Online Biology Degrees

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For students who are interested in studying the natural world and enjoy the challenges that come with scientific research, online biology degrees can offer a good starting point to enter into many prestigious careers.

Online Biology Degrees

If you enjoy science and learning about life processes at various levels and stages, biology may be a good degree and career path for you.

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From teaching biology in the school setting to working as a biology research scientist, there are many career paths available for those interested in earning their biology degree online.

Online Bachelor’s in Biology Degrees

two biologists working together in laboratory

Online bachelor’s degrees in biology are versatile programs that offer students the opportunity to develop a fundamental knowledge of animals, plants, and microorganisms. Throughout your course of study, you will take several classes that cover the various aspects of biological science as well as critical thinking and research.

An online bachelor’s degree in biology prepares you for working within a number of professional industries, including:

  • Healthcare and related fields
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Animal care and research
  • Plant and environmental biology
  • Education

Studying the science of biology requires traditional students to complete several laboratory courses throughout their degree program. Students may still be required to do in-person labs, although much of the information can be presented through interactive virtual laboratories, videos, and online lectures.

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It is important for you to look into the specific requirements of your prospective school to ensure that you can meet the demands of successfully completing an online degree program in biology.

Biology Careers and Salaries

Biology Careers and Salaries

Typically, those who graduate from one of the various online bachelor degrees in biology programs pursue careers within the laboratory, healthcare, or educational setting.

In the table below, we discuss biology career outlook and salary information according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Environmental Engineering Managers $97,122
Research Scientists $82,895
Air Quality Engineers $77,703
Environmental Consultants $62,065
High School Teachers, Biology $60,149
Zoologists $59,739
Microbiologists $59,303
Biologists $55,695
Marine Biologists $54,458
Ecologists $50,845

As with most careers in biology, higher-level education and experience within the field will help you earn top pay, and you may make more or less than the numbers above depending upon your specific skillset.

The BLS projects that those who work as biological technicians will experience an estimated occupational growth of 7% over the next 10 years. Biochemists and biophysicists are projected to grow by 5% within that same time frame.

View our list of the top 40 Biology careers to compare jobs and salaries in this field.

Biology Bachelor’s Curriculum & Courses

Student taking Biology Bachelor's doing lab work

While all biology bachelor’s programs have their own curriculums, they generally focus on advanced scientific skills. Some of the most common course requirements include:

  • Principles of Biology: In this course, students receive a foundational overview of the structure, composition, interactions, and evolution of organisms and cells.
  • General Chemistry: This introductory course teaches students about chemical reactions and molecular structures.
  • Calculus: This mathematics course focuses on derivatives, computation, integrals, and exponential functions.
  • Organic Chemistry: In this class, students learn the principles of organic chemistry, particularly in terms of the properties and relationships between organic compounds.
  • Genetics: This class centers on the principles of Mendelian genetics, heredity, and population genetics.
  • Biochemistry: Students in this course explore biomolecules in living organisms, with a focus on structure, synthesis, and function.
  • Cell Biology: In this course, students learn about the functions of intracellular and extracellular molecules, including gene expression, motility, and signaling.
  • Evolutionary Biology: This course focuses on evolutionary theories and the concepts of adaptation, speciation, and biogeography.
  • Scientific Writing and Communication: Students receive training in rhetorical conventions and scientific communication with an emphasis on audience and style.
  • General Physics: This class teaches students about mechanics, thermal physics, waves, and fluids.

In addition to these major-specific courses, students also generally must complete a number of general education classes in areas such as composition, social science, and languages. Students may also have the opportunity to take electives in their areas of interest.

How to Know if an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Biology is Right for Me

lab technician looking at the microscope image

Is an online degree in biology right for me? When considering a bachelors in biology online, there are several factors to look at before deciding that virtual learning is right for you.

The courses that you will take throughout your degree program involve in-depth research and study, so those who are motivated, organized learners are best suited for this type of program.

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Traditional on-campus students have the opportunity to practice their skills within a laboratory setting, and those who are earning their online biology bachelors degrees will need to master these skills in a different way. Some schools require lab hours to be completed in person, while others may utilize technological platforms to help students understand the practical skills necessary to work within this field.

