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2023 Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Biology

By the OnlineU team | Updated 12/16/2022
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An online master's in biology allows students to study a variety of subjects related to the functions of living organisms and the natural sciences — such as anatomy, evolution, and ecology — as well as engage in the research methods and laboratory skills needed to start a fulfilling career. Given that biology is a broad subject, most programs include concentrations to narrow the scope of study. These options may include molecular biology, zoology, or environmental biology. Coursework covers cell and tissue culture, genome science, biotechnology, and biostatistics, among other subjects. Though we provide a list of exclusively online degrees, some programs may require in-person field work as part of their curriculum.

A master's in environmental science is a similar degree that will produce related career opportunities because it also integrates elements of biology. You can also check out our overall list of the most affordable online degrees for inspiration, or view our methodology for details about rankings and learn more about us

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Locations Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Miami University - Oxford Oxford (OH) $6,435
# 2 #2 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins (CO) $7,050
# 3 #3 Clemson University Clemson (SC) $7,485
# 4 #4 Alcorn State University Alcorn State (MS) $7,493
# 5 #5 Mississippi State University Mississippi State (MS) $8,085
# 6 #6 University of Maine Orono (ME) $8,850
# 7 #7 University of Northern Colorado Greeley (CO) $9,135
# 8 #8 University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney (NE) $9,702
# 9 #9 University of Florida Gainesville (FL) $10,353
# 10 #10 Arizona State University Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others) $10,497
#1
#1
Annual Tuition: $6,435
Annual Tuition: $6,435
Annual Tuition: $6,435

Miami University - Oxford (UM) is a public university offering a Master of Arts in Biology - Advance Inquiry Program requiring 35 credit hours. If studying full time, students can complete this program in two-and-a-half years. The university allows up to five years for part-time students.

At UM, students use the Canvas learning management system (LMS) to access their core online courses, which are taught completely online. There are also Web+ courses, which use a combination of online teaching and in-person field study and internships. These courses can be completed from a variety of locations around the country. As a whole, the curriculum for this program uses experiential learning to develop leadership and communication skills while also exploring a wide range of biological subjects to challenge a student's comprehension and writing skills. Required courses include Foundations of Inquiry, Biology in the Age of Technology, and Issues in Evolution. Graduates may find career opportunities as research scientists, molecular biologists, or environmental scientists.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 82%
  • Average SATs: 1190 -1390
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 103
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 70
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#2
#2
Annual Tuition: $7,050
Annual Tuition: $7,050
Annual Tuition: $7,050

Colorado State University - Fort Collins (CSU) is a public institution offering a Master of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, which requires 30 credits. This program is usually completed in just over two years while studying full time.

Canvas is CSU's primary LMS for online degrees. Students use this software to complete their coursework fully online and asynchronously. The core curriculum of this program revolves around the ecological management of fish and wildlife and how humans are impacting ecosystems. Required coursework includes Design of Fish and Wildlife Studies, Conservation Biology, and Management of Wildlife Habitat. Career opportunities may be available at the USDA National Wildlife Research Center, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 79%
  • Average SATs: 1070 -1290
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,253
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 2,492
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#3
#3

Clemson University

Clemson (SC)
Annual Tuition: $7,485
Annual Tuition: $7,485
Annual Tuition: $7,485

Clemson University is a public institution with an online Master of Science in Biological Sciences that requires 30 credit hours. Students can complete this degree in as little as six semesters or just over two years while studying full time.

Students at Clemson use the Canvas LMS to host their online degree programs. This allows the school to deliver coursework completely online, with lectures available 24/7. The curriculum focuses on improving a student's scientific knowledge through biological inquiry and research. Core classes include Understanding Cellular Processes, Understanding Plant Biology, and Understanding Microbiology. Alumni are prepared to join various biological research centers as scientists.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
  • Average SATs: 1230 -1400
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 91
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,531
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
#4
#4

Alcorn State University

Alcorn State (MS)
Annual Tuition: $7,493
Annual Tuition: $7,493
Annual Tuition: $7,493

Alcorn State University is a public university offering a Master of Science in Biology. This online degree requires 33 credit hours and is typically completed in under three years for full-time students.

Alcorn students use Canvas as their primary LMS, allowing for fully online course delivery. The curriculum is designed to enhance students' skills in research and analysis and then effectively communicate their findings in a professional manner. There is a thesis and non-thesis option — the latter requires a special project in lieu of a thesis. Core courses for the non-thesis option include Advanced Cellular and Molecular Biology, Advanced Biostatistics, and Molecular Genetics. Graduates are often prepared to apply for research scientist roles.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 88%
  • Average SATs: 800 -970
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 237
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 313
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
#5
#5

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State (MS)
Annual Tuition: $8,085
Annual Tuition: $8,085
Annual Tuition: $8,085

Mississippi State University (MSU) is a public institution that offers a Master of Science in General Biology requiring 33 credit hours. Most students complete this program in around two years while studying with a full-time schedule.

