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Best Bachelor's Degrees in Biology

Apr 29, 2021

What is a Biology Bachelor Degree?

Biology is the study of life and can be applied to a wide range of fields and also contains an array of subfields. A bachelor's in biology degree prepares someone for a career with a scientific angle, particularly one involving living things, such as animals, medicine, or the environment. Many different fields of study fall under the heading of biology, including ecology, zoology, molecular biology, astrobiology, biophysics, and animal science. All of these subfields focus on specific aspects of living things and a biology degree can provide students an overview of these different areas and/or allow them to focus in a specific specialization.

Biology is a rapidly changing field with many exciting opportunities for researchers and technicians. Whether making new discoveries or developing the next vaccine or cancer therapy, biologists are critical contributors to society.

The Best Bachelor Degree Programs in Biology

To come up with an authoritative list of the best colleges and universities for a bachelor's degree in biology, Study.com compiled and analyzed data from the Department of Education such as tuition costs, retention rates, and graduation rates. Affordability and accessibility were some of the key determining factors in our evaluation, so we considered the cost-effectiveness of the program as well as the scholarships that are available to biology majors. We also assessed the quality of learning facilities, resources to support undergraduate research, access to internships and hands-on experiences, and the qualifications of faculty members. Students who aim to pursue a career in the biological sciences or who are looking for a good pre-health professional degree should consider the programs offered by these schools.

1. Xavier University of Louisiana

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$25,055 60% 51% 98% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans offers a Bachelor of Science in Biology that prepares students for biological and health professional schools. A Bachelor of Arts in Biology program is also available for students who aim to venture into other disciplines like pre-law, technical writing, or business. To make students more competitive in applying to medical schools, the university has created an innovative curriculum that includes more research-oriented courses, engaging class sessions, and interdisciplinary coursework. The university is known as the country's top producer of African American biology graduates, and its grads have secured slots at prestigious graduate schools such as Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and Johns Hopkins.

2. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,115 70% 76% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry features two programs: a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology, with dynamic curriculums that students can tailor to their academic interests. For their field studies and hands-on training, students have access to the Adirondack Ecological Center, a sprawling research station that can accommodate a wide range of projects, from wildlife restoration to the impact of acid rain on lakes and soils. The school's state-of-the-art biology department building houses a herbarium and temperature-controlled laboratories equipped with sophisticated equipment such as an automated DNA sequencer and gas-liquid chromatography.

3. University of California-Merced

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13,538 72% 69% 93% No Yes AP Credits

University of California-Merced's Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences provides five concentration options including developmental biology, microbiology and immunology, and human biology. The school is recognized as a top institution for undergraduate research, with 77 percent of students engaged in research projects on a broad range of topics such as neuroscience, mathematical biology, infectious diseases, and biochemistry. Students can take advantage of the university's cutting-edge research resources like the stem cell instrumentation foundry, imaging and microscopy facility, and the environmental analytical laboratory.

4. University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,148 84% 34% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

The Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg in Pennsylvania highlights courses in epidemiology, environmental health, medicinal chemistry, and ecology. To make the program accessible to more students, the university established the Science Learning Community Scholarship Program, which awards up to $10,000 per year for four years to academically qualified students. Biology majors can also garner the coveted Fred Campana awards for excellence in their coursework and for producing impressive research projects.

5. St. Mary's College of Maryland

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$15,124 84% 77% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

St. Mary's College of Maryland offers a Bachelor of Science in Biology program that features specialized courses in virology, cancer cell biology, molecular evolution, and ecology of coastal systems. To ensure the top quality of academic training and provide students with personalized guidance, the college keeps classes and lab sessions small, maintaining an impressive student-faculty ratio of 10:1. Through the school's study abroad program, students have the opportunity to take courses in Australia near tropical rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef or study tropical biology while traveling across Belize.

6. University of Minnesota-Morris

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13,578 57% 58% 98% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

The Bachelor of Science in Biology program at the University of Minnesota-Morris provides concentrations in environmental, cellular/molecular, and pre-med as well as a wide selection of specialty electives. The school runs research programs like the Morris Academic Partners and the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, which enables qualified students to work on research projects and receive a stipend of up to $2,000. Biology majors can also earn hands-on experiences through internships at agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

7. Alcorn State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,290 58% 41% 88% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Located in Lorman, Mississippi, Alcorn State University features a Bachelor of Science in Biology program with comprehensive specialization options including health science, physical therapy, molecular biology, and pre-nursing. Each concentration has a dedicated academic advisor who can help students plan their coursework and achieve their academic goals. Biology majors can qualify for the university's renowned honors program, which provides a plethora of benefits including access to scholarships and internships, study abroad opportunities, and specialized courses to enhance the students' learning experience.

