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Best online biology degrees in 2022

With a biology degree, you're equipped to study, explore, and understand the living organisms that surround us all.
Written by Melissa Sartore, Contributor on

Biology is the study of life. A biology degree provides a comprehensive overview of the discipline and its various subsets. Earning a biology degree prepares you for further study and careers in botany, medicine, zoology, and beyond.

Biology professionals work across the economic landscape. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth in life, physical, and social science occupations, with more than 110,000 jobs added to the workforce by 2030. 

Positions for biology students include biology technicians, conservation scientists, and microbiologists, though many mid-level and specialized positions require additional schooling.

Though online biology degrees aren't common, we've rounded up the absolute best available for you below.

Top 3 online schools for biology

College

Program stats

How much?

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

  • BA in Biology
  • Acceptance rate: 37%
  • Graduation rate: 87%
  • Not designed for those interested in attending professional schools

Avg. annual net price: $6,302

Application fee: $30

Florida International University

Miami, FL

  • BA in Biology
  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Graduation rate: 64$
  • Courses include multiple labs

Avg. annual net price: $7,296

Application fee: $30

Life University

Marietta, GA

  • BS in Biology
  • Acceptance rate: 96%
  • Graduation rate: 46%
  • Preps students for entry into healthcare and science positions

Avg. annual net price: $30,857

Application fee: $50

The best online bachelor's in biology degrees

ZDNet's ranking methodology uses objective, publicly available data to offer insight into academic degrees. Our proprietary formula weighs cost, program reputation, student outcomes, and more to help you decide which biology degree is right for you.

Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, College Scorecard, and each program's website.

1. University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

About the program: UF's 120-credit online bachelor of arts in biology prepares students for careers in education, allied health, and other non-medical, dental, or veterinary professions.

  • Acceptance rate: 37%
  • Graduation rate: 87%
  • Avg. annual net price: $6,302
  • Time to completion:Four years
  • SAT: Minimum 1310
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Online, asynchronous

2. Florida International University

Miami, Florida

About the program: FIU's online bachelor of arts in biological sciences includes 120 credits of comprehensive coursework and is only open to first-year students. Courses include evolution, ecology, and multiple labs.

  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Graduation rate: 64$
  • Avg. annual net price: $7,296
  • Time to completion: Four years
  • SAT: Minimum 1110 
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Online, asynchronous

3. Life University

Marietta, Georgia

About the program: LIFE's online bachelor of science in biology prepares students core continued study in the discipline or for direct entry into healthcare and biological science professions. Students must earn 188 quarter-credit hours.

  • Acceptance rate: 96%
  • Graduation rate: 46%
  • Avg. annual net price: $30,857
  • Time to completion: Four years
  • SAT: Minimum 828
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Four
  • Course delivery method: Online, asynchronous

4. Logan University

Chesterfield, Missouri

About the program: Logan's 122-credit online bachelor of science in human biology includes accelerated options so students can complete basic science coursework in one academic year.

  • Acceptance rate: 67%
  • Graduation rate: 59%
  • Avg. annual net price: $13,518
  • Time to completion: Three
  • SAT: Minimum 980
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Online, asynchronous

What to expect in an online bachelor's in biology degree program

If you're asking, "What is a biology degree?" we can help. Biology curricula are designed to prepare students for a broad range of careers and continuing education opportunities. Students will benefit from curiosity and active participation in class as they tackle each new topic. 

A bachelor's degree in biology includes four years of coursework. Foundational classes and associated labs cover zoology, botany, ecology, and microbiology basics. These courses precede advanced coursework like organic evolution and biological research. 

Majors may also be required to take chemistry classes, including organic chemistry, which some students may find challenging. Bachelor's degrees may culminate in a capstone requirement. Learners should expect to complete extensive take-home work throughout the degree.

Bachelor's in biology courses

While individual programs vary in specific curricula, many core classes remain consistent across institutions. Introductory coursework accompanies labs and fieldwork requirements. 

