- $58,230
- Biology teacher- $60,320
A master’s degree in biology will open the door to a variety of exciting, well-paying, and in-demand careers. The job outlook for these careers is projected to grow as fast or faster than average over the next decade. And these aren’t the only career options available to you – just a small sample. Plus, if you choose to pursue a doctoral degree, you’ll have access to even more careers with even higher salaries.
What can you do with a master’s in biology?
People who hold a master’s degree in biology teach, conduct research, and work as scientists in a range of fields. Many also go on to pursue doctorate degrees, attend medical or dental school, or complete a physician assistant’s program.
Many careers require a doctorate or a master’s. For others, you’ll need to take an additional step and earn a doctoral degree. A doctoral degree can help you land a high-level position in academia, research, or industry.
What are the requirements for an online master’s in biology?
To be accepted to a master’s in biology program, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related field. Schools will require your transcripts and may also ask for letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and/or a personal statement or writing sample.
Most online master’s in biology degrees can be completed within two years. You’ll take courses in areas like cell biology, biostatistics, ecology, research/experiment design, genetics, immunology, and more. For these online programs, you will not be required to write a thesis. However, you may have to complete various projects, pass a comprehensive exam, write research papers, and/or meet minimum GPA requirements.
What are the best online master’s in biology?
To find the best online master’s in biology, look no further. We’ve simplified your search by putting together a list of the eight best programs. To find the best of the best, we consider factors like tuition, return on investment, school reputation, and accreditation.
We provide information exclusively from trusted sources like:
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- U.S. News and World Report
- Princeton Review
- Official college and university websites and course catalogs
Whatever you’d like to accomplish in the far-ranging field of biology, these eight degree programs will give you the tools to succeed.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
OverviewLocated in Worcester, Massachusetts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a private research university with an emphasis on the applied sciences and technical arts. Comprehensive education and development programs provide students with the skills needed for a future in both industry and academia. WPI’s courses focus on collaboration, personalized mentoring from experts in the field, and multidisciplinary research projects that solve pressing problems. Graduate programs are available online to provide flexibility and personalized support. One online option is an MS in Biotechnology. Program FeaturesWPI’s Master of Science in Biotechnology provides a broad base in the lab training and technical knowledge required for professional careers in the biotech industry. The 30 credit hour program is skill-focused and does not require a thesis. Students are prepared to work as professional scientists or engineers through courses like:
- Genetic Engineering and Synthetic Biology
- Risk Management and Decision Making
- Teaming and Organizing for Innovation
- Applied Statistics for Engineers and Scientists
- Protein Purification and Downstream Processing
All courses are offered online, but students do have to attend lab work courses at the campus in Worcester. The requirements for each lab class can change. Overall, however, the lab classes are set up to be able to comply with the schedules of working professionals who are completing their degree part-time. Lab sessions take place at the university’s cutting-edge bioengineering center and biomanufacturing education and training center.
Illinois Institute of Technology
OverviewThe Illinois Institute of Technology is a private, technology-focused research university in Chicago, Illinois. Established in 1940, the university enrolls 6,840 students pursuing degrees in engineering, science, architecture, business, human sciences, applied technology, and law. IIT appears on U.S. News and World Report’s list of Best Colleges and Best Value Schools. It’s ranked No. 1 in the state of Illinois for salary potential by PayScale. IIT offers an MS in Biology with a specialization in Applied Life Sciences.Program FeaturesStudents in IIT’s Master of Science in Biology program develop expertise in Applied Life Sciences. They acquire the skills needed to be on the front lines of exciting drug discovery and technological innovation. In IIT’s program, students have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of electives in areas such as virology, bioinformatics, genomics, and toxicology. Core courses include:
- Molecular Biology
- Molecular Biology of Cells
- Science and Law: An Introduction to Intellectual Property Law and Patents
- Statistical Models and Methods
IIT’s Master of Science in Biology requires a total of 32 credit hours, 20 of those are made up of required courses and the remainder can be completed as elective courses. In addition to training in biology and biochemistry, students practice scientific communication and learn how contract research organizations conduct business. They also learn good manufacturing practices and industry regulations.
OverviewRanked No. 24 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, Clemson University is a public research university noted for its excellent value, high quality of life, and happy students. The university was founded in 1889 and is nestled between the beautiful vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina. The science and engineering-oriented college offers 500 student organizations, 80 majors, and more than 120 graduate programs, including an online MS in Biological Sciences.Program FeaturesThe non-thesis Master of Science in Biological Sciences is designed for science educators interested in biological sciences. In addition to teachers at all levels, students include scientists from museums, field stations, and research labs. Students complete 30 semester hours on research, communication, biological inquiry, and biology. You’ll take courses like:
- Understanding Ecology and Ecosystems
- Understanding Cellular Processes
- Understanding Genetics and Evolutionary Biology
- Understanding Scientific Communication
- Understanding Microbiology
Students may take two courses per semester. The anticipated course load is nine hours per week for each course, including three hours of lecture, three hours of assigned reading, and three hours of homework and study. Semesters are January-April, May-August, and August-December.
