Students with analytical and curious minds who are fascinated by the natural world may find online science degree programs fulfilling. Science majors tend to be very logical and consistent; they adopt the concept that an objective world exists, and they study that world in an effort to better explain why things exist and happen as they do. Those who are science-minded will find the wide variety of majors available in science very appealing. Some online degree programs in science include biology, geology, geophysics, fire science, forensic science, and physics.
Science professionals almost always possess a postsecondary degree because the majority of science professions require a bachelor’s or master’s degree; this makes online bachelor degree programs and online masters degree programs ideal for many students. Given the science field’s education requirement, it’s not surprising that the many science degrees are popular.
Biological sciences degrees ranked the fourth most popular major on the Princeton Review’s list of the Top 10 College Majors. From microbiology to botany, this major provides a range of courses teaching students the inner workings of living things. Next, a geology/geophysics major is popular with students who have a passion for the environment and a love for the great outdoors. Students in these majors study the physical makeup and history of the earth. Classes in geophysics incorporate quantitative study methods and explore fascinating topics like seismology (the study of earthquakes) and volcanology.
Majors in fire science offer students classes in disaster planning, fire protection services, and fire protection service administration. These classes are popular with students who seek leadership positions in firefighting or disaster preparedness/relief organizations. Another field, forensic science majors remain popular due to the glamorization of forensic scientist careers seen on TV shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Bones. Forensic science majors learn to utilize scientific methods to aid investigators in the solving of crimes and convicting of criminals.
The Online Science Degree Program Experience
Online degrees in science disciplines are unique when compared to other degrees because many science classes require labs to accompany and supplement their classes, especially for classes like biology, anatomy and physiology, and physics. Depending on the program, these labs are administered in "online labs," physical labs, or a combination of both. Physical labs are hands-on, and lab instructors/directors give students real laboratory experience by directing them in exercises like examining bacteria cultures under a microscope, dissecting various organisms to learn more about their internal structures, or studying DNA. When online science degree programs do require physical labs, they can be completed at a location convenient to students. Online labs typically entail digital representations or exercises that simulate physical labs. These labs are highly useful from both learning and application standpoints because many careers demand that candidates be thoroughly experienced with lab work.
Both online and physical labs allow students to develop their real-world writing skills, as courses require students to write lab reports. While effective writing skills are in demand in every occupation, it is especially important in a research laboratory, where accuracy is of the utmost importance.
Internships and projects for science degree programs are common. Some programs require students to complete internships in lab settings, while others do so in medical settings. Projects can range from making videos of complex physics demonstrations to dissecting plants. Advanced degrees often entail more complex projects. Many science master’s programs require students to complete a capstone project or thesis; meanwhile, the vast majority of online doctoral degree programs require students to complete a dissertation.
Online vs. Campus for Science Degree Programs
Accreditation and ranking statuses are what determine the best online degree programs from major universities. Accreditation is the process in the education field that separates high quality educational institutions from low quality ones; usually, simple research on a given school’s website will help you determine whether it is accredited or not. Meanwhile, there are several respected authorities, like U.S. News and World Report, that create ranking lists of the best universities and programs in the nation; this is a very helpful tool for students when they choose their online program and school.
When it comes to choosing between a traditional education and an online one, students should consider the pros and cons of each; the pros of a traditional education tend to be the cons of an online one. One pro of a traditional science degree program is that labs will almost always be in the physical form; physical labs are abundant in the science field, making lab experience an important component of a science education. Another is that, given the complexity of science disciplines, students can immediately have questions regarding complex topics answered.
On the other hand, science fields generally require their professionals to be independent workers; professionals often conduct and analyze research completely independently, thus making learning complex concepts through self-study a way for students to quickly adapt to working independently when starting their new careers. A second pro is that students already working in scientific fields can apply new concepts and techniques immediately after learning them, setting them apart from their peers and enabling them to progress to higher paying and ranking professional positions quickly.