Online Biomedical Degrees by Program Level

Essential Information

The field of biomedicine, which involves applying the principles of biology and physiology to the study of medicine, is broad, with many types of degree programs available at all levels. This article looks at a bachelor's degree program in biomedical science and a master's degree program in biomedical informatics. While many courses are available online, both programs may require some in-person work, either in the classroom or through clinical practice and lab work. To be admitted into a master's program, students may be required to have some prior work experience or to be currently employed in the field.

Some fully online master's degree programs in related biomedical fields also exist. These options include online Master of Science programs in biomedical diagnostics or biomedical engineering, or an online Master of Engineering program in biomedical engineering.

Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Science

Online bachelor's degree programs in biomedical science are for students interested in spending as much time in the lab as they do in the classroom. Applicants for some schools will need to have completed their associate's degrees before being eligible for upper-level coursework.

Course Requirements

Online biomedical science degrees are actually hybrid programs that allow students to take some prerequisite or introductory statistics and biology classes online. Quizzes, exams, assignments and other course materials are typically delivered through a course management system like Blackboard. The remaining program requirements must be completed on campus.

List of Biomedical Science Courses

The courses described below are some of the more common online offerings in a biomedical science bachelor's degree program.

Cell Biology

This course introduces students to the life cycle of a cell. Topics of study include its genetic makeup, membrane structure and metabolism. Cellular reproduction is also discussed.

Anatomy and Physiology

Students examine the body's respiratory, nervous, endocrine, and reproductive systems. Some courses also pay special attention to how the skeletal and muscular systems enable movement.

Molecular Genetics

Through the discussion of such topics as gene structure, DNA recombination, and mutation, students examine how genetic traits are passed from one generation to the next. Students may also explore genetic engineering and other related topics.

Master's Degree in Biomedical Informatics

Students pursuing online biomedical informatics master's degrees learn how information technology can be used to improve healthcare delivery systems. These programs are for students with bachelor's degrees and relevant work experience. Some programs even go so far as to limit admissions to applicants who are already employed and experienced in the field. Students will need to be familiar not only with biology and physiology, but also with math, statistics, and computer science to complete these programs' curricula.

Course Requirements

Biomedical informatics programs requiring employment for admission can be offered on a part-time basis and take 3-5 years to compete. These programs' coursework might be available entirely online. Other programs could require students to complete practicums and other course components on campus.

To complete some programs' computer science courses, students will need access to special programming environments, such as Visual Studio C++ or XCode. They might also need to download development software, such as Eclipse and Java Runtime Environment.

List of Biomedical Informatics Courses

The course descriptions below describe courses commonly required in master's degree programs.

Translational Bioinformatics

This course discusses methods for analyzing and interpreting biological information in ways that make it both useful and accessible to end users. Students might examine such topics as microarray data, genome-scale measurements, and proteomics.

Programming Methods

Students use their knowledge of the Java programming language to design and develop software applications. Topics of study include object-oriented design, encapsulation, and testing.

Healthcare Database Systems

Course topics familiarize students with SQL (Structured Query Language) as well as Access and Oracle database management systems. Students also learn how to design and test these database systems for the purposes of warehousing medical data and managing Web content.

Healthcare Information Security

Students examine ways network design and encryption can be used to protect sensitive medical information. They also study policies in place to prevent security breaches and methods for responding to a breach should one occur.

Career Information

These programs prepare graduates for health science research careers.

Continuing Education Information

Students who complete a bachelor's degree in biomedical science are prepared for graduate study in professional programs.

The biomedical field is extremely broad, and fully online or hybrid programs can be found in fields like biomedical diagnostics, biomedical engineering, biomedical science and biomedical informatics. Fully online programs are more common at the master's degree level, since bachelor's-level programs may require substantial on-campus lab courses.

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