8. Christopher Newport University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,924 72% 78% 75% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia offers a broad selection of biology programs including a Bachelor of Science in Biology with unique concentrations in organismal, environmental, and integrative biology; another Bachelor of Science degree focusing on cellular, molecular, and physiological biology; and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology with a more flexible elective coursework. The university maintains a robust undergraduate research program where students can do either field-based research or lab-based work in a variety of topics including nano chemistry, cell migration, microbes, and environmental chemistry. Students can also expand their learning experience through study abroad programs, which take biology majors to Central and South America and the Caribbean to explore areas of study like island biology and tropical ecology.

9. Dillard University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$19,281 39% 51% 100% Yes Yes AP Credits

Dillard University's highly ranked Bachelor of Science in Biology program provides a solid foundation in the natural and biological sciences with robust courses in organic chemistry, physics, microbiology, and genetics. Through the school's partnerships with Boston University, Texas Chiropractic College, and New York College of Podiatric Medicine, students can get a head start on pursuing their health professional degrees while completing their biology program. As a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in New Orleans, Louisiana, the school strives to make STEM programs accessible to students through the LS-LAMP initiative, which provides a stipend, mentoring and tutoring services, summer fellowships, and other support for minority students.

10. Southern Virginia University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$17,280 98% 31% 100% Yes Yes AP Credits

The Bachelor of Arts in Biology program at Southern Virginia University provides expansive academic training in the life sciences, with a broad selection of courses including medical entomology, endocrinology, parasitology, and human physiology. Located in Buena Vista, Virginia, the school keeps class sizes small (around 15 students on average) to encourage better class engagement and enable faculty members to provide personalized mentoring to each student. The university takes pride in having the highest placement rate in the state, with 93 percent of its graduates securing employment or pursuing graduate studies in pre-med, pre-dental, and other health professional programs.

11. SUNY College at Geneseo

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,927 65% 80% 84% Yes Yes AP Credits

The State University of New York College at Geneseo offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Biology as well as a BA in Biology and General Science for students who plan to become high school biology teachers. The university also has a rigorous honors program that enables academically competitive students to produce and present a scientific research project under the guidance of a biology faculty member. Biology majors have access to top-notch educational resources including an arboretum, greenhouse, and a 600-acre research reserve that covers a mix of agricultural and natural areas.

12. University of California-Santa Cruz

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13,991 51% 75% 70% Yes Yes AP Credits

At the University of California-Santa Cruz, students can choose to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Biology and focus on ecology, evolutionary biology, and other topics related to biodiversity and scientific research. Meanwhile, the Bachelor of Arts in Biology program provides a more flexible path that allows students to earn a double major or design their own area of emphasis. To foster the pursuit of original research work, the university provides grants of up to $3,500 for qualified undergraduate research proposals. Biology majors can also apply for the Kathryn D. Sullivan Scholarship Award in Earth & Marine Sciences, which gives $3,000 for field research, participation in scientific conferences, and other academic development activities.

13. University of California-San Diego

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,415 31% 87% 63% Yes Yes AP Credits

The University of California-San Diego features a number of Bachelor of Science degrees in biological sciences including general biology, human biology, and biology with bioinformatics specialization. The school provides plenty of study abroad options for biology majors including summer and year-long classes, internships, and volunteer programs. To broaden future employment opportunities for biology students, the university's dedicated Industry Engagement Team works with major companies such as Pfizer, Qualcomm, Google, and Northrop Grumman to get them involved in career and internship fairs, interview sessions, and other networking initiatives.

14. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,127 73% 69% 78% Yes Yes AP Credits

The biology program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, available as BA and BS degrees, provides a variety of concentration options including plant and fungal biology, biomedical science, and environmental science. The school also offers a unique dual degree program that allows students to complete their biology coursework in three years and then earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in 34 months. Known for its exceptional faculty roster, the university's biology department has earned the UW System Regents Teaching Excellence Award, and several faculty members have been recognized as Wisconsin State Professors of the Year.

15. Francis Marion University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,160 68% 44% 100% Yes Yes AP Credits

Florence, South Carolina's Francis Marion University offers both a BA and a BS in Biology, with options to specialize in environmental science, medical technology, and secondary education. To introduce students to high-level scientific research, the school organizes the Science Symposium seminar series that features experienced scientists and academics in various disciplines. Biology majors can start building their professional networks by joining student organizations such as the Biology Club, Tri-Beta honor society for biology, and Ars Medica for those interested in healthcare professions.

16. University of Maryland-Baltimore County

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,028 61% 71% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

The University of Maryland-Baltimore County designed its Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences program for students who want to focus on intensive research and go into advanced studies in biology and health sciences. Meanwhile, the Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences is suited for students who want to pursue health-related careers like medicine and dentistry or explore other disciplines such as business or law. Through the Biology Learning Center, biology majors who need help in their coursework can gain access to free peer tutoring services for their core courses as well as for a lot of biology electives. The biology department also provides cutting-edge equipment and facilities including a DNA sequencing lab, three plant growth chambers, and an NIH-approved animal facility.

