2023 Best Online Master's Degrees in Biology
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The focus of online biology master's degree programs can vary dramatically. For example, some are devoted to scientific research designed to protect public health, while others are more concerned with technology and bioinformatics. Graduates may pursue occupations as diverse as biosecurity analysts, epidemiologists, research biologists, and secondary educators.
The graduation requirements for biology master's degrees also vary. Courses are often drawn from several other disciplines beyond biology, such as technology, statistics, and public health. Most programs require some type of capstone or research project, and some may include a written thesis. Some graduates may want to continue their education with a doctoral degree.
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Online Biology Master's Degrees You May Be Interested In
Grand Canyon University
Annual Tuition: $11,074
1 Programs (view all)
Annual Tuition: $8,475
1 Programs (view all)
Western Governors University
Annual Tuition: $7,790
1 Programs (view all)
2023 Best Online Master's Degrees in Biology
|Rank||School||Salary Score||Median Starting Salary|
|# 1||Arizona State University||$62,983|
|# 2||George Mason University||89||$62,025|
|# 3||The George Washington University||85||$59,332|
|# 4||Texas A&M University - Commerce||81||$56,071|
|# 5||Johns Hopkins University||81||$56,017|
|# 6||University of Nebraska at Kearney||78||$54,246|
|# 7||New York University||77||$53,753|
|# 8||Clemson University||73||$51,470|
|# 9||Mississippi State University||68||$49,179|
|# 10||University of Florida||55||$43,138|
#1 Arizona State University
Arizona State University (ASU) is a public institution with extensive online offerings, including an online Master of Science in Biological Data Science. Graduation requires the completion of 32 credit hours, and the program's 7.5-week classes allow students to earn their degrees in 18-24 months. The school recommends this program for students with a background in biology or computational science.
At ASU, students access their online courses through the Canvas learning management system (LMS). The curriculum explores how big data is used in biological science through courses on integrative biology, applied math, and database systems, and students gain real-world experience through two capstone projects. Graduates are prepared for careers as bioinformatics scientists, biostatisticians, and more.
#2 George Mason University
George Mason University (GMU) is a public institution that offers two online master's degrees in biology — a 36-credit hour Master of Science in Biodefense and a 31-credit hour Master of Science in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Full-time students often complete these programs in two to three years.
Core courses in the biodefense program cover research methods, infectious diseases, and global health security. Students are required to complete five additional elective courses as well as a capstone course. The curriculum for the bioinformatics degree includes courses on bioinformatics programming and systems biology. Students can choose to write a thesis or complete a research project. Graduates have gone to work for the U.S. military, government agencies, and private sector corporations.
#3 The George Washington University
The George Washington University (GW) — a private, nonprofit institution — offers a 36-credit online Master of Science in Health Sciences in Clinical Microbiology program, which some full-time students complete in 24 months. To be accepted into the program, applicants must have a bachelor's degree in biology, chemistry, microbiology, or a similar science.
The curriculum for this program helps students develop the skills they need to identify and investigate human infectious diseases. Some of the courses include Biostatistics for Clinical and Translational Research, Advanced Clinical Bacteriology, and Medical Biotechnology. The program culminates in a practicum. This program is also designed to prepare students to sit for the ASCP Technologist in Microbiology exam and obtain appropriate state licensure to practice.
#4 Texas A&M University - Commerce
Through the Texas A&M University - Commerce campus, students can earn an online Master of Science in Biological Sciences. Learners can opt for either a 30-credit hour thesis track for those who plan to work in research or academia or a 36-credit hour non-thesis track primarily designed for secondary biology teachers. Most part-time students earn their degrees in two to three years.
Biological sciences courses are delivered through the Brightspace LMS, and they cover topics such as quantitative biology, ecology, and genetics. The mission of the program is to provide students with the knowledge, tools, principles, and methods used to identify, treat, and prevent public health conditions.
#5 Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University is a private, nonprofit university. Students seeking a master's in biology have two online options: a 48.5-credit Master of Arts in Public Health Biology program or a 40-credit Master of Science in Biotechnology program, which also features six optional concentrations in biodefense, biotechnology enterprise, regenerative and stem cell technologies, bioinformatics, molecular targets and drug discovery technologies, and regulatory affairs. Most students complete their degrees in one to three years.
At Johns Hopkins, students are trained to help develop advancements in life sciences and related technologies. Graduates with these degrees are equipped to become biochemists, epidemiologists, research biologists, and more.
#6 University of Nebraska at Kearney
The University of Nebraska at Kearney, which is a public institution, offers an online Master of Science in Biology. The program is geared for people who want to teach middle school and high school biology, but graduates have also gone into genetic research, food science, conservation, and other health-related occupations. The 36-credit hour curriculum includes courses on cellular and molecular biology, ecology, physiology, genetics, and more. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with an emphasis in biology to be accepted into the program.
Online students use the Canvas learning system to view lectures, participate in labs, and engage in class discussions. The university provides library and tech support.
#7 New York University
New York University is a private, non-profit institution. Here, students may enroll in an online Master of Science in Bioinformatics, which requires the completion of 30 credit hours and a capstone course. The curriculum is a blend of courses on molecular biology, statistics, programming languages, machine learning, and sequence and pathway analysis. Enrollees can customize their learning paths by opting for one of two concentrations in laboratory science or translational science. Graduates typically pursue careers as researchers in medical science, public health, agriculture, or energy.
New York University's online students use the Brightspace system to access their courses. This highly competitive college accepts only 13% of applicants.
#8 Clemson University
At Clemson University, which is a public university, students can choose between two online master's programs in biology. The Master of Science in Biological Sciences is designed to prepare graduates to teach middle school and high school biology classes. The 30-credit hour curriculum covers biological inquiry, cellular processes, plant biology, the human body, scientific research, and more. The online Master of Wildlife and Fisheries Resources, on the other hand, is designed for individuals who want to work in the fields of conservation and natural resources. This 33-credit hour program includes courses on wildlife conservation, global change ecology, aquatic habitat management, and forest protection.
Clemson delivers its online courses and labs through the Canvas learning platform. A fairly competitive university, Clemson accepts only 49% of applicants.
#9 Mississippi State University
Mississippi State University (MSU), which is a public institution, offers a 33-credit hour Master of Science in General Biology. This program trains graduates to work as high school science teachers. The curriculum includes courses on ecology, microbiology, evolutionary biology, and biotechnology. To graduate, enrolled students must complete a capstone course and pass a comprehensive written exam.
MSU students use the Canvas learning system to access course materials, submit assignments, and participate in class discussions and group learning activities. The school has a 76% acceptance rate and a 60% graduation rate.
#10 University of Florida
At the state-run University of Florida, students have several options for earning a master's degree in biology online. The 30-credit hour Master of Science in Microbiology and Cell Science with a concentration in medical microbiology and biochemistry may be a good choice for aspiring biochemists, medical scientists, and doctors. The 32-credit hour Master of Science in Anatomical Sciences Education is designed for those who want to teach biology and anatomy or who plan to earn a doctorate in the medical sciences. Finally, the 36-credit hour Master of Science in Biostatistics is aimed at students interested in bioinformatics careers.
Faculty foster a collaborative learning environment in their online courses, delivered through the Canvas learning system.
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