Best Online Bachelor's in Biology Degree Programs

Explore the top schools that offer online bachelor's degree programs in biology, how long they take, and what they cost. Learn about the types of financial aid, degree concentration options, and possible career outcomes upon graduation. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Top Online Biology Bachelor's Degree Programs

Online bachelor's degree programs in biology aren't terribly common, but they are offered by a handful of schools. When reviewing choices for one of these programs, consider factors such as cost, program length, and flexibility. Discussed below are four of the top schools that offer biology bachelor's degree programs online.

1. Logan University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Chesterfield, MO $6,800 86%

Logan University has a fully online Bachelor of Science in Human Biology program that is available to transfer and first-time college students. The program is completed through 15-week trimesters and teaches students biological concepts, evidence-based practice, human health, and how to apply science to solve human biological problems. First-time students complete 122 credit hours. Students who maintain a qualifying GPA (3.0 for first-time students and 3.5 for transfer students) can earn a merit-based tuition discount.

2. Life University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) %Receiving Financial Aid
Marietta, GA $12,696 96%

The online Bachelor of Science in Biology program at Life University consists of 188 quarter credit hours, which is around 125 semester credit hours. Students take courses in biology, natural science, humanities and social sciences. The program allows students to take up to 16 quarter credits of biology electives and 23 quarter credits of free electives, so students can focus their studies on an area of interest.

3. University of Florida-Online

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Gainesville, FL $3,876 88%

The University of Florida-Online offers two online bachelor's degree in biology programs. Students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Cell Sciences or a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. During the BS in Microbiology and Cell Sciences program, students attend two on-campus lab experiences for five days each. Students with no transfer credits can finish either program in eight semesters, or four years.

4. Excelsior College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Albany, NY Not Available Not Available

Excelsior College has an online Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences degree with a concentration in biology. The program consists of 120 credit hours but accepts up to 113 credits of previous coursework to be transferred. Students take courses in biodiversity, physiology, genetics and microbiology.

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Biology Program Overview

Online biology bachelor's degree programs can have different requirements and focus areas. Some key characteristics are highlighted below.

  • Admission - Online bachelor's degree programs in biology are usually open to first-time college students as well as transfer students. Programs may take three to four years for first-time students or around two years for students with transfer credits.
  • Concentration Areas - Some online biology bachelor's programs have a general focus in biology and enable students to select elective courses based on their interests. Other programs may have more focused concentration options, such as microbiology or human biology. Depending on career interests, students may find one concentration more beneficial than others. For example, a student in a human biology program may be better prepared for healthcare careers and graduate programs.
  • The Online Learning Environment - Most online biology bachelor's degree programs don't require any on-campus visits but instead present all course and lab work through distance learning. Students complete various assignments, tests, and communications online through their learning portal. However, some programs require students to attend one or more campus sessions for lab exercises or lectures.

For online programs, students will need regular access to their school's course delivery system. At the beginning of their program, they typically need to complete some type of online orientation that provides a walk-through of this learning platform. Some courses may allow students to access their assignments at their convenience during certain periods (such as weekly), while other courses might require some scheduled activities (such as lectures or exams).

Common Courses

The courses in online biology bachelor's degree programs can vary based on concentration or focus area but often contain many of the same fundamental classes. Some of the courses commonly found in biology bachelor's degree programs are highlighted below.

  • General Biology - Students learn about living organisms at the cellular level as well as biological systems and molecules. The activities and processes of living things are also explored as well as how they utilize energy.
  • General Chemistry - These courses provide students with an introduction to physical chemistry basics, such as the various states of matter and equilibrium. Other topics covered may include kinetics, molecular forces, buffers, and reaction rates.
  • Statistics - Students learn to compile and assess statistical data and explore its applications to new concepts. Topics covered typically include probability, linear regression, sampling distributions, and parameters.
  • Microbiology - Microbiology courses introduce students to various principles in microbiology, biochemistry, genetics, and microorganism ecology. Students may learn to characterize and identify various microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, recognizing their attributes and effects on other biological organisms.*Cell Biology - Students explore biology from the cellular level, learning about topics such as biochemical processes and cell structure. In addition, students may learn about cellular reproduction, photosynthesis, and cellular energy transfer.
  • Genetics - This course further explores gene transmission, mutation, and regulation. Students develop a foundational understanding of genetic development, variation, and heredity.
  • Organic Chemistry - In this course, students explore characteristics of chemical processes within living organisms, such as molecular bonding, acid and base reactivity, and stereochemistry. Topics covered may include alkynes, ketones, amino acids, alkenes and carboxylic acids.
  • Biochemistry - Students learn about biological molecules and their function and structure. Some of the topics discussed may include carbohydrates, catalysis, proteins, metabolic pathways and lipids.

Guide to Financial Aid for Online Biology Bachelor's Programs

When preparing for an online bachelor's degree program in biology, students should first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. This application enables students to find out what types of aid they are eligible for. When students are preparing for their respective programs, they should also consult with their school's financial aid office to see if they qualify for any school-specific assistance.

