Thinking About Earning Your Master’s In Biology? Here’s What You Need To Know.
Getting a master’s degree in biology can open many doors for both further study and employment. A master’s in biology degree program can be the perfect fit for students who love nature and want to learn more about how the beauty of nature functions on a technical level. Whether you’re hoping to become a researcher, a wildlife biologist, an epidemiologist, or another scientist staying on the cutting-edge of the latest biological discoveries, earning your master’s degree will put you at the forefront of the natural science world.
When you’re searching for the right master’s program for you, it’s important to consider your interests. While there are many broad-scope biology graduate programs that can help to move your forward in many fields, you may prefer to learn from faculty who have expertise in a particular area, such as animal biology or botany.
If you’re ready to start your graduate education, you’re making a smart move by choosing biology. Science isn’t going anywhere, and more and more industries are turning to the natural world for solutions that can positively impact health, well-being, the environment, and more.
The Best 15 Masters in Biology
1. University of Illinois at Chicago – Chicago, Illinois
Most students in the University of Illinois at Chicago’s master’s in biological sciences program are on a Ph.D. track, but other students may be admitted as well. For both in-state and out-of-state students, U of I provides incredible value and a top of the line program that’s well-respected by employers. Students have the choice of a research track or a coursework track. Research track students must complete a thesis, while course work track students must complete a master’s project prior to graduation.
- Tuition: $5,830 per year for in-state students, $11,950 per year for out-of-state students
- Total Enrollment: 29,120
2. Stanford University – Stanford, California
At Stanford University, students enrolled in the biology coterminal master’s program get a comprehensive education that includes courses in math, physics, chemistry, and biology. In the coterminal program format, students can complete their master’s and bachelor’s degrees at the same time, or may complete their bachelor’s degree in a different department while also completing their graduate education in biology. This offers a unique and efficient option for students who want to fast-track their education.
- Tuition: $18,105 per year
- Total Enrollment: 16,914
3. University of Maryland, College Park – College Park, Maryland
The Biological Sciences Graduate Program at the University of Maryland, College Park provides students with four concentration options: behavior/ecology/evolution/systematics, physiological systems, molecular and cellular biology, and computational biology/bioinformatics/genomics. Students get to work with faculty who are experts in their area of interest while also enjoying opportunities to participate in cross-concentration research opportunities.
- Tuition: $8,772 per year for in-state students, $19,500 per year for out-of-state students
- Total Enrollment: 40,521
4. University of California, Los Angeles – Los Angeles, California
Students in UCLA’s master of science in biology program enjoy working with world-class faculty in the school’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department. Graduates of UCLA’s master’s program emerge ready to take on further research or to excel in their chosen field.
- Tuition: $17,486 per year for in-state students, $32,588 per year for out-of-state students
- Total Enrollment: 44,947
5. University of Virginia – Charlottesville, Virginia
At the University of Virginia, students in the master’s program in biology get to work closely in a mentorship relationship with a faculty member. The program allows students to grow into their own passions, as the end of study culminates with a thesis defense. When students graduate from the master’s in biology program at the University of Virginia, they’re ready to take on roles in both research and non-research careers. Many alumni enjoy fulfilling careers in education, law, science policy, and conservation.
- Tuition: $764 per credit hour for in-state students, $1,289 per credit hour for out-of-state students
- Total Enrollment: 21,985
6. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities – Minneapolis, Minnesota
The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities offers several options for students who are pursuing a graduate education in biology, including the BMBB program (biochemistry, molecular biology, and biophysics), the MCDB&G program (molecular, cellular, developmental biology and genetics), the EEB program (ecology, evolution, and behavior), microbial engineering, plant and microbial biology, conservation biology, genetic counseling, as well as a base degree in biological sciences. Students in any program at U of M get to enjoy a vast network of both faculty and colleague that will benefit them in both research and non-research careers.
- Tuition: $15,142 per year for in-state students, $33,440 per year for out-of-state students
- Total Enrollment: 35,165
7. CUNY Brooklyn College – Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn College’s master’s in biology program is unique in that it offers students an M.A. degree rather than an M.S. degree. Students in the program graduate prepared to work with government laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology firms, as well as agencies such as the EPA and FDA. The program focuses on developmental, molecular, cell, and behavioral biology.
