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Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

Job seekers with a bachelor’s degree in biology can pursue diverse careers in healthcare, manufacturing, life sciences, medicine, education, veterinary medicine, nursing, pharmacology, food science, and more. Some graduates use their degrees as a starting point for medical school or doctorate research programs. The expansive biology field covers molecular biology, microbiology, ecology, zoology, botany, and anatomy.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment opportunities for biological technicians and microbiologists to grow by 9% through 2031. Biological technicians earn a median annual salary of $48,140, while microbiologists earn $79,260 annually.

Most bachelor’s in biology programs require a minimum of 120 credits and are designed to be completed in four years of full-time study. Tuition costs vary by school. For the 2021-22 academic year, average undergraduate tuition was $12,394 at public universities and $37,095 at private institutions, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

How to Choose an Online Bachelor’s in Biology Degree Program

Choose your area of study

Consider  your educational and career goals, as this will help you find a program that aligns with your interests and aspirations. Are you earning a bachelor’s in biology to qualify for entry-level jobs in science, biochemistry, healthcare, or another field? Or do you plan to pursue medical school or graduate study? These plans may influence the type of degree program you choose.

Undergraduate students typically choose between a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA). A BS degree emphasizes science and math courses and may be an ideal educational path to help prepare for a technical or particular career route like the medical field. A BA includes liberal arts classes while remaining focused on biology and might be a better choice for students who want a variety of skills they can apply to multiple fields.

Other factors to contemplate as you prepare for your college search include:

  • Scheduling needs – Do you want synchronous classes that meet online at predetermined times or an asynchronous program, where students complete lessons and assignments independently on their own time?
  • Enrollment options – Will you be a full-time or part-time student?
  • Location – Can you complete any in-person requirements, like labs, internships, or field study, or do you need a fully online program?

Research schools and programs

Before deep-diving into research on a particular program, confirm that it’s offered by a regionally accredited university. Accreditation benefits students by ensuring that schools meet the highest quality standards in education. It’s also important for students who plan on pursuing graduate study or medical school, as most schools will only accept students with degrees from accredited universities.

Additional information that students should collect about schools includes:

  • What does the program’s curriculum consist of? Does it align with your career goals?
  • Does the program have in-person requirements, such as labs, or can all coursework be completed remotely?
  • Are classes delivered synchronously or asynchronously?
  • Who are the faculty, and what are their qualifications?
  • How do online students interact with classmates and faculty?
  • How can online students access support services, such as academic and career advising, technical support, counseling, and tutoring?

Visiting a school’s website is a good place to start looking for this information. Many online programs hold virtual information sessions or open houses where prospective applicants can interact with faculty, current students, and admissions counselors. Following a school or program on social media can also provide helpful insight into the school and its culture. Students who have additional questions can contact the school’s admissions office directly.

Prepare for tests and applications

Review the application requirements on the school’s website and speak with an admissions counselor if you need to clarify anything. Each school sets its own application requirements, procedures, and deadlines, so it can be helpful to create a spreadsheet or checklist to keep track of your applications.

The application materials needed vary by school but typically include:

  • Completed application and required fees
  • Official high school transcript showing proof of graduation or GED
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers, employers, and leaders who attest to your academic potential.
  • Personal essay or statement of purpose
  • A resume or CV highlighting educational and professional experience, extracurricular activities, and leadership positions.

Find out the school’s policies for standardized tests like the SAT or ACT. Some schools still require these test scores, while others have test-optional policies.

Individuals applying as transfer students must get official transcripts from previously attended schools. Their new school will evaluate these transcripts to determine which credits apply to their new degree program.

Select your program

The number of schools a student applies to is a personal choice. Some students apply to multiple programs to increase their chances of acceptance. Others only submit one or two applications to programs that meet their specific needs.

If you want to narrow down your list of potential schools, review all the information you’ve gathered and make a pros and cons list for each program. Evaluate programs based on cost, curriculum, and if they meet personal needs regarding  schedule and pace.

Those applying to a high volume of schools should keep in mind that most charge application fees and budget accordingly or request application fee waivers.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Students have a variety of options to help them pay for an online bachelor’s in biology, including:

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a prerequisite for determining eligibility for most types of financial aid. Students can contact their school’s financial aid office if they have questions about completing the FAFSA.

