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Biotechnology is an interdisciplinary field using biology to inform innovative designs and products. Practitioners use nature and genetics to find healthcare solutions, reduce environmental impact, increase food production, and address other global concerns. Biotechnology professionals have backgrounds in various specialties, from chemical engineering and biochemistry to plant science and zoology.

Individuals interested in a master’s in biotechnology should also possess extensive experience in the field. This degree is highly specialized and designed for those seeking career advancement. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for bioengineers and biomedical engineers will grow faster than average over the next few years. These professionals typically need a graduate credential and earn an average annual salary of $97,410. Other possible professions, such as a scientist in the medical field, require a Ph.D.

An online master’s in biotechnology is typically 30 credits (or ten classes), including an immersive experience, whether an internship or laboratory assignment. Because of the specialized nature of these degrees, full tuition often exceeds $50,000.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Biotechnology Program

Choose your area of study

The field of biotechnology branches into several disciplines, so determine your preferred area of study. Different schools offer different degrees. While most programs are categorized under a Master of Science (M.S.), some offer a Master of Engineering (M.E.) with a concentration in bioengineering or biomedical engineering. All programs demand intensive research, but the M.E. often emphasizes more practical applications.

A master’s in biotechnology may include additional concentrations to specialize your focus further. Possible concentrations include bioinformatics, regenerative and stem cell technologies, and regulatory affairs.

Research schools and programs

Only choose institutions recognized by a regional accrediting agency. Accreditation status ensures that the course of study meets academic and professional preparation standards set by higher education experts. Moreover, accreditation is necessary for financial aid. Biotechnology programs may receive additional certification from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET).

In addition to accreditation, consider the following aspects of each program:

  • How will students complete online coursework? Some biotechnology degrees are available through asynchronous study. Online students access pre-recorded lectures and complete assignments, exams, and comprehensive projects independently. Others may rely on scheduled remote classes during which faculty and students engage in active lectures and discussions.
  • Does the program require a thesis? Most online master’s in biotechnology do not have a thesis requirement. Instead, you’ll complete a comprehensive capstone project. In these projects, you might work alongside a faculty member or develop an independent consulting project with a biotechnology employer.
  • What is the faculty-to-student ratio? Seek more selective programs with a low faculty-to-student ratio. You’ll have better access to faculty office hours and more academic support throughout your studies.

Research each program’s specific website in depth. Contact an admissions counselor or attend a virtual open house if you need help finding the necessary information.

Prepare for tests and applications

Before applying, check the admissions requirements. Most online master’s in biotechnology programs only accept applicants with an undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA (often 3.0 or higher). Applicants must prove completion of prerequisite coursework in biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. Though GRE scores may help if your undergraduate GPA is below the threshold, test results are optional.

Select your program

Select a program based on your eligibility and professional interests. You may apply to more than one to increase your chances of acceptance; even online degrees have limited spots. Once accepted, you’ll likely need to pay an enrollment fee to hold your place.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

While a graduate degree is not essential for this career path, it will increase your job prospects and earning potential. Nonetheless, it’s an investment, and you should pursue all funding avenues. Even if you’d like to avoid taking out loans, submit a FAFSA form. You may need a FAFSA on file to be eligible for other grants and scholarships. Then, contact a financial aid counselor through your school. They can help you determine tuition reduction strategies, such as research assistantships or military discounts.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Biotechnology Programs

Best Online Master's in Biotechnology Degree Programs

Johns Hopkins University

American University

Harvard Extension School

Purdue University

George Washington University

Northeastern University

University of Wisconsin at Madison

Morehouse School of Medicine

Mount St. Mary’s University

Duquesne University

Texas Woman’s University

University of Maryland Global Campus

Rutgers University at New Brunswick

University of Alabama at Birmingham

University of Houston

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

University of Wisconsin at Whitewater

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How We Rank Schools

This list focuses on master’s degrees in biotechnology. As a STEM field, the most common advanced degree in biotechnology is a Master of Science (MS).

We concentrated on finding programs delivered entirely or primarily online to guarantee access to the greatest number of students, regardless of their geographic location or schedules. Please note, however, that most programs have in-person lab work requirements.

All of the programs on our list are offered by regionally accredited institutions, ensuring they meet the highest quality standards for postsecondary education. Some programs are also accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) or the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).

Our team reviewed programs based on their outcomes, cost, reputation, faculty, and flexibility. Then, we calculated an Intelligent Score of 0 to 100 for each program. For a more extensive explanation, check out our ranking methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Biotechnology Program?

Biotechnology coursework prepares candidates for career paths like forensic science, food science, and healthcare. It may also be a stepping stone for medical school and further advanced study. The program itself covers both scientific and practical topics. Participants understand the principles and applications of biotechnology, including experimental design and data analysis. But they’ll also engage in ethics, safety, funding, intellectual property, and organizational leadership coursework.

This graduate program takes one to two years to finish. Some degrees function on a continuous semester basis, allowing students to graduate in just 16 months. Part-time students may need upwards of three to four years. Online master’s in biotechnology programs are predominantly online with no in-person requirements.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in biotechnology program

  • Principles of Biotechnology. Students learn fundamental biotechnology principles and techniques and discuss their real-world applications. Participants then explore emerging technologies in the field.
  • Ethics, Safety, and Regulatory Environments in Biotechnology. This course examines ethical and safety concerns. Topics emphasize data integrity, risk assessment, intellectual property rights, and environmental protection.
  • Professional and Technical Communication. Participants learn the basics of written and oral scientific communication. Students create reports, proposals, and presentations on complicated, data-rich themes applicable to a diverse audience.
  • Experimental Design and Analysis. Students learn the principles of experimental design and quantitative data analysis related to the complex biotechnology field.

Online Master’s in Biotechnology Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master's in biotechnology degree program?

To apply, review the required application materials and begin assembling them early. Some components, such as transcripts or recommendation letters, can take several weeks to gather. Prepare the following materials for your application packet:

  • A completed application
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate program with completion of prerequisite college science courses
  • A professional resume outlining any related work experience
  • A personal statement explaining your long-term goals
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Proof of English proficiency (if applicable)
  • A non-refundable processing fee

Submit applications through the program’s online admissions portal. For any questions regarding the process, contact an admissions counselor.

How much does an online master's in biotechnology degree cost?

Cost can be the main driving factor behind which program to attend. For more affordable options, consider public institutions for which you qualify for in-state residency. Online tuition charges are often the same as in-person rates, though you may save on transportation and living costs. Biotechnology is a highly specialized field, so tuition is higher for this program than the average master’s degree. Before financial aid, the average total tuition ranges from $45,000 to $60,000, or $1,750 per credit hour, according to Best Colleges.

How long does it take to earn an online master's in biotechnology degree?

A typical master’s degree in biotechnology is 30 credit hours (or 10 classes). Full-time attendees can graduate in less than two years if they take summer classes. Part-time students may need three to four years to graduate. However, those with significant related undergraduate coursework or professional experience may qualify for transfer credit, which can ultimately reduce your program’s overall cost and length.

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