- Tuition: $11,522 per year for in-state students, $20,952 for out-of-state students
- Total Enrollment: 17,410
8. Tufts University – Medford, Massachusetts
The master’s biology program at Tufts is an open-choice program. Students have the option of choosing a concentration area: ecology/behavior/evolution, global change biology, genetics/molecular/developmental biology, or physiology/neurobiology/biomechanics. Students who decide to take a concentration option must take at least half of their master’s courses in their chosen concentration area. At Tufts, students have the option of taking classes on a part-time schedule that only requires them to be on campus in the evenings, making it a doable option for those who want or need to work while also pursuing their education.
- Tuition: $54,195 per year
- Total Enrollment: 10,872
9. University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, PA
UPenn’s master of biotechnology program offers students the option of three tracks: molecular biotechnology, biopharmaceutical/engineering biotechnology, or biomedical technologies. Each of these concentrations is paired with core courses that allow students to develop a deep foundational knowledge that serves them as they move forward into work or research.
- Tuition: $7,594 per class
- Total Enrollment: 24,806
10. University of Connecticut – Storrs, Connecticut
UConn offers many options for students who are interested in getting a master’s degree in biology. Graduate programs in biology include applied biochemistry and cell biology, applied genomics, applied microbial systems analysis, biodiversity and conservation biology, biomedical engineering, biomedical science, biostatistics, ecology and evolutionary biology, energy and environmental management, molecular and cell biology, natural resources, oceanography, pathobiology, physiology and neurobiology, and plant science. No matter what degree a student chooses, they have the benefit of gaining a wide breadth of biology knowledge from faculty members who specialize in various areas in the field.
- Tuition: $940 per credit for in-state students, 2,157 per credit for out-of-state students
- Total Enrollment: 32,183
11. Wake Forest University – Winston-Salem, North Carolina
The master’s biology program at Wake Forest allows students to both get a well-rounded biology education and culminate their studies by defending a thesis created under the guidance and mentorship of world-class faculty. At Wake Forest, students at the master’s level receive full tuition remission and stipend support, making the program attainable for students who might otherwise be unable to pursue a graduate education due to financial concerns.
- Tuition: $38,036 per year
- Total Enrollment: 7,591
12. Georgetown University – Washington, DC
The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology at Georgetown offres five different master’s biology program options for graduate students. Degree offerings include biology and molecular biology, bioinformatics, biotechnology, physiology/ complementary and alternative medicine, and systems medicine. Students emerge from the biology master’s programs at Georgetown prepared to become an asset to any research, medical, or private scientific industry. The school’s close-knit community allows students to form close relationships with faculty members and classmates while also enjoying a solid nationwide alumni network.
- Tuition: $2,139 per credit hour
- Total Enrollment: 4,523
13. Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, Maryland
The master’s biology program at Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts & Sciences is a combined master’s program that allows students who will graduate from Johns Hopkins with their molecular/cellular biology or biology degree to earn their master’s degree in just one year. Students work closely with faculty through a specialized seminar. Master’s students also gain teaching experience by working as a lab teaching assistant, and they also complete an independent research project that results in a thesis at the end of the master’s program.
- Tuition: $59,350 per year
- Total Enrollment: 23,917
14. Drexel University – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Drexel’s master’s in biological sciences program provides students with a comprehensive education in molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology. In addition to these areas of studies, students are able to tailor their program to their personal interests in their second year of study, choosing from specialized advanced elective courses. This program allows students to choose from full- and part-time options. Students may also choose to complete a thesis during the course of the program, but it’s not a requirement for graduation.
- Tuition: $1,342 per credit hour
- Total Enrollment: 25,595
15. Michigan State University – East Lansing, Michigan
At Michigan State, students in the master’s in integrative biology program are matched with a faculty member with similar research interests. Students are closely mentored throughout the program, and can choose either to stick strictly to a biology education or to create a joint degree with another one of Michigan State’s graduate programs. At MSU, students get to tailor their education to their interests.
- Tuition: $786 per credit for in-state residents, $1,544 per credit for out-of-state residents
- Total Enrollment: 50,351
In order to rank the above schools, we considered many factors, including tuition, name recognition of school, student to faculty ratio, on-campus amenities, research accomplishments, program quality, and more. While the schools included here are ranked in descending order, all of the schools on this list will provide you with an excellent graduate education in biology.
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