10 Best Online Biology Degree Programs [2024 Guide]

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Explore the best online biology degree programs. Discover flexible learning options and embark on a rewarding journey toward a career in the field of biology.

Science is an exciting field that offers numerous career opportunities, and you can prepare for those jobs with an online biology degree.

Online Biology Degree

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Through online college classes, you can learn about the building blocks of life, become more knowledgeable about plants and animals, and get to know the world around you.

Courses for an Online Biology Degree

biology degree student studying online

Students in a biology program take many science classes. Some cover the various branches of science, and others present expert-level information about topics in biology. In addition to all of the science classes, biology students also take a core of general education courses that cover composition, math, humanities and other foundational topics.

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Some common classes for this degree include:

  • Animal Physiology and Behavior: This class introduces the basic anatomy of various types of animals. You will probably discuss classification within the animal kingdom. The course may also cover how environment and genetics influence the things that animals do.
  • Cellular Biology: In this course, you can get a good understanding of cellular structure and the jobs that cells perform. You may also learn about conducting experiments and performing research on cellular topics.
  • Chemistry: To be a strong scientist, it’s important that you know about other disciplines than just biology. Chemistry is an example of another branch of science that you’re likely to explore during your time in school. You may take several semesters of basic college chemistry and may take organic chemistry as well.
  • Genetics: This class is designed to help you understand how traits are inherited in plants and animals. Studying genetics can also help you learn about variation within a species.
  • History of Science: You may have the opportunity to find out about the development of science over the years. This course may focus on all types of science or just biology.
  • Research Ethics: As a scientist, you may conduct your own research or evaluate others’ studies. It’s important to understand the principles of ethical research, such as avoiding conflict of interest or data manipulation.

You will probably have lab requirements for your degree program. Some schools use a hybrid format with online classes and on-campus lab work. Other schools may offer fully online options for completing the lab portions.

Biology Degree Salary

Biology Degree Salary

Biology students can pursue a career as a scientist or enhance other disciplines with their scientific knowledge. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in the biological sciences earn a median annual salary of $85,290.

It’s worth noting that a graduate degree may be required for some of the higher-paying positions in the biological sciences. The table below gives an overview of what you might earn with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Keep in mind that you may need additional certifications, such as a teaching license, for some of these jobs.

Career Median Annual Salary
Medical and Health Services Manager $104,280
Food Scientist $73,450
Wildlife Biologist $66,350
High School Teacher $62,870
Middle School Teacher $60,810
Clinical Laboratory Technologist $54,180
Environmental Science and Protection Technician $46,850
Biological Technician $46,340
Animal Trainer $31,520

Some undergraduate biology programs can serve as a good foundation for graduate studies in medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine. Not all programs are designed for this though, so consult your school before enrolling if you’re interested in one of those career tracks.

Professional Organizations for Those with a Biology Degree

biologists in a meeting

You’re probably choosing a biology major because you have a passion for this field of study. If so, you probably enjoy connecting with others who have similar interests. A professional association is designed to help you do just that. By joining a group, you can have in-person and online opportunities to network with others in the biological sciences.

  • American Society of Plant Biologists: If you work with or study plants, you may appreciate the benefits that ASPB has to offer. These include outreach programs, teaching modules, publications and online resources. You can also count on ASPB to advocate for scientific initiatives.
  • Genetics Society of America: For those who teach or conduct research in genetics, GSA offers support. Your membership will include professional discounts, access to publications and the opportunity to apply for educational grants.
  • ASCB: If you work centers around studying cells, consider becoming a member of the American Society for Cell Biology. You’ll be able to connect online with other scientists, attend the group’s conferences at a discount and view the job board.

The connections you make through membership in a professional association may sharpen your scientific skills, lead to future job opportunities, allow you to give back to the scientific community and help you make new friends.

Accreditation for Online Biology Degrees

Accreditation for Online Biology Degrees

When you apply for a biology-related job, the employer will want to know where you got your biology degree. If your studies weren’t done through a regionally accredited college, then the hiring committee may not take your application seriously.

Regional accreditation serves as a sign that a college does a good job of educating its students. Schools that haven’t been approved by one of the U.S.’s regional accreditors may not meet academic standards.

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These accreditors include:

Whether you attend a regionally accredited university may also affect your opportunities for future studies. Grad programs may not accept students from unaccredited colleges. The same goes for transferring credits into another undergraduate program.

Financial Aid for an Online Bachelors Degree in Biology

Financial Aid for an Online Bachelors Degree in Biology

Getting a college degree can be expensive, but you don’t have to take care of the cost all on your own. Building a financial aid package can help you afford the cost of going back to school.

  • Federal aid: The federal government has programs for tuition grants and low-interest loans. These are distributed based on financial need. Some students can also enroll in the Federal Work-Study program.
  • Private loans: You may be able to get student loans from private sources, but pay attention to the interest rate before committing.
  • Scholarship money: Your special skills and unique characteristics may qualify you to receive a scholarship from a charitable group or foundation.
  • State aid: Your state may offer grant and loan programs that are similar to those offered by the federal government.
  • Workplace assistance: Your employer may contribute to your educational expenses.

Your college’s financial aid department can be a good resource to consult. Before you do that, though, make sure that you submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It will outline what government assistance you can get, and the results may influence whether you qualify for other types of aid as well.

Questions Related to Earning a Biology Degree Online

biologist working in the laboratory

Is It Possible to Get a Biology Degree Online?

Yes, you can study online for a degree in biology, whether it’s a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD in biology online. Science majors almost always require lab work, but some schools have systems that allow you to complete that portion of your studies at home.

Other colleges allow for part of the work to be done online, but you’ll need to take other classes on the school’s campus. There may also be requirements for in-person internships.

