35 Best Master’s Degrees In Biology

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Best Master’s in Biology

If you love science and are fascinated by research and learning about how the living world functions, pursuing an education in biology might be the perfect next step for you. While a Bachelor of Science in Biology will get you started in your career path, a Master of Science in Biology will further your education and experience, qualifying you for more career options. 

With an MS in Biology, you can explore a variety of positions including working as a microbiologist, agricultural or food scientist, epidemiologist, or wildlife biologist. Additional career options include teaching science in a secondary school. If you decide to pursue your doctoral degree, then you’ll be qualified for even more career opportunities, including teaching at colleges and universities.

Earning your MS in Biology can be a worthwhile investment financially, too; according to PayScale, the average salary for professionals with an MS in Biology is $59,000. Keep in mind that the quality of the program that you attend can affect your job prospects and your preparation for the demands of a career in biology.

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Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

It’s important to find a program that meets and supports your specific career goals, like a desire to focus in a particular field or gain research experience within a specific area. It’s best to find a program where your faculty advisor specializes in the type of research that you’re passionate about since such arrangements offer valuable opportunities for hands-on research and guidance. If you’re considering earning a Masters for Biology, the following 35 Best Master’s Degrees in Biology is a great place to start.

Selection Criteria

Best Value Schools publishes college degree rankings with the belief of how one’s higher education should be, both, affordable and an investment of continued value for the students who pursue them. The staff of BVS collects data from reputable sources in order to calculate Net Price and the short and long-term value of every ranked degree. Collected data is simplified into weighted categories before scoring and then scaled through a BVS Score up to 100. The weighted categories are:

  • Degree Investment Return (25%)
  • Student & Alumni Evaluation (25%)
  • Cost Value (25%)
  • Matriculation (10%)
  • Academic Success (15%)

No matter what degree you decide on, we hope our research and support has made the selection process easier. There are numerous resources BVS utilizes to collect information on degrees, and we encourage you to check them out for yourself!

Here are the 35 Best Master’s Degrees in Biology for 2020!
  1. Stanford University
    Location

    Stanford, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Stanford University's Master of Science in Biology provides both general or specialized studies. Undergraduate science majors may seek this degree to obtain research experience. It is recommended that program applicants have taken courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Degree candidates must complete 45-course units, with a minimum of 23 of those units being courses for graduate students. Students work with a department advisor to design an individualized program of study. No thesis is required during this program.

    Founded in 1891, Stanford is home to over 16,000 students today. More than 11,000 students live on campus, housed in 81 residencies. Stanford students can also participate in the 625 student groups offered at the University. All Stanford community members are engaged in research, and the University has a $1.6 billion annual research budget. With 18 research facilities and 20 libraries housing over 9.5 million text volumes, Stanford students have access to extensive resources.

  2. University of California-Irvine
    Location

    Irvine, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of California, Irvine offers a Master of Science in Biotechnology degree that teaches students how to apply biological science, chemistry, and chemical engineering knowledge to solve challenges within medicine, agriculture, and chemical manufacturing. This degree features seven areas of interest, including structure and biosynthesis of proteins, animal and microbial cell structure, product development and marketing, and research. Program applicants should already have a BS degree.

    Founded in 1965, UCI has an enrollment of 36,000 students today and is home to over 180,000 alumni. This public university offers 82 majors and 75 minors and is home to the UCI Medical Center, one of the best hospitals in the country. Sierra Magazine has recognized UCI as a Top 10 Cool School for nine years, and the U.S. News & World Report ranks UCI at No. 7 for Best Public University in the country. Additionally, Money Magazine ranked UCI as the third Best College in the country.

  3. University of California-Los Angeles
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At the University of California, Los Angeles, students who hold dental degrees can enroll in the Masters of Science in Oral Biology program to pursue additional research opportunities. This two-year program consists of 36 credits, 29 of which are core courses. Approximately 12-15 students are admitted to the program each year. During the first year of the program, students focus on coursework and lab rotations before working on a thesis during the program's second year.

    UCLA was founded in 1919, and it receives more applications than any other university in the country. The University received over 100,000 freshman applications for the fall of 2017, and in the fall of 2016, over 60% of admitted freshman had GPAs of 4.3 and higher. UCLA offers over 215 different degree combinations and nearly 150 graduate degrees, in total. UCLA also has a vibrant research program, with an average of $1 billion in research grants and contracts awarded each year.

  4. University of California-Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of California Berkeley admits Integrative Biology students only to its Ph.D. program, but in certain instances, students can earn a Master's Degree in Integrative Biology. Students can earn a Master's degree while progressing toward the completion of their Ph.D. Sometimes students may change their career plans while partway through the Ph.D. program and may decide to leave the program with their Master's degree. There are two plans which allow students leaving the program to earn their Master's degree, one of which requires that the student write a thesis.

    UC Berkeley was founded in 1868. Today, the University features 184 departments and programs and offers a 17.8:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Among UC Berkeley's current faculty are faculty who hold eight Nobel Prizes. These faculty help the University to deliver over 350 different degree programs to over 30,000 undergraduate and 11,000 graduate students. In 2018, the U.S. News & World Report recognized UC Berkeley as the fourth best university in the world. Kiplinger also ranked the University as one of the top five public colleges providing the best value.

  5. Rutgers University-Newark
    Location

    Newark, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Rutgers University - Newark's Biology, Master of Science degree offers students valuable training and research opportunities. The degree program prepares students for careers in the biomedical, ecological, and evolutionary sciences. Students may choose from three tracks: Cell and Molecular Biology, Ecology and Evolution, and Neurobiology. During their study, students will develop knowledge of, both foundational and advanced scientific concepts. Additionally, students will develop analytical skills and will learn how to examine the evidence critically.

