Best Colleges for a Biology Major: List of Schools

Read about some of the best colleges in the nation for biology majors. Obtain school rankings, program possibilities and location info, and compare similarities and differences to find the school for you.

School Information

Though they're located on opposite sides of the country, Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offer two of the best degree programs in biology. Biology majors at these universities can participate in classroom instruction and perform research in state-of-the-art campus laboratories. Students might be able to specialize in subjects like ecology and evolution, marine biology and biochemistry.

1. Stanford University in Stanford, CA

School Highlight: Biology majors at Stanford have a triage of avenues to gain a degree in this scientific area of study.

Biology majors at Stanford have their choice of three degree routes - general biology with or without honors or biology major with a field of study and honors. The general biology curriculum consists of courses in biology and core science principles, while the field of study option lets students focus on one of six areas of concentration. Students can enroll in biology courses once they've completed the first-year core requirements and prerequisites - as early as sophomore year.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA

School Highlight: MIT houses biology resources for students in the form of biology-related programs, like the Department of Biological Engineering and The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.

MIT's Department of Biology offers a Bachelor of Science in Biology, as well as a minor in biology for students who may be interested in other disciplines. Students within the department have access to 14 research programs, including those dealing with cancer, cloning, stem cells and cellular biology. Biology majors at MIT can choose between two programs: Course VII, which prepares students for careers in research, or Course VII-A, which is preparation for careers without laboratory research. Ph.D. programs are also available through specializations in areas like developmental biology, cell biology, biochemistry, immunology and neurobiology.

Top Biology Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Harvard University Harvard tied for first-place ranking on U.S. News & World Report's 2014 list of schools with the best biology programs Cambridge, MA
University of California-San Diego Biology programs in various areas of study, including Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology La Jolla, CA
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Students can join the Biology Student Alliance, the Society of Biology Students, the Neuroscience Students Association, and more Ann Arbor, MI
University of North Carolina The school's 56 research faculty members have several areas of strength, including cell biology, ecology, evolution and plant biology Chapel Hill, NC
University of Wisconsin-Madison The biology program offers three options: evolutionary biology, neurobiology and plant biology Madison, WI

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