Here are a few courses you're likely to encounter.

Fundamentals of botany

The fundamentals of botany introduces students to plants, how they reproduce, and how they function in their surroundings. Students also learn to identify plants, conduct experiments, and interpret results. 

Introduction to zoology

This course introduces learners to the study of animals and the animal kingdom. Learners explore the diversity of animal life, animal evolution, and the form and functions of animal systems.

Investigative biology

Emphasizing scientific methods and processes, this class covers biological research, communication, and scientific literacy. Learners develop critical thinking and analytical skills through projects, lab activities, and writing assignments. 

Ecology and the environment

Coursework in ecology focuses on the relationships among living organisms in the environment. Learners study population ecology, community ecology, and physiological ecology and how organisms' relationships make the planet inhabitable. 

Biology degree levels


Your personal interests and professional goals should inform which biology degree you pursue.

Undergraduate programs in biology prepare students for entry-level roles in the field, while graduate degrees provide opportunities for advanced positions in research, industry, and government settings. 

While not degrees, certificates in biology may supplement existing knowledge or introduce you to an entirely new field. 

Certificate in biology

Length: One year or less

Cost: $2,000-$5,000

Post-grad careers: Biology teacher, biology researcher, laboratory technician

Graduate certificates in biology focus on a specific topic within the discipline. Students may have opportunities to earn a certificate in fields such as genetics, zoology, or environmental biology. Certificates in biology typically include less than one year of coursework and laboratory requirements. 

These certificates may appeal to education professionals hoping to become biology teachers and others who hold a bachelor's degree in an area other than biology.

Associate in biology

Length: Two years

Cost: $4,000-$18,000

Post-grad careers: Laboratory technologist, veterinary technician, food science technician

Learners in an associate degree in biology explore basic biological principles and practices through introductory coursework. Students also take general education classes in English, social science, humanities, and mathematics. 

Lectures accompany laboratory requirements to prepare students for entry-level positions across the many subsets of biological science. Associate degree credits may transfer toward a bachelor's degree in biology or a related discipline.

Bachelor's in biology

Length: Four years

Cost: $9,000-$85,000

Post-grad careers: Wildlife biologist, biological scientist, biology teacher

A bachelor's degree in biology includes four years of general education, major, and elective coursework. Students tackle biology and its subfields through lectures, lab activities, and fieldwork experience.

Many biology bachelor's degrees allow students to choose a concentration. A concentration's focused coursework can help learners as they enter the workforce or continue studying in a niche subdiscipline. Graduates may continue their education with an advanced degree or a specialized program, such as medical school.

Master's in biology

Length: Two years

Cost: $12,000-$120,000

Post-grad careers: Biology researcher, botanist, biotechnician

Biology master's degrees span two years. Students build upon existing knowledge while developing advanced research and communication skills. 

Learners may choose a concentration such as biochemistry, plant biology, or computational biology. Master's degrees may include a thesis requirement based on library and laboratory research. 

With a master's degree in biology, individuals can move into senior positions in science-related fields. A master's degree also prepares learners for a doctoral program.

Doctorate in biology

Length: Three to five years

Cost: $18,000-$100,000

Post-grad careers: Biology professor, research scientist, natural science manager

Doctoral programs in biology integrate seminars, laboratory work, and research with coursework to prepare students to write a dissertation. As part of the preparation process, learners identify a field of study and work closely with faculty to produce a dissertation proposal. After requisite coursework, learners complete comprehensive exams to move onto the dissertation phase. 

In addition to conducting research, students may teach undergraduate courses. This experience benefits learners seeking positions in academic settings.

In conclusion

Biology is a vast discipline. As the study of life, biology provides information about living creatures and their environments and interactions. 

A biology degree opens opportunities to explore biology's many facets as a professional or student. If one of these biology degrees intrigues you, reach out to the school for more information.

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