Biology is an area of science focused on the study of living organisms, ranging from individual cells to entire ecosystems. The various aspects of life and living organisms that are covered in online biology degree programs include evolution, origin, structure, growth, function, taxonomy, and distribution. Since biology is so broad, students may choose to focus on a particular area, such as microbiology, cellular biology, human biology, or marine biology. Biologists can be found working in just about every industry, such as making advancements in medicine or developing procedures to reduce environmental effects of drilling for oil and gas. Biology degree programs online are offered at every level, each delving deeper into the study of biology and leading to new career opportunities as you advance.
Online Associate Degree Programs for Biology
An online associate degree program in biology is a good stepping stone for students interested in pursuing high-level degrees and careers in medicine, zoology, pharmacology, and more. It can typically be completed in around two years if you attend full time. These programs will require you to complete several hours of general education courses, such as history, mathematics, and English, in addition to your core biology courses. Your biology and other science courses will typically be at the introductory level. For example, the curriculum for the online associate of science in biology degree program at Darton College in Albany, Ga., includes Principles of Biology I and II, Introductory Physics I and II, and Principles of Chemistry I and II, in addition to numerous general education and elective courses.
Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Biology
An online bachelor’s degree program in biology is usually a four-year program for full-time students. However, if you have earned an associate degree from an accredited institution, you may be able to transfer your credits and significantly reduce the length of the program. Your bachelor’s degree program will include the introductory courses found in an associate degree program, as well as courses focusing on specific areas of biology. Some of these courses may cover topics in cellular biology, molecular biology, genetics, and ecology. You may also be able to choose electives that allow to you learn more about your particular area of interest, such as zoology, conservation biology, or environmental biology.
Online Master’s Degree Programs for Biology
Online master’s degree programs in biology can usually be completed by a full-time student in one to two years. However, a common prerequisite for a master’s program is a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related area from an accredited institution. In many cases, half of the courses will be electives that you choose, allowing you to concentrate on the area of biology that you would like to pursue. For example, the online master’s of biology degree program at the University of Nebraska Kearney requires you to complete a total of 36 credit hours. Of these, 18 hours are required courses, including Biological Research, Biological Perspectives, and Organic Evolution. The other 18 hours are chosen from a long list of elective courses, including Plant Pathology, Invasive Species Biology, Infectious Disease, and Fisheries Ecology.
Online Doctoral Degree Programs for Biology
It’s difficult to find online doctoral degree programs in biology, while many accredited institutions offer on-campus programs. Before you can enroll in a doctoral program, you must hold at least a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related area from an accredited university, and many programs require you to hold a master’s degree. On average, a biology doctoral degree program will last from two to four years for full-time students, depending on the program and the degree you currently hold. Many programs focus on a specific area, such as marine biology, biostatistics, or molecular biology, while some allow you to choose electives and direct your degree toward your area of interest.
Online Degree Programs in Biology in the Work Place
Completing an accredited online biology degree program can lead to a wide variety of careers. Many who earn a master’s or doctoral degree in biology will use it toward a career in education. Other career options include becoming a biochemist or biophysicist, who, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), earn a median annual income of $79,390 and are expected to see a 31% increase in employment through 2020. Environmental scientists earn a median annual salary of $61,700 a year and are expected to have a 19% increase in employment. Microbiologists earn a median annualsalary of $65,920 and are expected to see a 13% increase in employment. These are just a few examples of the career options available to a biology major. Keep in mind that what you earn and job availability will depend on several factors, such as the industry, your employer, location, and amount of professional experience.