    Rutgers was established in 1766 and is the eighth oldest university in the country. Over 70,000 students from all 50 states attend Rutgers, including over 19,000 graduate students. More than 500,000 Rutgers alumni live in all 50 states, as well as on six continents. At Rutgers, students can explore more than 150 undergraduate degrees and over 400 graduate degrees. Rutgers is home to almost 300 research centers and institutes, and with $610.9 million in sponsored research grants annually, the University brings in more federal research dollars each year than all other New Jersey colleges and universities, combined.

  6. Texas A & M University-College Station
    Location

    College Station, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At Texas A&M University, the Master of Science in Biology is available in either a thesis or non-thesis option. Students work with an advisory committee to develop a degree plan. If students opt for the thesis plan, they must complete at least 32 semester hours of coursework. The non-thesis plan requires at least 36 semester hours of coursework, and final comprehensive examinations may also be required. The Master of Science in Biology degree program has a residency requirement, and students may complete either nine residential credits a semester, or attend a 10-week summer resident study semester.

    Founded in 1876, Texas A&M features a main campus in College Station, as well as branch campuses in Galveston and Qatar. Over 64,000 students attend the College Station campus where they may choose from 125 undergraduate, 200 master's, 100 doctoral, and five professional degree programs. Money Magazine recognized Texas A&M as the top public university in Texas for Best Value. In 2018, the Fiske Guide to Colleges ranked the University as the No. 1 Best National Public University for providing superior education at an affordable price.

  7. University of Illinois at Chicago
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Illinois usually only admits program applicants who plan to be Ph.D. candidates, but applicants are considered on an individual basis and, in unusual circumstances, students may be admitted to the Master of Science in Biological Sciences degree. This degree is available with a research or course work track, and, both, tracks require a minimum of 32 semester hours. Students in the research track will complete a dissertation, and students in the course work track will complete a project. Both tracks require students to complete a comprehensive final examination.

    UIC is a public research university that consists of 15 colleges, and in addition to its Chicago campus, the University has schools in Peoria, Quad Cities, Rockford, Springfield, and Urbana. The University offers 87 bachelor's, 101 master's, and 65 doctoral degrees, as well as 53 certificate programs. Eighty-eight percent of UIC's full-time faculty hold a Ph.D. or equivalent. With an enrollment of 31,000 students, UIC is the largest institution in the Chicago area. The U.S. News & World Report ranked UIC at No. 129 for its 2019 ranking of Best National Universities.

  8. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
    Location

    Minneapolis, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Minnesota's Master of Biological Sciences degree that is designed to accommodate the needs of working adults. Students can opt to pursue a plan that incorporates a research project, or may choose a plan that focuses on coursework only. Students also have the ability to tailor their program toward their professional goals. This program's multidisciplinary approach means students may take courses offered by various university colleges, including the Academic Health Center, the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences, and more. Admission to this degree program is competitive.

    In Fall of 2017, the University of Minnesota educated over 31,000 undergraduate and 16,000 graduate and professional students. Among the University's 3,900 faculty are recipients of Guggenheim Fellowships, Nobel Prizes, and MacArthur Fellowships. University of Minnesota students may participate in the University's 900 student organizations or may try out for the 23 varsity athletic teams. Over 3,400 university students are active in Greek life, and the student body includes 7,197 international students. The University of Minnesota also offers plenty of study abroad opportunities, and 3,682 students currently study abroad.

  9. University of Virginia-Main Campus
    Location

    Charlottesville, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At the University of Virginia, students may pursue a Master of Arts or Master of Science in Biology degree. This Master of Science/Art degree prepares students for research careers or careers in secondary education, science policy, conservation, and law. The program can be completed in about 2.5 years, but students must complete all degree requirements within five years. The program requires 30 credits of graduate-level coursework, including four graded lecture or laboratory courses. Students must also successfully defend a thesis. Students who are pursuing an MS degree will write a dissertation based on independent laboratory research, while students in the MA program will base their thesis around independent research.

    The University of Virginia's Medical Center is a 602-bed facility employing 12,000 employees, and the University itself employs an additional 18,000 people. The Princeton Review ranked the University of Virginia as the No. 1 Best Value Public College for 2018, and the U.S. News & World Report ranked the University at No. 3 for Best Public National Universities. Over 16,000 undergraduate and 6,700 graduate students attend the University of Virginia.

  10. CUNY Brooklyn College
    Location

    Brooklyn, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Brooklyn College Master of Art in Biology prepares students for careers in academia, in laboratory work, and even in pharmaceutical companies or the biotechnology field. This comprehensive program includes lectures, seminars, and possibly laboratory work or fieldwork to give students a well-rounded education. Students may also conduct thesis research in the college's laboratories. This degree offers biology teachers training at the master's level, and program graduates are prepared to teach at the college level and pursue their doctorate.

    Brooklyn College consists of five schools and offers 83 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs. The college also provides a variety of certificate and advanced certificate programs. As of Fall 2018, more than 18,000 students were enrolled at Brooklyn College, including 3,183 graduate students. In 2019, Forbes recognized the college as one of the 100 best value colleges in the country. The U.S. News & World Report awarded Brooklyn College the title of the No. 1 for diverse U.S. colleges in the North, and The Princeton Review ranked the college as one of the Best Value Colleges in the United States for 2019.

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