University of Nebraska at Kearney
OverviewThe University of Nebraska at Kearney was initially founded as a teacher training school in 1903. Today, the university offers more than 40 majors for over 5,000 students. It’s consistently ranked one of the region’s top colleges by U.S. News and World Report. Students are encouraged to participate in co-op programs, complete internships, and take advantage of the many available resources and opportunities. UNK offers an online MS in Biology. Program FeaturesUNK’s online Master of Science in Biology provides a high-quality, multidimensional education on a range of biological topics. Students develop critical thinking skills and are prepared to succeed in a variety of careers in the field of biology. Classes are broadly divided into themes including physiology, genetics, ecology, evolution, and biological tools and applications. Students complete courses such as:
- Biological Statistics
- Organic Evolution
- Current Issues in Biology
- Principles of Immunology
- Microbial Diversity
A thesis defense is not required, but students must pass a comprehensive exam covering the courses within their program. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in courses required for the master’s degree. Grades below a “C” are not acceptable. The degree requires a total of 36 hours and is generally completed in two and a half to three years.
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY
OverviewBased in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Western Kentucky University is a public university founded in 1906. In total, WKU enrolls more than 20,000 students. Despite being a large school, WKU offers the advantages of a smaller university and maintains small and personalized classes. The university is highly ranked for its quality teaching and for being one of the top regional universities in the South. Biology is one of the school’s top majors, and WKU offers an online MS in Biology.Program FeaturesWKU’s Master of Science in Biology is a non-thesis option that provides advanced training in Biology while expanding opportunities in research, public service, and teaching. The program is highly customizable, allowing students to choose the courses that are most relevant to their interests and professional goals. Students may select areas of focus such as:
- Plant biology
- General biology
The program does not charge out-of-state tuition, and online courses are available every term, including summers. Biology faculty members are committed to working closely with online students. Students also have access to career services, online writing support, and many other support services through WKU Online and the Student Resource Portal. WKU also offers an online graduate certificate in Biology.
Alcorn State University
Alcorn State, MS
OverviewAlcorn State University is a public, historically black university in Claiborne County, Mississippi. The university has campuses in Lorman, Natchez, and Vicksburg, as well as many flexible online programs. Today, Alcorn State seeks a diverse student body with a range of interests, talents, and backgrounds. The school is devoted to strengthening scholarship, creativity, and leadership. Nearly 4,000 students choose from a variety of programs, including an online Master of Science in Biology. Program FeaturesAlcorn State’s Master of Science in Biology provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the field. The Biological Science department has gained national recognition and provides students with research opportunities, interdisciplinary projects and connections, and quality advising and mentoring. You can expect to take courses like:
- Advanced Cellular and Molecular Biology
- Advanced Biostatistics
- Advanced Anatomy and Physiology
- Current Literature Topics in Biology
- Modern Problems in Biology
The MS in Biology program at Alcorn State requires 33 semester hours. Students complete 12 semester hours of core biology courses, including a special project, and 21 semester hours of electives. The student’s proposed program of study must be approved by a graduate advisory committee. Up to six hours may be transferred if approved.
Texas A & M University - Commerce
OverviewEstablished in 1889, Texas A&M-Commerce is the second largest university in the prestigious Texas A&M University System. It has several locations and a strong online presence. Texas A&M-Commerce offers a total of 144 degree programs at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels. The university is dedicated to investigation, creativity, service, and providing a strong support system for students. Texas A&M-Commerce offers an online MS in Biological Sciences.Program FeaturesThrough the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, biology teachers interested in expanding their knowledge may pursue a Master of Science in Biological Sciences. Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in Biology or a related field. The program is not recommended for those interested in pursuing a Ph.D. or other advanced degrees. Courses include:
- Ecological Genetics
- Advanced Cell Biology
- Developmental Biology
Students are must complete 36 credits, including a research paper and 33 credits of approved graduate courses. Online courses are available every long semester and during each of the university’s two summer sessions. Students must consult with faculty advisors to ensure that all courses will count toward the degree.
University of Saint Joseph
West Hartford, CT
OverviewA Roman Catholic institution founded by the Sisters of Mercy, the University of St. Joseph is a private comprehensive university in West Hartford, Connecticut. The university offers outstanding educational value, small classes taught by expert faculty, and a welcoming community providing personalized attention and support. The University of St. Joseph is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the North’s best regional universities. The school offers an online MS in Biology. Program FeaturesDesigned to meet the needs of working professionals, USJ’s Master of Science in Biology is ideal for students who’d like to take the first step toward becoming a dentist or physician. Students can take courses year-round over three semesters and complete the degree in two years. Courses are offered in organismal, molecular, statistical, and health-related fields and include:
- Molecular Genetics
- Cell Biology
USJ’s online class size is set at 20 students, encouraging personalized support and thoughtful discussion. Students must pass a comprehensive exam. Graduates go on to medical school, physician’s assistant programs, or exciting careers in research and education. Graduates are also enrolled in doctoral programs at institutions like Yale University and the University of Connecticut.