17. Ave Maria University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$21,854 85% 58% 100% Yes Yes AP Credits

Ave Maria University offers a BA and a BS in Biology that delivers well-designed curriculums with a strong liberal arts foundation and a broad selection of courses including environmental science, health and wellness, exercise physiology, and marine biology. Classes and lab sessions are taught by accomplished faculty members who hold PhDs and lead active research labs in a variety of biological science fields. The campus in Ave Maria, Florida is home to a number of student organizations for biology majors such as the Biology Club, Ave Maria Pre-Dental Society, and the Tri-Beta National Biological Honors Society for high-achieving students.

18. University of South Carolina Beaufort

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,730 63% 31% 93% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

The University of South Carolina Beaufort features a Bachelor of Science in Biology program with concentrations in coastal ecology and conservation, and biomedical sciences. Students in the coastal ecology track can get involved in projects aboard the research vessel Vagabond or work with local organizations such as Waddell Mariculture Center and Nemours Plantation. Meanwhile, students in the biomedical sciences concentration can enrich their research experience by collaborating with other universities such as the Brazilian Biosciences National Laboratory and North Carolina State University. The school maintains a competitive honors program that brings qualified biology majors into a residential cohort and provides a grant of $2,000 per year for all four years of study.

19. Spelman College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$29,972 43% 75% 97% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Known as one of the country's top contributors of African-American students to medical schools, the Bachelor of Science in Biology program at Spelman College highlights courses in cellular, organismal, population, and molecular biology. Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the college maintains state-of-the-art facilities for scientific research including an imaging lab, microbiology lab, tissue culture lab, and chemical prep and autoclave rooms. Aside from on-campus research work, students can explore learning opportunities through study abroad programs that take them to Australia, Japan, Ghana, South Africa, and many other countries where they can take part in projects like conducting marine biology studies, building hospitals and safe water facilities, and pursuing research in maternal health.

20. Drury University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$29,515 64% 58% 100% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

BA and BS in Biology programs are offered at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, with curriculums that feature a comprehensive list of electives including epidemiology, medical botany, and immunology. To foster excellence in research work, the school hosts the Science Undergraduate Research Symposium, which recognizes the best student research projects among biology majors and other natural science disciplines. All faculty members of the biology department have earned doctoral degrees in their area of expertise and have completed fellowships at prestigious institutions like Stanford University and the National Institutes of Health.

21. Birmingham-Southern College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18,241 54% 69% 97% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama offers a Bachelor of Science in Biology program that prepares students for promising careers in healthcare, research, and education among other fields. The program stands out for its robust mentorship program, which connects students to a dedicated faculty mentor who will work closely with them as they complete their capstone research project over two semesters. Biology majors can also better secure acceptance to graduate schools through the college's partnerships with health professional institutions such as the Vanderbilt School of Nursing and the Alabama Medical Education Consortium.

22. University of California-Riverside

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13,853 57% 76% 85% Yes Yes AP Credits

At the University of California-Riverside, students can choose between a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Biology; the former requires foreign language courses while the latter is more focused on substantive topics in biology. The university manages four major and four minor natural reserves across the state, providing students with about 28,000 acres of diverse ecosystems that serve as their outdoor laboratory. The school also hosts weekly seminars that expose students to a broad selection of topics in biology and allow them to learn firsthand from expert researchers and academics.

23. University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$3,490 85% 41% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

The Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke features extensive emphasis options including biotechnology, biomedicine, and agricultural science. The university runs the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement, an exceptional program that extends support, training, and mentorship to science students from minority groups. Qualified biology majors can also benefit from the generous COMPASS Scholarship Program, which awards $6,000 per year and also provides research stipends, personalized mentoring, and resources for career development.

24. Humboldt State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,864 92% 49% 83% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Humboldt State University's top-notch Bachelor of Science in Biology program provides concentrations in six areas including marine biology, microbiology, ecology, and science education. The campus in Arcata, California is home to state-of-the-art facilities such as the biotechnology lab, algal culture facility, vascular plant herbarium with 105,000 plant specimens, and an 11,500-square-foot greenhouse. To help students undertake advanced research projects, the school provides cutting-edge specialized equipment such as the transmission electron microscope, microCT scanner, and a 90-foot ocean-going research vessel with two laboratories.

25. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,132 80% 46% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

Students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley's campuses in Edinburg and Brownsville. The unique program provides students with options to take a minor in another discipline or complete a teacher certification with an emphasis in life sciences. Biology majors can choose from an extensive array of research areas to get involved in such as molecular neurobiology, behavioral ecology, developmental entomology, and food microbiology. They can also take part in research projects under the university's cooperative program with the USDA, which allows them to gain valuable lab experience and work with their peers in various cohort activities.