Students can also explore other avenues, such as employer tuition assistance benefits and payment plans that allow students to pay tuition in installments rather than one lump sum.. Some schools offer discounted tuition to veterans and active-duty military members, and many accept GI Bill benefits.

The Top 50 Online Bachelor’s in Biology Programs

Best Bachelor's in Biology Programs Badge

University of Florida

Florida International University

WSU Global Campus

Logan University

Arizona State University

Life University

Texas Tech University

Oregon State University

University of Maryland Global Campus

Bemidji State University

Davenport University

University of Arizona

Unity Environmental University

Excelsior College

National University

Kean University

Western Governors University

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How We Rank Schools

This list features some of the best online bachelor’s in biology programs at top colleges nationwide. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. The programs on our list are accredited by reputable organizations that assess the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of colleges and universities.

Our research team evaluated each program based on factors like tuition costs, faculty, student resources, reputation, and admission, retention, and graduation rates. We then calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online bachelor’s in biology programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect from an Online Bachelor’s in Biology Program?

A bachelor’s in biology degree prepares students for biological science careers by establishing a strong base in evolutionary, cellular, ecological, organismal, and molecular biology. The curriculum will also draw on other areas, such as biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, and organic chemistry. Undergraduates learn about the scientific method, energy transfer, reproduction, and cell structure.

Higher-level courses may introduce students to subsets of biology like genetics and cytology. Students may also have the option to choose a concentration such as pre-pharmacy, pre-dentistry, or pre-medicine. Common elective areas include psychology, botany, zoology, and microbiology.

Lab work is common in biology degree programs. For online students, schools may supply at-home lab kits. Other programs may require students to attend labs in person, even if they complete all other coursework online. The curriculum may include an internship, field study, or capstone project.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online bachelor’s in biology degree program

  • General Biology. This course introduces students to a wide scope of life and living organisms and explores how hereditary information is encoded in genes.
  • Organic Chemistry I and II. Learners realize the techniques, theories, and principles of organic chemistry. The mechanism, properties, reactions, structure, and vocabulary of hydrocarbons are a primary focus.
  • Evolution. Students study the development and history of animals, plants, and single-celled organisms. Topics include genome sequencing, biological diversity, animal behavior, and natural selection. How environmental conditions can affect evolution is thoroughly detailed.
  • Physics. This class discusses the basic study of physical science, the structure of matter, how objects interact, and how energy and forces influence how matter moves and acts.
  • Calculus I. Enrollees learn about derivatives, continuity and limits, exponential and logarithmic functions, and definite integrals. The course will help students strengthen problem-solving and mathematical skills.

Online Bachelor’s in Biology Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online bachelor’s in biology degree program?

Review application procedures, requirements, and deadlines with an admissions counselor to confirm that you have the correct information. Confirm how to submit your application and supporting materials. Most schools accept all or most documents electronically.

For bachelor’s degrees, students can also use the Common Application to apply to multiple schools with one application.

If you need letters of recommendation, ask individuals who know you well and can speak to your academic abilities and skills, especially as they relate to this field. If the school requires an essay or personal statement, give yourself sufficient time to craft a well-written essay and ask a trusted teacher, counselor, or friend to review it before submitting it.

How much does an online bachelor’s in biology cost?

Contact schools directly and speak to a financial aid counselor about tuition, fees, and financial aid for the most accurate answer.

Costs vary from school to school, but average undergraduate tuition at public universities is $12,394. Meanwhile, private universities charge, on average, $37,095.

Some of the factors that influence college costs include:

  • Public versus private status – Public schools are usually less expensive than private schools, although their tuition rates may be different for in-state and out-of-state students
  • Additional fees – Most schools will charge students additional fees beyond tuition for things like virtual classroom technology, library resources, labs, and more
  • Potential savings – Online students can expect to save money by eliminating transportation expenses and having more flexibility with living expenses

How long does it take to earn an online bachelor’s in biology degree?

The majority of full-time students take four years to complete a bachelor’s degree in biology program, based on a 120-credit program. Part-time students may take 5-6 years to complete this degree.

For students with previously earned college credits, an accelerated degree completion program may offer a faster route to earning a bachelor’s in biology. Depending on how many credits a student can transfer in, they may be able to complete their bachelor’s in as little as one year.

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