Although you won’t necessarily have the opportunity to participate in laboratory classes on-campus, there are still several advantages to earning a biology degree online, including:

  • Options to combine a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology
  • Extensive online resources to help you master the necessary skills for professional employment
  • Opportunity to work at a faster pace than traditional, on-campus students
  • Flexible scheduling options that allow you to manage career and family obligations
  • Possibility of lower tuition costs for online biology programs

When making the decision as to whether an online degree in biology is right for you, be sure that you do your research into your school’s requirements for graduation. If you have the drive to take the lead on your educational journey, an online biology degree program could be the perfect starting point for a lucrative professional career.

Choosing an Online Biology Degree Program

Friends checking on Biology Degree Program

In addition to the consideration of whether an online learning platform is right for you, there are many other topics that you should research before choosing a biology degree program.

With the increased popularity of online learning, it is important to check into the following credentials of your prospective schools to ensure that you are enrolling in a program that will be respected once you are ready to enter the workforce.

  • Accreditation:  Accreditation is an essential aspect of a reputable degree program. By going through the accreditation process, universities, and colleges are ensuring that their students are receiving a quality education that will benefit them throughout their future careers.
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: Having a low student-to-faculty ratio in your biology courses is important for a number of reasons. The advanced skills that you will need to master throughout this course of study require individualized guidance and support from your instructors, and small class sizes can help them provide this high level of support.
  • Academic Advising and Student Services: As you work toward your online biology degree, it can be very helpful to have the support of additional services offered through your college. These student services offer an extra level of support that can help you reach your full educational potential
  • Previous Experience and Coursework: Be sure to check with each school you are considering to ensure they accept previous experience or your current portfolio with your application. Also, compare the various programs’ coursework to ensure the coursework fits with your desired career goals.
  • Cost: The cost of each program is also an important factor. Compare various programs to see which one fits your budget.

After considering the above points, you can start narrowing down your list of potential schools based. This can help you find the program that fits your skills, needs, and budget.

Biology Online Bachelor Degree Admissions Requirements

Woman preparing Biology Online Bachelor Degree requirements

Each biology bachelors degree online program has specific admissions requirements. These are some common criteria:

  • Test scores: Some schools require students to achieve minimum ACT or SAT scores.
  • Transcripts: Submit official transcripts from your high school and any colleges you previously attended.
  • References: Ask previous instructors or supervisors to describe your strengths and abilities.
  • Essay: Many schools require students to write a brief essay describing their goals and interest in the program.

For admission to an online biology bachelor’s degree, you may also need to show that you completed certain science or math courses during high school.

Continuing Education

Microbiologists working together in a research

When considering the types of online biology degrees, it is important to take into account the skills that you will need to learn in order to be successful in the workplace. Generally, those studying biology are required to take a number of lab and field-work courses to learn these specialized skills.

With the advancement of technology, some reputable online universities are now offering degrees online in biology that allow you to meet many of these course requirements right from the comfort of your own home. Select universities offer online master’s degrees in biology. This graduate degree program helps students learn advanced skills that help prepare them for career advancement or higher-level positions in teaching, research, and public service.

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In order to graduate with your master’s in biology degree, you will typically be required to complete a thesis and sit for comprehensive examinations. Some colleges also require in-person components to your graduate-level classes, such as supervised research projects and laboratory practicums.

Online Biology Degrees Accreditation

University offering Online Biology Degrees

Accreditation is an essential aspect of a reputable degree program. By going through the accreditation process, universities, and colleges are ensuring that their students are receiving a quality education that will benefit them throughout their future careers.

Additionally, if you plan on furthering your education with a graduate-level biology degree, many schools will only accept credits completed from accredited colleges. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes several accrediting agencies, and it is useful to have a general understanding of which agencies are recognized for your region and degree program.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Biology Degrees Financial Aid

The cost of a degree is often prohibitive for students, but financial aid can help alleviate the burden of tuition. Begin your search for aid by filing a FAFSA, which determines whether you are eligible for federal loans.

If you are attending college as an in-state student, you may also be able to receive state aid or grants. Your school’s financial aid office can provide guidance on what local aid programs are available.

Scholarships are an essential source of aid for many students. An online scholarship database makes it easy to search for programs designed for your major. You may also apply for scholarships based on your background, such as if you are a first-generation college student.

If you’re currently a working professional, reach out to your supervisor or human resources specialist to inquire about tuition reimbursement or assistance, which they may offer as a form of professional development.

What Can You Do With a Biology Degree?

Research Scientist working in the lab

Biology graduates find careers in many different scientific roles. Potential employers include government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, research labs, and colleges and universities.

After earning a biology online degree, you may be well-qualified for a career as a biological technician, which involves conducting laboratory experiments and tests. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median salary for this position is $48,140.