26. Virginia Military Institute

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$19,118 60% 79% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

Virginia Military Institute in Lexington offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Biology with options to specialize in either biochemistry and molecular biology or ecology, conservation, and organismal science. To train students in the best research techniques and practices, the curriculum includes a summer scholars program that enables biology majors to work on a three-month, in-depth research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The school provides students with coveted opportunities for early acceptance in medical schools by maintaining articulation agreements with several institutions such as Eastern Virginia Medical School and Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.

27. Western Colorado University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,437 84% 51% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

Western Colorado University's Bachelor of Science in Biology program allows students to design their own specialization while exploring various areas of study such as botany, molecular ecology, integrative biology, and zoology. Located in Gunnison, Colorado, the campus is fairly close to the world-renowned Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, where students can work as interns and learn first-hand from accomplished scientists and researchers. Biology majors can also get started on their own research projects at the Thornton Biology Research Program, which provides grants of up to $3,000 as well as additional financial support for supplies, equipment, and travel expenses.

28. University of Pittsburgh-Bradford

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,158 73% 40% 98% Yes Yes AP Credits

The University of Pittsburgh-Bradford in Pennsylvania features a Bachelor of Science in Biology program with opportunities for students to earn a minor or gain exposure to other fields of study such as environmental studies, chemistry, and exercise science. Biology majors can acquire essential hands-on experience through field courses in wildlife biology at Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology, and environmental explorations at Allegheny National Forest and neighboring aquatic habitats. Students who plan to go into medicine, dentistry, and optometry can take advantage of the university's 3+4 programs with its graduate schools, saving them one year of undergraduate study and tuition costs.

29. Young Harris College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$29,367 65% 42% 99% Yes Yes AP Credits

The Bachelor of Science in Biology program at Young Harris College in Georgia highlights core courses in conservation biology, biological research, and ecology in its curriculum. To showcase the outstanding research projects of students, the college holds an annual Undergraduate Research Day event where biology majors can present their work to faculty and students from other disciplines. Students can also get involved in special initiatives like the YHC Beekeeping Institute, which provides training on beekeeping, and the YHC Hemlock Project, a volunteer organization that works with the USDA Forest Service and the Georgia Forestry Commission to mitigate the infestation of a destructive parasite.

30. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,064 44% 33% 98% Yes Yes AP Credits

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff offers two tracks in its Bachelor of Science in Biology program: a non-teaching degree that equips students for careers in research as well as graduate and health professional studies, and a science education degree for those who want to pursue a teaching career at the high school level. To encourage interest and diversity in science, math, and engineering fields, the university launched an innovative program called STEM Academy, which provides mentoring, networking, team-building, and other support initiatives for first-year STEM students including biology majors. Students can also expand their networks by joining relevant student organizations such as the Minority Association of Pre-Health Studies and the Tau Iota Mu honor society for biology.

31. Ouachita Baptist University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$27,900 61% 63% 99% Yes Yes AP Credits

At Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, students can choose to earn either a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Biology, with the latter providing a field emphasis or a teaching emphasis. Research is extensively integrated into the curriculum as early as the freshman year; first-year students start by discovering novel mycobacteriophages and steadily progress to conducting experiments on mutant plants. To further enhance the students' hands-on training, the program involves a lot of field courses such as studying tropical ecosystems in Hawaii and experiencing ecology and culture in Alaska.

32. University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,156 79% 57% 97% Yes Yes AP Credits

The University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown offers an excellent Bachelor of Science in Biology program that allows students to design their own specialization and select upper-division courses in ecology and evolution, cellular and molecular biology, and organismal biology. The 655-acre campus in Pennsylvania includes large swathes of forestland that serve as an ideal ecological training ground for students. The school was even recognized as a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, which affirms its commitment to environmental conservation. Through the school's partnership with the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine, biology majors can work with scientists on various research projects and have their work published in peer-reviewed journals.

33. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,873 85% 53% 84% No Yes AP Credits

The Bachelor of Science in Biology program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay features eight concentration options including unique options like aquaculture, molecular biology, ecology and conservation, and pre-veterinary. The university provides students with fully equipped, state-of-the-art facilities such as molecular biology labs and physiology labs as well as expansive field and research sites like a 290-acre arboretum, greenhouse, herbarium, and a natural history museum. Biology graduates have gone on to build successful careers at pharmaceutical companies, consulting firms, and government agencies such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, Department of Agriculture, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

34. Johnson C. Smith University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18,784 47% 49% 94% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

Charlotte, North Carolina's Johnson C. Smith University offers a Bachelor of Science in Biology program with a liberal arts foundation and specialized courses in parasitology, genetics, and microbiology, among others. Students have plenty of opportunities to present papers at professional conferences, work as research assistants for faculty-led programs, and participate in an intensive summer research program at the University of Virginia. To develop strong relationships with faculty and fellow students, biology majors can join student organizations such as the Society for Opportunities in the Sciences and the Beta Kappa Chi Scientific Honor Society.

35. Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Berks

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$15,206 76% 71% % Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

Students in the Bachelor of Science in Biology program at Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Berks can opt for a general biology option or take the more focused genetics and developmental biology track. The university maintains a robust undergraduate research program that provides financial support for research projects and additional funding for students who qualify for conferences, summer research programs, and research awards. Biology majors can also expand their hands-on learning experience by working in faculty-led projects and taking part in cooperative education initiatives through the Eberly College of Science at Penn State's main campus.

36. University of South Florida-St Petersburg

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$5,821 27% 44% 85% Yes Yes AP Credits

The University of South Florida-St Petersburg features an outstanding Bachelor of Science in Biology with concentration options in plant biology, animal biology, ecology and evolution, and medical biology. With a curriculum that focuses on developing communication and critical thinking skills as well as technical expertise, the program provides opportunities for students to work as learning assistants and handle biology classes under the guidance of experienced faculty. Biology majors also have access to prestigious internships at various agencies and organizations such as the U.S. Department of Energy, Everglades National Park, MOTE Marine Lab and Aquarium, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

37. Coastal Carolina University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,640 69% 47% 100% Yes Yes AP Credits

The Bachelor of Science in Biology program at Coastal Carolina University provides concentrations in cellular biology and genetics, integrative biology, and evolution and conservation biology. The exceptional program provides many opportunities for experiential learning including field trips to Waties Island, forests, wetlands, and bays around the Carolinas. Located in Conway, South Carolina, the university boasts an impressive faculty who have extensive research experience in many areas of study including infectious diseases, sea bird conservation, plant genetics, and neurology.

38. Oakwood University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$19,990 65% 51% 100% No Yes AP Credits

Oakwood University's Bachelor of Science in Biology program features an expansive curriculum with courses in biostatistics, genetics, molecular biology, and the philosophy of science. As a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Huntsville, Alabama, the school takes pride in being the country's 11th highest producer of Black applicants to medical schools. The university partners with institutions like the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine to provide early acceptance slots for qualified biology majors. The biology program's faculty are all experienced academics with PhDs to ensure that students consistently receive top-notch training and guidance.

39. University of Hawaii at Hilo

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,792 52% 44% 86% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

The University of Hawaii at Hilo offers a Bachelor of Arts in Biology as well as a Bachelor of Science program where students can take either the cellular and molecular biology specialization or the ecology, evolution, and conservation biology track. The school's extraordinary location on the Big Island provides biology majors with one of the best spots to conduct ecological studies of diverse forests, alpine habitats, coral reefs, and even deep-sea ecosystems. Students who join the Biology Club can take part in a variety of learning and community service initiatives such as bird watching along the Puʻueo Trail, eradication of invasive species at Volcano National Park, and beach cleanups.

40. Claflin University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$17,192 55% 51% 97% Yes Yes AP Credits

The Bachelor of Science in Biology program at Claflin University provides comprehensive coursework covering biochemistry, biotech methods, ecology, and health and human performance. Courses are taught by exceptional faculty members, many of whom have garnered the James E. Hunter Award for Excellence in Teaching, the most prestigious recognition given to professors in the university. Located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Claflin is known for producing competitive biology graduates who secure spots in top professional health schools such as Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Purdue, and Duke.

41. SUNY Oneonta

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,740 56% 76% 85% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

The State University of New York College at Oneonta offers an expansive Bachelor of Science in Biology program that includes courses in biomedical sciences, ecology, and molecular biology. The school has a dedicated advising program for students on pre-health professional tracks and maintains articulation agreements with other colleges for easier transfer of students who aim to go into optometry, physical therapy, and other similar careers. SUNY Oneonta also runs a vibrant international exchange program that enables students to complete courses at universities in Japan, Peru, and the Bahamas.

42. University of Minnesota-Duluth

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13,680 75% 62% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

Students can earn either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in biology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth; the BA track prepares students for a broad variety of roles in life science and health care while the BS program provides a solid foundation for graduate studies and careers in biological and health sciences. Biology majors can expand their networks and participate in productive extracurricular activities by joining student organizations such as the Biology Club, Entomology Club, and various pre-professional organizations. Graduates of the program have found employment at major companies and organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, Abbott Laboratories, and the United States Air Force Reserve within 6-12 months after graduation.

43. Northern State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,750 84% 48% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

Northern State University's Bachelor of Science in Biology program features a robust foundation in chemistry, mathematics, and physics that prepares students for professional paths in biotechnology, chemical research, medicine, and similar disciplines. Located in Aberdeen, South Dakota, the school provides biology majors access to state-of-the-art science laboratories outfitted with advanced equipment such as an anaerobic chamber, DNA analyzer, and confocal microscope. To encourage scientific research among undergraduate students, the university offers a grant of up to $2,500 to cover research expenses and even provides travel funding for students who will present their scholarly projects at conferences.

44. Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,901 81% 70% 79% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

Colorado State University-Fort Collins offers a Bachelor of Science in Biological Science with an optional concentration in botany; the comprehensive curriculum includes courses in microbiology, ecology, evolution and genetics, and aquatic biology. Biology majors in the botany track can take advantage of the school's own herbarium, which supports botanical research and provides internship and mentoring opportunities. The university offers several scholarships specifically for the biology department such as the Jo Ann Marchand and Martha Ann Henson Memorial scholarships for academically competitive students, and the Native American Women in Science Scholarship for female students from indigenous tribes.

45. Stockton University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,048 76% 77% 91% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Stockton University's outstanding BA/BS in Biology program features six concentration options including biotechnology, pre-physical therapy, medical technology, and education. The campus in Galloway, New Jersey provides a wealth of resources for experiential learning; it is home to 1,600 acres of diverse natural habitats and a top-notch laboratory complex that houses a greenhouse and a full suite of scientific equipment. The school also takes pride in its program faculty members who have all earned doctoral degrees and are on hand to provide individualized guidance and mentorship to students.

46. Canisius College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$29,428 83% 73% 97% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

Located in Buffalo, New York, Canisius College features a Bachelor of Science in Biology program with an extensive curriculum that covers ecology and evolution, cellular and molecular biology, and organismal biology. Students can further enhance their knowledge and skills in scientific research by working with faculty-led research projects, which can allow them to take part in national and international conferences as well as get published in peer-reviewed journals. The college has an excellent reputation for preparing students for advanced studies, with its alumni achieving a 95 percent acceptance rate in graduate schools and 85 percent in medical schools.

47. College of Charleston

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,939 78% 66% 83% Yes Yes AP Credits

The College of Charleston in South Carolina offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Biology degrees that provide a broad selection of specialized courses such as zoogeography, neurobiology and behavior, environmental immunology, and oceanography. Students have access to a wide array of facilities for hands-on learning including two field sites, 22 teaching laboratories, and 27 student/faculty research labs. Biology majors who intend to pursue careers in healthcare can find valuable support in the school's dedicated team of full-time advisors who guide students through the entire process of selecting, preparing, and applying for advanced programs.

48. Keystone College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$26,070 79% 47% 92% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

The Bachelor of Science in General Biology at Keystone College is designed as an ideal stepping stone for graduate programs in medicine, physician's assistant, dentistry, biochemistry, and other healthcare-related fields. Biology majors get to experience hands-on scientific training early in their studies as the campus in La Plume, Pennsylvania is home to advanced facilities with cutting-edge equipment including a fluorescence spectrophotometer, mass spectrometer, and gas chromatograph. Graduates of the program have garnered fellowships at the National Institute of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and have found employment at Sanofi Pasteur, Nutrisystem, and the University of California.

49. Truman State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,120 63% 75% 99% Yes Yes AP Credits

Kirksville, Missouri's Truman State University provides both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Biology; the liberal arts-based curriculum aims to develop not just expertise in the natural sciences but also essential skills in scientific writing and public speaking. Through the school's flourishing study abroad programs, students can pursue interesting research topics in other countries such as the management of large mammals in Africa or coral reef ecology in Belize. Biology majors can start building their professional networks by joining student organizations such as the American Medical Student Association, Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society, and Student Osteopathic Medicine Association.

50. Walsh University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$30,830 76% 65% 100% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

Walsh University's Bachelor of Science in Biology delivers a robust grounding in biological science, chemistry, and physics while also encouraging students to expand their academic experience through the school's Global Learning program. Global Learning opportunities can include studying the state of healthcare in Guadalajara, Mexico or securing internships in Australia, Italy, and Argentina. Biology majors can also complete internships in local sites such as the Cleveland Museum of Natural History or work as research assistants for faculty-led projects. Located in Canton, Ohio, the school boasts of its impressive faculty, all of whom have earned PhDs and scientific expertise in their respective areas of study.

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

What Other Kinds of Biology Degrees Are There?

Biology degrees exist at all levels of higher education, from associate to doctorate. Depending on the program, students at the bachelor's level can earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in biology. The intended career path and goals will likely dictate which biology degrees they pursue. BS degrees tend to be more technical in nature and be more rich in math and science courses, while a BA degree may contain more liberal arts courses.

Associate Degrees in Biology

An associate degree in biology can serve as a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree or as a quick way to qualify for one of many jobs as a technician or medical assistant.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019 clinical laboratory technicians earned a median salary of $53,120 and the demand for these jobs is expected to increase by 7% over the next decade. In the same year, BLS states veterinary technicians earned a median salary of $35,320, and those jobs are expected to increase 16% by 2029.

Even faster growing is the job outlook for medical assistants: Over the next decade, the number of these jobs is expected to increase by 19%. In 2019, medical assistants earned a median salary of $34,800, according to the BLS.

