Mathematical Biology Courses and Schools

Find out about courses that apply mathematics to biology to create models used in study and research. Get information on what you'll learn, how to choose a school and what careers you could pursue in this field. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Mathematical biology schools offer an extensive and comprehensive study that merges biology and mathematics into one field. The courses and programs in a mathematical biology degree teach students how to use mathematical models to better understand and explain complex or unusual occurrences in biological systems. Individuals with advanced degrees may be rewarded with a high-paying position in this field.

Degrees Bachelor's master's and doctorate in mathematical biology
Courses Applied mathematics, computational mathematics, biological sciences, laboratory coursework
Salary $103,720 per year (Median salary from May 2014 for all mathematicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is Mathematical Biology?

Mathematical biology, sometimes called biomathematics, is an interdisciplinary study of math and biology that is used to create models for biological entities and processes. For example, a mathematical model may be used to represent the structure of viruses, genetics and cancer. Such models can help scientists analyze individual parts of a subject. The application of mathematical biology isn't limited to the medical field; models can be used to predict the probability of experiments in a biology-related fields, including ecology, evolution and conservation.

What Will I Study?

Mathematical biology degree programs are commonly offered through both biology and math departments. You can expect to use computer software to analyze experimental data and create models. Math topics may include the following:

  • Statistics
  • Scientific computing
  • Differential equations
  • Numerical analysis

In many cases, mathematical probabilities are applied to scientific experiments. Because of this, you'll take laboratory courses, in which you learn the scientific method and how to conduct experiments in the biology field. Biology topics include the following:

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Biology of a cell
  • Evolutionary biology

What Should I Look for in a School?

You may pursue a mathematical biology program at the undergraduate and graduate levels. If you're enrolling in a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Biology program, you may want to look for a school that offers undergraduate research opportunities. Similarly, because the field is so vast, you may be able to personalize your program through either biology or mathematics elective courses.

In a master's degree program in mathematical biology, you can expect to conduct a thesis project, while doctoral candidates must conduct a research dissertation. As a result, you may want to look for a school equipped with a computer laboratory for data analysis and modeling. Especially for graduate students, it may be beneficial to consider schools with research facilities located nearby.

Distance learning options are available for applied mathematics degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In these programs, you may learn to apply mathematical concepts to various fields like research, life sciences or business. However, online programs specifically in mathematical biology may not be available. Additionally, graduate-level programs may be intended for working professionals in the science fields.

What Career Can I Pursue?

Job opportunities depend heavily on your education level. After graduating with a bachelor's or master's degree in mathematical biology, you may be able to work for governmental institutions, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or private industries, like pharmaceuticals. You may produce models and compute data for large research projects. If you're interested in leading a research project or teaching at the collegiate level, a doctoral degree is typically required.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

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  • Johns Hopkins University

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