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Graduate Program Options for Biology Undergrads
A bachelor's degree in biology is a broad program that can lead you into many different career fields and graduate programs. Once you have a clear understanding of biology, you can move into more specific fields looking at humans, animals, plants, and much more. Here, we'll take a look at some of the possible graduate programs you can consider with the bachelor's degree in biology.
Master of Science in Biology or Biological Sciences
The logical next step to keep your options open is a master's degree in biology or biological sciences. Again, with a master's in biology, you'll be able to seek many different career possibilities or continue your education on a narrower focus area. These programs often feature concentrations that students can choose from, such as molecular biology, cell biology or marine biology, among many others. The average length of these programs is about 30 credits, and your program completion time will vary depending on part-time or full-time enrollment. Courses you may find in this program include computational biology, gene regulation, cell biology, aging biology, animal biology, ecology, evolution, and molecular biology.
Master of Education with a Biology Focus
If you're interested in teaching secondary school students, you can begin your education with nearly any bachelor's degree program. A background in biology will begin your journey to undertaking a master's degree in biology education. These programs typically include about 10 courses that look at teaching methods, curriculum building, and filling any other course requirements your state's licensing board may require. In this program, you'll likely study courses such as child development, teaching science, literacy, curriculum planning, working with diverse students, and safe learning environments.
There is no actual program defined as pre-med; instead, students are urged to look into the life sciences, such as biology, chemistry, and physics. A bachelor's degree program in biology is one option for obtaining the background knowledge needed to continue on for a medical degree. While a medical degree is a terminal degree and on par with a doctorate, many colleges only ask for a bachelor's degree to enter a medical school program. Also, many colleges offer programs, such as 7-year programs, that include both the bachelor's degree and the medical degree for a seamless education. Along with clinical rotations, you'll spend a lot of time in classroom lectures and simulated labs. Some of the course topics you'll likely study include human development, genetics, human systems, nutrition, immunology, cell biology, neuroscience, and homestasis.
Master of Science in Computational Biology
This newer program looks at biology through a more clinical lens. You'll combine your biology understanding with computer sciences to use and improve the way scientists compile data. You'll study course topics such as biological modeling, programming for scientists, issues in computational biology, algorithms in biology, and genomics. The average length for this program will vary by college, but you can expect to take 3-4 semesters of full-time study to graduate. This program can prepare you to become a medical scientist.
Common Application Requirements
Since you'll have already completed your bachelor's degree in biology, you will not need to concern yourself so much with degree requirements for admission. Instead, you'll look at the college-specific requirements. Most schools use the same requirements, like an application and fee. For some colleges, the application fee can be waived due to hardship. Here are some other common requirements you'll come across on the admissions pages:
- College transcripts
- Personal statement or essay
- Letters of recommendation
- TOEFL or IELTS scores (for non-native English speakers)
- GRE scores
An undergraduate degree program in biology will prepare you for a vast number of graduate programs. In this article, we looked at just a few of the options that the generic biology bachelor's degree can open up for you. Along with typical courses, we also looked at common admission requirements needed for applying to grad school.