Associate degree programs in biology are most commonly offered as Associate of Science (AS) degrees and may be available in areas like biology or human biology. Students in associate degree programs for biology can expect to take about twenty courses, including a mix of basic science and hands-on labs. They can finish the requirements in as little as two years and some programs may be available in online formats.

Bachelor's Degrees in Biology

A general biology bachelor's degree encompasses a broad range of studies, from cell biology, biochemistry, and genetics to evolution, ecology, and computational genomics. Graduates can take many paths after earning this degree. Some might go on to further studies in specialized areas, including medicine or research, while others might begin working in a scientific job or as a teacher.

One type of job that is available to those with a bachelor's degree in biology is a microbiologist. These scientists study, as the name implies, microorganisms like bacteria or viruses in a lab or industry, such as at a wastewater treatment plant or for a pharmaceutical company. In 2019, the BLS states that the median pay for a microbiologist was $75,650, although microbiologists working for the federal government might earn significantly more.

At most schools, a bachelor's degree in biology takes about four years to complete and includes foundational science courses in chemistry, physics, and math along with the biological sciences and laboratory experiences. Students may pursue a BA or BS degree in areas like biology, human biology, or biological sciences.

Master's Degrees in Biology

Similar to bachelor's degrees in biology, a master's degree can be earned as a Master of Arts (MA) or Sciences (MS). Such a degree typically takes one or two additional years beyond an undergraduate degree to complete, and it may require original research or a thesis to be granted. Not all schools require a bachelor's degree in biology for entry to a master's program, though many prefer a candidate who has some scientific background.

People with a master's degree in biology are able to go into teaching or a biological science job, such as a researcher in academia or industry. Others who pursue a master's degree in biology might become doctoral candidates. In fact, many doctoral candidates automatically earn a master's along the way to their final Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

A notable shift in studying biology at the master's level is that many students select a more specialized field. For instance, rather than a master's degree in biology, someone who already holds a bachelor's degree in biology might pursue a master's in public health, health policy, genetic counseling, or animal science. Even those whose master's degrees are in pure biology usually pick a track or area of focus, such as ecology or molecular biology.

The 2019 median salary for a genetic counselor was $81,880, according to the BLS. For environmental scientists, it was $77,940, as of 2019.

Doctoral Degrees in Biology

A doctoral degree in biology is the highest level of education in the field. While the coursework required for a PhD in biology may be minimal (around 20 to 32 credit hours), candidates typically spend several years conducting research in order to write and defend a dissertation.

Because the field of biology is so broad, doctoral candidates must select a specific research path related to their interests, such as developmental biology, neuroscience/neurobiology, or evolutionary biology. Their research might cross departments or even schools. For example, a computational biologist interested in genomic sequencing might work within a university's school of medicine and the computer science department.

Biology PhD holders stand to earn high wages in academia or industry. Outside of university research, they can be found across the public health and policy sectors as well as in the pharmaceutical industry.

For example, biochemists and biophysicists, who may work on a new drug treatment or research the inner workings of cells, respectively, earned a median salary of $94,490 in 2019, according to the BLS. Since that estimate includes some entry-level workers without doctoral degrees, biology PhDs probably earned more.

Certificates in Biology

Students who would like to add a specialized credential to their degrees, whether they have majored in biology or not, may pursue a biology certificate. These programs may fall under general names, such as biological sciences certificates, or have a title in a specific area, such as a certificate in biomedical science. These mini-tracks allow someone to select courses in the field that most interests them, such as epidemiology or developmental biology. In addition to helping tailor a degree to the candidate, certificates in biology can help job seekers stand out.

Some schools allow students to pursue additional certificates post-graduate, while others offer programs within a degree program. Those going the latter route should be mindful that many schools do not accept courses doubly towards both a certificate and a major. Many certificate programs require between 12 and 15 credits and students can typically complete these programs in less than 2 years.

Biology Bachelor's Degree Concentrations

A biology bachelor's degree concentration helps determine an undergraduate's future professional and academic paths. For example, more mathematically interested or research-inclined students might select a concentration in a related field, such as biomedical engineering or applied math biology. Meanwhile, students who plan to go into another field, such as medicine, business, or law, might have a concentration in public health or neuroscience.

Curriculum for a Bachelor's Degree in Biology

The curriculum for a bachelor's degree in biology involves broad-view seminar courses in the field and other sciences (such as chemistry and physics), as well as math and laboratory coursework. A typical undergraduate can expect to take courses in:

  • Cell and molecular biology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Ecology
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Research methods
  • Chemistry
  • Organic chemistry

How Long Does it Take to Get a Bachelor's in Biology?

A bachelor's degree in biology is usually a four-year degree, or about 120 total credit hours. In the first and second year, students can expect more of the large-group, foundational courses, while in later years they might conduct independent research or take specialized courses towards a degree concentration or certificate.