Some biologists specialize in a particular area, such as zoology, microbiology, or marine biology. These positions often have above-average salaries. For instance, zoologists and wildlife biologists have median earnings of $64,650 per year.

Is Biology a Hard Major?

Research Scientists working together in the lab

Biology involves the study of advanced scientific concepts and principles. While earning a biology degree, you will likely take courses in chemistry, genetics, biochemistry, evolutionary biology, and physics.

Biology majors explore the composition of biological structures, including cells, which are the basic foundation of all living organisms. Degree programs in this field also often include advanced mathematics courses like calculus.

Some biology programs also offer concentrations, such as zoology and entomology. These areas of study require you to explore specific types of organisms, like animals and insects, in much greater detail.

Can You Get a Biology Degree Online?

student taking Degree in Biology Online

Yes, you can earn a biology bachelor’s degree online. Colleges offer virtual biology programs that allow you to complete all lectures, classwork, and exams from home.

Courses for online programs are held synchronously or asynchronously. Synchronous courses require students to attend during set times, while asynchronous classes have pre-recorded lectures that students can view whenever it’s most convenient.

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Students in online courses interact with classmates and their instructors via email, discussion boards, and video streaming applications. Classwork is submitted and exams are administered using an online portal, so students have the flexibility to work from the locations they prefer.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Biology Degree Online?

Woman pursuing Biology Degree Online

The timeline for an online Bachelor of Biology degree depends on the program you attend and any other obligations that you may have.

A full-time student who attends a standard 16-week semester can typically graduate within four years. If you want to graduate more quickly, attending an accelerated program or taking summer classes may help. Students with dual credit courses from high school may also be able to earn their degrees in a shorter timeframe.

If you enroll as a part-time student due to other obligations, it may take five or more years to graduate with your degree.

What’s the Difference Between a Bachelor of Science in Biology vs. Biological Sciences?

Biology and biological sciences both involve the study of living organisms. There are some important distinctions between these degrees.

BS in Biology BS in Biological Sciences
  • Focuses on the biology of all types of living organisms.
  • Good preparation for advanced study of a specialized field of biology.
  • Includes concentrations such as zoology, entomology, and botany.
  • Focuses on the biology of living organisms, with an emphasis on human biology.
  • Good preparation for advanced study of health sciences.
  • Includes concentrations such as immunology and molecular biology.

Most colleges offer either biology or biological sciences degree program rather than both.

Is an Online Bachelors in Biology Degree Worth It?

Environmental Consultant discussing with Scientists

Yes, an online bachelor’s in biology degree is worth it for many students. Biologists study the nature of living things, which is essential to the ability to understand how to care for humans, animals, and plants.

Many biology students pursue advanced degrees in science and medicine. Other biology graduates go on to hold positions as zoologists, botanists, microbiologists, marine biologists, and biology technicians. Several of these careers are expected to have faster than average growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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For example, biological technicians and microbiologists have projected growth rates of 9% over the next several years.

Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Biology Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

American Public University

American Public University

APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University

ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Bemidji State University

Bemidji State University

Bemidji State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Carlow University

Carlow University

Carlow University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Excelsior University

Excelsior University

Excelsior University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Florida International University

Florida International University

Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Kean University

Kean University

Kean University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Life University

Life University

Life University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Logan University

Logan University

Logan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Miami University

Miami University

Miami University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Oregon State University

Oregon State University

Oregon State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Salem University

Salem University

Salem is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

SNHU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc.

Unity College

Unity College

Unity College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Alaska – Fairbanks

University of Alaska Fairbanks

UAF is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Florida

University of Florida

The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global Campus

The University of Maryland Global Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Washington State University

Washington State University

Washington State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Western Governors University

Western Governors University

Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Getting Your Biology Bachelors Degree Online

student taking Biology Bachelor's Degree Online

If you are someone with a passion for the natural world and would like to use your skills to advance the scientific field, a bachelors degree in biology online offers a flexible way to take the first step toward a professional career.

Whether you want to work as a biology teacher, a microbiologist, or a research scientist, there are a number of ways to turn your bachelor’s degree in biology online into a rewarding career.

Start by researching accredited online schools that offer a biology program today!

Ready to start your journey?
Kama Offenberger
WRITTEN BY Kama Offenberger

Kama has a master's degree in English from Virginia Tech and a bachelor's in English from Concord University. She previously taught college-level English composition, literature, and English as a second language courses. She is now a full-time writer in the education field, with a particular focus on educational technology and pedagogical best practices for English language learners.