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MS in Computational Biology: Salary & Jobs

Computational biology combines some of the natural sciences with statistics and computer science to analyze complex data. Learn about some of the jobs that may use a master's degree in computational biology.

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A Master of Science in Computational Biology can be applied to several scientific careers that involve biology, chemistry, statistics, computer science and more. The degree program gives students the necessary background in these areas to solve real problems in the field of biology. Below we discuss a handful of careers that can utilize a background in computational biology.

Related Careers for a Master of Science Degree in Computational Biology

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists $60,520 4%
Biochemists and Biophysicists $82,180 8%
Statisticians $80,500 34%
Microbiologists $66,850 4%
Natural Sciences Managers $119,850 3%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Descriptions

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

Zoologists and wildlife biologists usually need a master's degree for more advanced positions involved in research, and a background in computational biology could greatly help these scientists analyze large collections of data concerning topics like genetics from their research projects. These scientists typically focus their studies on a particular species or group of animals and may conduct their experiments out in the field. They may examine animal behavior, physical characteristics, social interactions and more in these animals, as well as study how humans have impacted some of these animals' habitats and ecosystems. Zoologists and wildlife biologists publish their findings in scientific papers and may apply their work to the conservation efforts of different species of animals.

Biochemists and Biophysicists

Biochemists and biophysicists with a master's degree are qualified for some entry-level positions and may use computational biology for some of their data analysis. Computational biology may be used to analyze some of the DNA sequences or other molecular data biochemists and biophysicists isolate as they study the chemical properties of biological processes. These scientists also examine how some substances, such as drugs, affect these biological processes, which could have implications for medicines and other treatments. Their work is recorded in detailed reports and scientific papers that are available to other scientists and interested parties.

Statisticians

Statisticians usually hold at least a master's degree, and a degree in computational biology could easily apply to statisticians who specialize in the biological sciences, since computational biology incorporates a variety of statistical methods. In general, statisticians solve actual problems in a wide array of fields, including biology, through statistical analysis of data. They may even help determine how best to collect the needed data, whether through experiments, surveys or other sources. Once they have analyzed and interpreted their data, they report their conclusions and apply their findings to possible solutions to a particular problem.

Microbiologists

Microbiologists need a master's degree for more advanced positions, and like biochemists and biophysicists, computational biology could be beneficial in analyzing some of the molecular data these scientists acquire. Microbiologists study various microorganisms, like parasites, fungi, bacteria and more, to learn how they grow and interact with various environments, including their effects on humans and the environment. These professionals may also use their laboratory and analysis skills to help diagnose illnesses for patients. Similar to other scientists, their work is often recorded in technical reports and scientific articles that are available to the scientific community.

Natural Sciences Managers

Natural sciences managers can work to their position after years of experience as a scientist and either hold a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree. These managers oversee teams of scientists to coordinate their efforts on a particular project, and a background in computational biology may prove beneficial when checking the accuracy of different sets of data analysis. Natural sciences managers are responsible for keeping a project within budget, progressing on time and communicating with the client about the status of the project. Some managers may need to hire their staff and then assist and evaluate their scientists and lab technicians to ensure that all procedures and policies are obeyed.

Computational biology requires extensive knowledge of the statistical analysis of biological data, and a master's degree program in the field can prepare graduates for several scientific and research-oriented careers. These careers are expected to have positive job growth in the future, and typically offer relatively high median salaries (greater than $60,000, per the BLS).

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