Additionally, some schools may even offer an accelerated biology degree which will allow you to finish your degree even quicker than normal.

Can I Get a Wildlife Biology Degree Online?

Although you may be able to earn some of your credits online, most wildlife biology programs will require you to do some on-campus work in order to receive lab credit.

If you’re interested in a fully online program, consider tweaking your major a bit. You may have better luck earning a digital degree in wildlife science or wildlife conservation.

Can I Get an Online Marine Biology Degree?

marine biologist taking pictures of marine life

You may be able to complete some of your marine biology college classes in an online format. Don’t expect to finish the entire degree from the comfort of your own house, though.

Hands-on experience is required for this program, so some schools offer only a hybrid setup in which you take some classes online and report to campus for others. Some colleges require a lengthy in-person internship through which you’ll gain the necessary field experience.

Where Can I Get a Biology Degree Online?

Multiple schools offer online biology programs. To make sure that you’re choosing a good college, make sure that the institution is regionally accredited.

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Before enrolling, be sure to look into whether any in-person lab courses are required. If so, you’ll need to select an online school with a campus in your local area. Another reason to consider a school with a local presence is that public universities in your state may offer the lowest tuition rates.

Is a Biology Degree Hard?

biology students working in the laboratory

You should be prepared to work hard in your biology program. This field of study leans quite heavily on science classes, and there are a lot of facts and figures to memorize. You may have frequent lab reports to turn in. If you did well with advanced math and science courses in high school, then you may be a good candidate for a biology major.

Just understand that you must be willing to invest a good deal of time and effort into your studies over the next few years.

Universities Offering Online Biology Bachelor’s Degree Program

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.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

With an enrollment of more 100,000 students, Arizona State University is one of the largest public universities by enrollment in the United States. This research university founded in 1885 has five campuses spread throughout the Phoenix area. ASU offers a combined 750 degree options for its undergraduate and graduate students. Bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs are available.

  • BS in Biological Sciences

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Bellevue University

Bellevue University campus

Bellevue University is a private university located in Bellevue, Nebraska. Opened in 1966, the school operates today as a flexible learning institution. More than 10,000 students are enrolled in Bellevue’s bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs. Bellevue University’s online bachelor’s degree program has been ranked among the top in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

  • BS in Biology

Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Excelsior College

Excelsior College campus

Founded in 1971, Excelsior College is a private college located in Albany, New York, that is comprised of the School of Undergraduate Studies, the School of Graduate Studies, and the School of Nursing. Degrees are awarded at bachelor’s and master’s levels. Current Excelsior enrollment is 30,008.

  • BS in Natural Sciences – Biology

Excelsior College is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Florida International University

Florida International University campus

Florida International University is the first school in South Florida to be designated as an Institution of Emerging Preeminence by the Florida Legislature. Founded in 1965, FIU is a public research university with a headquarters in University Park. FIU offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs.

  • BA in Biology

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

Life University

Life University campus

Life University is a private university focused on chiropractic training that also offers a variety of bachelor’s and master’s programs focused on biology, health, nutrition, human development, exercise science, and training. This school in Marietta, Georgia, has a total enrollment of 2,692. Life was founded in 1974.

  • BS in Biology

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

Logan University

Logan University campus

Logan University is a special-focus university that offers study and training involving chiropractic and health sciences. This school in Chesterfield, Missouri, has an enrollment number of 1,380. Students enrolled in the Logan College of Health Sciences can pursue bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in a number health-related specialties. Logan was established in 1935.

  • BS in Human Biology

Logan University is accredited and/or recognized by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona campus

The University of Arizona offers a Bachelor of Science in Biology that can be earned online. The program includes brief summer immersion experiences on campus to complete lab work. There are two concentration options to choose from: Biomedical Sciences or Organismal Biology. Coursework includes Ecology, Genetics, Foundations in Biochemistry, Evolutionary Biology, and more.

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

University of Florida

University of Florida campus

The University of Florida in Gainesville is a public research university. Founded in 1853, it stands today as a senior member of the State University System of Florida.

The more than 56,000 students enrolled in the school can pursue hundreds of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs through more than 16 academic colleges and 150 research centers. Famously, the Florida Gators compete in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

  • BA in Biology

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

University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global campus

University of Maryland Global Campus is a public university based in Adelphi, Maryland. The school’s focus is on offering online degree options for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral studies for more than 60,000 enrolled students. UMGC was founded in 1947. It is a member of the University System of Maryland.

  • Bachelor of Technical and Professional Studies in Biotechnology
  • BS in Biotechnology

UMGC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Westfield State University

Westfield State University campus

Westfield State University of Massachusetts is a public university founded in 1838. The school was established as the first public coeducational college in the country to offer education without barriers regarding race, gender, or economic class.

It has been ranked nationally as a member of the Best Online Programs Honor Roll by U.S. News. In addition to a number of master’s programs, WSU offers 31 undergraduate majors, 34 minors, and 43 different concentrations.

  • BS in Biology

Westfield State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

What Does a Degree in Biology Get You?

biologists working in the laboratory

With an online degree in biology, whether it’s an online bachelors in biology, an online masters in biology, or even an online PhD in biology, you can start your science career off on the right foot. You can learn about life from the tiniest cell to the tallest tree. As you complete lab projects and read scientific reports, you can prepare for one of the many careers available to biology majors.

With a degree in biology, you could become a scientific researcher, teach biology to teenagers or assist in a lab. You may also be ready to enroll in graduate studies to become a medical professional. The first step is submitting your application to online biology schools.

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Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy at Liberty University and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management from Amberton University, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration from Columbia College. With over 20 years of experience navigating online degrees and courses, Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.