Master's Degrees in Biology: Online and Campus-Based Programs

In a master's program in biology you will learn about living organisms and biological mechanisms. Find out degree and concentration options in biology and the courses offered in these programs. Learn about career opportunities that need applicants with these degrees as well as salary data. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Do I Enroll In a Master's Degree Biology Program?

Master's degree programs in biology are available in online and traditional campus formats. Most biology programs are only open to students with a bachelor's degree; however, some combined programs allow you to earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in biology within a 5-year time frame. Requirements for enrolling in a master's degree program may include GRE test scores and undergraduate coursework in calculus, chemistry and basic biology.

Degree Options Master's degree, combined bachelor's and master's degree program
Online Requirements Coursework, research paper, possible on-campus lab experience and/or test completion
Common Courses Immunology, bioinformatics, toxicology, molecular genetics, neuropharmacology
Job Outlook 7% increase between 2014 and 2024 (for conservation scientists and foresters)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do Online Programs Work?

In most online biology programs, the coursework is identical to the coursework found in campus-based programs. However, you won't be participating in laboratory studies in an online program. Some programs substitute lab requirements for online students with options such as a research paper. Depending on the school, you may be required to come to campus or a local affiliated location to take proctored examinations.

In an online program, you'll access your courses through the school's online distant learning website. There, you'll be able to attend virtual classes, submit your homework and communicate with faculty and fellow students. You'll need access to a computer and a high-speed Internet connection.

What Will I Study?

Regardless of whether you enroll in an online, traditional or accelerated program, you'll learn about the biological mechanisms in living organisms or ecosystems. This instruction will include the components of plant, human and animal cells, along with the fundamentals of organic chemistry.

Within a traditional program, you'll apply this knowledge in laboratory experiments. If you choose a program with a thesis option, you'll demonstrate the knowledge and research procedures that you've learned throughout the program. Coursework in a master's program may include:

  • Molecular genetics
  • Toxicology
  • Immunology
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Aquatic Ecosystems
  • Bioinformatics

How Can I Use My Degree in the Workforce?

As a biology graduate with a master's degree, you can pursue a career as a forester, biochemist, biophysicist, microbiologist or a conservation scientist. In 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median income for conservation scientists was $61,860 ( The BLS also reported that as a biochemist or biophysicist in 2014, you could expect median earnings of $84,940. Microbiologists had median earnings of $67,790 during the same year.

While some jobs in all of these fields are usually open to those with a bachelor's degree, a master's degree is required for many of these positions, and a Ph.D. is required for those who plan on leading research projects. According to the BLS, employment of foresters and conservation scientists was expected to increase by 7% between 2014 and 2024.

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

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Minnesota

    Campus Locations:

    • Minnesota: Minneapolis
  • University of Nevada

    Campus Locations:

    • Nevada: Las Vegas
  • Youngstown State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Youngstown
  • Worcester State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Worcester
  • Northwestern University

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Evanston
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Worcester
  • William Carey University

    Campus Locations:

    • Mississippi: Hattiesburg