Masters Degree in Biology: Program Overviews

Learn about the program requirements and courses for a master's degree program in biology. Find out about specialization areas, some popular career choices and continuing education at the graduate level.

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Essential Information

In a master's program in biology, students can specialize in an interest area, such as molecular biology, evolutionary biology or immunology. Programs are available in both thesis and non-thesis formats. Thesis programs have vigorous research requirements and are geared towards students who will pursue Ph.D. degrees and/or research careers. Non-thesis programs may better suit pre-med or pre-dental students and those who are still exploring career goals.

Educational Prerequisites

A bachelor's degree in biology or a related area is typically necessary for admission consideration. In most cases, students must meet a set list of coursework requirements established by the graduate program to which they're applying. Graduate entrance exams, official transcripts showing a strong grade point average, letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose are usual requirements.

Course Topics

Research is a primary focus of biology thesis programs. Coursework supports the research which in turn leads to writing and defending the master's thesis. Programs may include presenting seminars and discussing seminars presented by others. A teaching practicum that includes assisting faculty in delivering undergraduate courses is a requirement for some programs. Courses may include:

  • Biostatistics
  • Cell biology
  • Ecology
  • Experiment design
  • Systematics
  • Thesis research

Popular Career Options

Biology students at the master's degree level have a wide variety of research and specialization opportunities that can lead to multiple career paths and professional areas of study. Graduates from these programs may work as:

  • Wildlife biologists
  • Zoologists
  • Marine biologists
  • Microbiologists
  • Biochemists or biophysicists

Continuing Education

Doctoral programs in biology offer further research opportunities for candidates. Conducting original research prepares students to work in medicine, industry and academia within biological systems ranging from mammals to microorganisms.

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Illinois (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Northwestern University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Bioinformatics
      • Botany
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      • General Biology
        • Science Technologies
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Minnesota (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Minnesota include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework, Diploma
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Bioinformatics
      • Botany
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      • General Biology
        • Science Technologies
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
      • Zoology
  • School locations:
    • Nevada (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Nevada include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • General Biology
        • Science Technologies
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      • General Biology
      • Genetics
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Bioinformatics
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      • General Biology
      • Genetics
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Bioinformatics
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      • General Biology
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Bioinformatics
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
      • General Biology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Botany
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • General Biology
      • Genetics
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Zoology

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