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Best Colleges for Biology in the U.S.

Biology is the field of study that deals with living organisms as they relate to their environment. Many specialties in biology exist including marine biology, microbiology, plant biology and evolutionary biology. Read on to learn more about the top-rated colleges for biology.

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Top Biology Colleges in the United States

1. Stanford University in Stanford, CA

According to the Washington Monthly, Stanford awarded 503 Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in the science and engineering fields, as of 2010. In 2011, U.S. News and World Report ranked Stanford number one for the best biological sciences programs.

The Department of Biology at Stanford has four areas of research and study. They include molecular biology, cell biology, developmental biology and genetics; population and evolutionary biology and ecology; plant biology and marine biology. There are also three different degrees available for biology students including a Bachelor of Science (B.S.), a coterminal Master of Science/Bachelor of Science and a Ph.D. program.

2. Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

Harvard is one of the Ivy League schools known for both its strong graduate and undergraduate degree programs. Degrees in biology are separated into six distinct disciplines, which include chemical and physical biology, developmental and regenerative biology, molecular and cellular biology, organismic and evolutionary biology, human evolutionary biology and neurobiology. Harvard University was ranked second by U.S. News and World Report in its list of biological science schools in 2011.

3. University of California - Berkeley

The University of California - Berkeley (UC - Berkeley) boasts Nobel laureate's faculty members and the National Research Council (NRC) announced that it had the highest number of top-ranked graduate programs in the nation. Included in this ranking are UC - Berkeley's biology departments, which U.S. News and World Report ranked at second, tying with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011.

The undergraduate biology degrees are spread out across different colleges within UC - Berkeley, with molecular and cell biology and integrative biology being in the College of Letters and Science, while environmental biology, genetics and plant biology, as well as microbial biology reside in the College of Natural Resources. In addition, the College of Chemistry offers a degree in chemical biology, thus making the breadth of study in the biological sciences quite diverse. There are many more areas of study in the graduate program, which also includes fields such as genomic biology, nanoscale science and engineering.

List of Ten Reputable Biology Schools

School Name Distinction Location
University of California - Berkeley Unique designated emphases for graduate study Berkeley, CA
Harvard University Offers six different disciplines of study in biology Cambridge, MA
Johns Hopkins University Offers a summer research program for undergraduates called BioREU Baltimore, MD
Stanford University Recently, ranked at number one in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report Stanford, CA
Washington University in Saint Louis Has a strong plant biology field due to its Goldfarb Facility and affiliations with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Saint Louis, MO
Yale University Six special programs in biology including a physical and engineering biology program and a chemical biology training program New Haven, CT
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Four Nobel laureates on faculty Cambridge, MA
Princeton University Graduate students in biology can easily focus on more than one of the four disciplines offered Princeton, NJ
University of California - San Francisco Has the Tetrad Program for biology graduate students San Francisco, CA
California Institute of Technology Ongoing research that has produced significant results in many areas of biology, including cancer treatment Pasadena, CA
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