Like many public universities, MSU uses Canvas to deliver coursework for their 100% online degrees. The curriculum blends ecology, microbiology, evolutionary biology, and biotechnology to enhance a student's career potential as an educator. There are a number of required classes, including Advanced Cell Biology, Genetics and Molecular Biology, and Principles of Evolutionary Biology. Although the classes are delivered online, students are still required to complete an in-person capstone project as a 10-day retreat on the MSU campus. This degree program helps students earn a biology endorsement to advance their teaching careers.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 95%
  • Average SATs: 1070 -1280
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 872
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 964
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
#6
#6

University of Maine

Orono (ME)
Annual Tuition: $8,850
Annual Tuition: $8,850
Annual Tuition: $8,850

The University of Maine (UMS) is a public institution offering a Professional Science Master's in Bioinformatics. This degree requires 30 credits, which most full-time students complete in around two years.

Students at UMS use Brightspace to complete their online coursework. Students can finish this program 100% online with no required tests. The curriculum aims to teach students applicable computational skills, such as programming and computer languages, with a secondary focus on molecular biology. Core classes include Responsible Conduct of Research, Metadata Systems, and Introduction to Bioinformatics. Students must also complete an applied project, which requires in-person fieldwork. There may be career opportunities after graduation in fields such as database administration, biotechnology, and genotyping, to name a few areas.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Average SATs: 1050 -1260
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 596
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 680
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE
#7
#7
Annual Tuition: $9,135
Annual Tuition: $9,135
Annual Tuition: $9,135

University of Northern Colorado (UNC) is a public university with a Master of Science in Biological Sciences (Non-thesis). In order to graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours, which generally takes two to three years.

Canvas is the main LMS for UNC students, and it allows them to take courses exclusively online and on a flexible schedule. The curriculum offers a range of biological courses, including an advanced look at statistical methodologies and clinical research practices. Among the core classes include Biomedicine and Careers, Foundations of Clinical Research, and Introduction to Graduate Research. Non-thesis students are also required to pass a written exam. Upon graduation, existing teachers can advance to become college professors, while non-educators may pursue careers in biotechnology, health care, and biological science.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
  • Average SATs: 970 -1200
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 622
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,186
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#8
#8
Annual Tuition: $9,702
Annual Tuition: $9,702
Annual Tuition: $9,702

The University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) is a public institution offering a Master of Science in Biology requiring 36 credit hours. Full-time students can complete this program in around two years.

Schools in the University of Nebraska System use Canvas as their primary LMS, allowing students to complete their master's degree in biology completely online. This program is designed for a variety of biology professionals — including teachers, scientists, and researchers — with a range of subjects to choose from to tailor the experience. Required classes include Organic Evolution, Biological Statistics, and Intro to Graduate Study. Students may find career opportunities in science outreach and education, teaching, and food science research.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1168
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 487
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,643
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
#9
#9

University of Florida

Gainesville (FL)
Annual Tuition: $10,353
Annual Tuition: $10,353
Annual Tuition: $10,353

University of Florida (UF) is a public university that offers an online Master of Science in Microbiology and Cell Science. Students must complete 30 credits in order to graduate, which can take as little as one year for full-time students.

UF students use Canvas to deliver their coursework, which can be taken entirely online. The majority of courses can be taken asynchronously to allow students to maintain their professional schedules. The curriculum is tailored towards working professionals who are looking to advance their understanding of the subject matter. Core classes include Basic Biology of Microorganisms, Fundamentals of Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology. Graduates may go on to work in government organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and microbiology laboratories.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 92%
  • Average SATs: 1310 -1470
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,029
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 3,401
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
#10
#10

Arizona State University

Tempe (AZ) (and 4 others)
Annual Tuition: $10,497
Annual Tuition: $10,497
Annual Tuition: $10,497

Arizona State University (ASU) is a public institution with a Master of Science in Biological Data Science requiring 32 credit hours. Generally, students complete this program in two years on a full-time study schedule.

Canvas is the main platform ASU utilizes for remote studying, allowing students to study 100% online and on a flexible schedule. The biology program's curriculum at the graduate level is designed to teach students how to gather, analyze, and manage big data, along with learning the tools used in a professional setting. Here are some examples of required classes: Applied Learning Lab, Advanced Topics in Human Forensic DNA, and Integrative Biology. Additionally, a capstone project in Biological Data Science is required. Upon graduation, students may pursue work as biostatisticians, bioinformatics scientists, and database administrators.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Average SATs: 1091 -1301
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 33,410
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 10,843
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

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