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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 impacts, 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 earn an average annual salary of $100,730.

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, total 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 (MS), some offer a Master of Engineering (MEng) with a concentration in bioengineering or biomedical engineering. All programs demand intensive research, but the MEng often emphasizes more practical applications.

A master’s in biotechnology may offer additional concentrations that allow you to specialize your focus further. Possible concentrations include bioinformatics, regenerative and stem cell technologies, and regulatory affairs. If you already know what you would like to do after you graduate, look for programs that closely match these career goals.

Research schools and programs

You should only apply to institutions that have been approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. These organizations evaluate schools to ensure they provide students with a high-quality education. Those who attend a school that isn’t regionally accredited may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

Ideally, your master’s in biotechnology program will also be accredited by a respected industry group like the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). This programmatic accrediting organization has particularly high standards for STEM education.

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

  • Does the program require a thesis? Most online master’s in biotechnology programs 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.

To learn more about any schools that you’re interested in, you can visit the school’s website, contact an admissions counselor, follow the school on social media, or attend an in-person or virtual open house.

Prepare for tests and applications

Application requirements vary by school and program. 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.

In addition to submitting undergraduate transcripts, you may also need to send over letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Though GRE scores may help if your undergraduate GPA is below the threshold, such test results are usually optional.

Before submitting an application, always contact an admissions counselor to ensure you have the most accurate information regarding requirements and deadlines.

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.

Before making your final decision, review your needs and goals again. Do you plan to attend school full-time or part-time? Do you want your program to be as online as possible, or are you fine with a hybrid program that has a fair amount of in-person requirements? Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace, while others only offer synchronous courses, which involve remotely attending lectures and completing assignments at the same time as other students — which of these two online learning formats do you prefer? Your school should accommodate your scheduling needs and learning preferences.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

While a graduate degree is not essential for this career path, it will improve 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. Those who already work in the field should see if their employer offers tuition assistance benefits as well.

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 of these options also have programmatic accreditation through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

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 learn the principles and applications of biotechnology, including experimental design and data analysis. But they’ll also engage in ethics, safety, intellectual property, and organizational leadership coursework.

This graduate program usually takes one to two years to finish. Some programs 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.

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 include 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 diverse audiences.
  • Experimental Design and Analysis. Students learn the principles of experimental design and quantitative data analysis related to the complex biotechnology field.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Biotechnology Degree?

Career outlook

The career outlook for individuals holding a master’s degree in biotechnology is promising, given the increasing demand for innovative solutions in healthcare, agriculture, environmental sustainability, and other trending fields.

Indeed, the biotechnology industry spans a wide range of career paths, from research and development to quality control, manufacturing, and regulatory affairs. With the continuous advancement of biotechnological applications, professionals with a master’s degree in biotechnology are well-positioned to thrive in a dynamic and evolving job market. Here are some possible career options for individuals with this degree:

  • Bioengineer or biomedical engineer — Use the principles of biology and engineering to design, develop, and test equipment and devices, such as medical implants and artificial organs.
    • Median annual salary: $100,730
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 5%
    • New job openings projected: 1,200 annually
  • Agricultural or food scientist — Research and develop methods for growing field crops, managing farm animals, and manufacturing food products.
    • Median annual salary: $76,400
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 6%
    • New job openings projected: 3,000 annually
  • Conservation scientist or forester — Oversee activities such as preparing sites for new trees and suppressing forest fires.
    • Median annual salary: $68,300
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 4%
    • New job openings projected: 3,000 annually

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. Biotechnology is a highly specialized field, so tuition is higher for this program than the average master’s degree. Before financial aid, you can expect your degree to cost somewhere between $45,000 to $60,000 in total tuition.

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.

Is an online master's in biotechnology worth it?

Pursuing an online master’s degree in biotechnology offers numerous advantages and opportunities for individuals passionate about contributing to scientific advancements and improving lives.

Earning a master’s degree in biotechnology gives you access to the latest research in this expanding field and networking opportunities through professors, other students, and researchers with whom you may intern or work. Many online programs provide access to cutting-edge research opportunities, virtual laboratories, and industry databases that enable you to engage in hands-on learning and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field.

Earning your degree online also offers increased flexibility over an on-campus program, especially if your classes are presented asynchronously, allowing you to watch lectures and complete assignments at a time that’s convenient for you.

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