Work Study

Work-study programs are offered at the federal level and administered through schools. These programs allow students who qualify for need-based aid to earn money toward part or all of their degree costs by working part-time during their studies.

Student Loans

Students loans are offered by federal, state, local, and private sources. Federal and state loans have government-set interest rates. Additionally, some need-based federal and state loans may offer government-paid interest while students are in school. Private loans are more variable and should be used as a last resort because they often have higher interest rates.

Loan Forgiveness

There are different types of loan forgiveness programs that graduates may be able to qualify for, whether at the federal or employer level. Students can have certain federal loans forgiven by working in a qualifying public-service position and making regular payments for ten years. Some employers may also offer loan repayment assistance to qualifying employees; some employers that offer loan repayment are Hulu, CommonBond and Aetna.

Scholarships

There are countless scholarships available to students in undergraduate programs. Some scholarships are offered to students based on individual characteristics, such as gender, race, or disability. Other scholarships are offered to students who have demonstrated a high level of academic performance (merit-based) or are pursuing a particular field of study. Students can find scholarships through some of the approved resources from StudentAid.gov or their schools. Some scholarships that are available to students pursuing a bachelor's degree in biology are highlighted below.

  • American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship - This scholarship is offered to competitive students who are interested in pursuing careers in biology. Students can earn a $2,000 or $4,000 award.
  • EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship Program (USP) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awards $45,000 annually to undergraduate students who are pursuing qualifying science degrees.
  • Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation Scholarship - Offered by the American Society of Engineering Education, this scholarship is available to students studying qualifying engineering and scientific fields. Awards are given for $1,000 to $38,000 annually.
  • The B.O.G. Pest Control Scholarship - Students studying biology, chemistry, or a similar field can earn a $1,000 scholarship, awarded annually.
  • American Council of Independent Laboratories Academic Scholarship - Junior and senior students in undergraduate programs in biology and related sciences can earn a $4,000 scholarship that is offered annually.
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific Antibody Scholarship - This scholarship is offered in increments of $5,000 and $10,000 to six students who are studying biology or a related field of science.
  • NGC College Scholarship - Offered by the National Garden Clubs, this $4,000 scholarship is awarded to as many as 41 students who are pursuing degrees in biology, forestry, or other fields related to agricultural science.

What Can You Do with an Online Biology Bachelor's Degree

There are numerous fields that graduates of online biology bachelor's degree programs can pursue, many of which are discussed below.

Agricultural and Food Scientists

Agricultural and food scientists look for ways to improve the safety of food products and the efficiency of agriculture processes. They may work as food scientists, plant scientists, soil scientists, and more. Their duties vary based on their specific roles, but may include conducting research, studying the characteristics of soil, and developing new food products and processing techniques. In 2018, the median salary for agricultural and food scientists was $64,020, with the top 10% earning over $116,740. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of jobs for agricultural and food scientists to grow 7% between 2018 and 2028, with demand for soil and plant science positions expected to increase the most.

Forensic Science Technicians

Forensic science technicians collect and review evidence in criminal investigations, often specializing in laboratory or crime scene analysis. Some of these technicians specialize in certain types of forensic science, such as forensic biology or chemistry. Depending on their roles, they may be responsible for duties such as taking crime scene photographs and fingerprints, cataloging evidence, and performing molecular analyses of evidence. Forensic science technician positions are expected to grow 14% from 2018 to 2028 as various levels of government continue to hire more of these technicians. In 2018, the median annual salary was $58,230 for forensic science technicians.

Biological Technicians

Biological technicians assist medical and biological scientist with experiments, tests, and other laboratory processes. They may be responsible for gathering samples, preparing reports, analyzing information, and maintaining clean and functional laboratories. In 2018, the median annual salary for biological technicians was $44,500, and the field is expected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028. Many biological technicians advance to positions such as biochemist and microbiologist after gaining work experience and earning a graduate degree.

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

Zoologists and wildlife biologists study the interactions between animals and their ecosystems. Their duties may include developing studies, collecting specimens, researching and monitoring species, and creating plans to reduce the effects that humans and other populations have on wildlife. Zoologist and wildlife biologist jobs are expected to grow 5% between 2018 and 2028, and these professionals had a median annual salary of $63,420 as of 2018.

Environmental Scientists and Specialists

These individuals work to protect human health and the environment through various methods. They may work with policymakers to reduce pollution and waste or provide guidance to organizations and the public for improving the environment. Environmental scientists and specialists may hold titles such as environmental health and safety specialists, climate change analysts and industrial ecologists. In 2018, these professionals had a median salary of $71,130, with those working in the federal government earning a median salary of $103,440. Environmental scientists and specialists are expected to see a job growth of 8% from 2018 to 2028.

Microbiologists

Microbiologists work with microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. They study these organisms to better understand how they interact with various environments as well as how they live and develop. These professionals can hold titles such as parasitologist, clinical microbiologist, and industrial microbiologist. They had a median salary of $71,650 as of 2018, with some of the highest paid microbiologists working for the federal government. Employment in this field is estimated to grow 5% from 2018 to 2028 as treatments (such as vaccines) and other developments continue to be researched and improved.

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:

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