Accreditation for Bachelor's in Biology Degrees

For a bachelor's degree in biology to suffice in most job applications and virtually every subsequent level of degree program, it must come from an accredited school. The school earns accreditation after being reviewed by an accreditor, which involves a rigorous process of observation and documentation around a school's offerings, credentials, and practices. Once a school is accredited, prospective students will know that the school offers quality coursework that meets industry standards.

Several regional and national accreditation bodies provide this credential in the United States. Schools that offer bachelors' degree programs in biology may be accredited by groups such as the Higher Learning Commission or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Enrolling in a School for Biology Bachelor's Degree Program

The admissions process for students wishing to enter a bachelor's degree program in biology will likely vary by school. Some schools may even have different admissions requirements for different types of students, such as first-time undergraduates vs. transfer students. In general, applicants will need to have at least a high school diploma and may need to meet a minimum GPA requirement. It is also fairly common for schools to require students to submit test scores from the ACT or SAT exam. Many schools follow an online application process.

Undergraduate programs in biology typically offer some sort of academic advising specifically for the field. These advisors may be able to assist students in deciding which path within the field may be best for their desired career goals and interests. It is also recommended that students meet with their advisors to discuss course selections and career goals on a regular basis. Programs may provide degree paths and course matrices for students to follow when selecting classes.

Biology Licensure & Certification

For most jobs in the biological sciences, a degree and evidence of specialized skill training is sufficient. However, some biologists may seek additional certification to prove their expertise, stand out from the crowd, and network with others in the field.

The Wildlife Society provides the Certified Wildlife Biologist designation for wildlife biologists. To become a Certified Wildlife Biologist, candidates must show proof of a degree from an accredited university, complete an application that outlines their professional work in the field, and pay a fee. Wildlife biologists with fewer than five years of professional experience in the past decade may apply for an associate credential, which shows they are on the way to earning full certification.

Another field in which a biology degree holder might choose to certify is medical illustration. The Association of Medical Illustrators offers a board certification to become a Certified Medical Illustrator for qualifying individuals. This certification requires proof of a degree from an accredited institution, five years of work experience, a portfolio of work, and a written exam.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Biology?

Biology degree holders have copious and diverse career options available to them. Some of the more well-known options include:

  • Botanists
  • Conservation scientist
  • Ecologists
  • Epidemiologists
  • Food scientists
  • Marine biologists
  • Zoologists

Other careers might seem more exotic, but fall under the umbrella of biology. For example:

  • Astrobiologists study what life might look like on other planets as well as the origin and future of life in the universe.
  • A medical illustrator needs a strong background in art and biology to create detailed and accurate illustrations for textbooks, journals, and other media.
  • Mycologists focus their research on fungi.

Salaries in biology careers vary greatly, even within careers. For instance, the median pay for a wildlife biologist in 2019 was $63,270, but some careers in anatomy and human biology, like a physician or surgeon for example, in the same year had a median salary equal to or higher than $208,000, according to the BLS.

Meanwhile, according to the Association of Medical Illustrators, a median salary for a medical illustrator or animator in the United States is around $70,650, though a 2018 membership survey showed some artists in the field earned up to $1,000,000 by supplementing their incomes with freelance work.

How to Become a Marine Biologist

Those interested in becoming marine biologists are interested in life in aquatic environments. They might work as researchers, conservationists, educators, oceanographers, aquatic engineers, or aquatic veterinarians.

The desired career path of a future marine biologist determines what education and professional experience they will need. For example, a researcher usually holds a master's or doctoral degree. They may have begun their career by finding their main areas of interest through a bachelor's concentration or certificate program, then completed an internship or fellowship with a group conducting field research before applying to graduate school.

A marine biologist passionate about conservation work, however, might take a very different path--perhaps they chose to get a law degree after finishing their bachelor's in biology so that they can fight for the environment and ocean life in the court system.

In all cases, a marine biologist needs at least a bachelor's degree in biology or marine biology, and ideally some time spent in the field.

A marine biologist can be considered a subset of wildlife biologists or zoologists, which had median 2019 salaries of $63,270, according to the BLS. In the same year, BLS says marine engineers and naval architects earned median pay of $92,400.

How to Become a Molecular Biologist

Molecular biologists' duties include studying the molecules and processes occurring at the cellular level. They might contribute to basic research, medical science, or drug design.

A molecular biologist can begin working in an entry-level laboratory role or as an assistant technician as soon as they earn a bachelor's degree. However, many molecular biologists who want to earn more or move up the career ladder in either industry or academia will need a higher degree. To lead a lab or research group, or hold an upper level position in government or industry, a molecular biologist should have a doctoral degree.

Molecular biologists, which are sometimes called biochemists or biophysicists, earned a median salary of $94,490 in 2019, according to BLS.

Financial Aid & Scholarship Information for Bachelor's in Biology Degrees

The same governmental loan programs are available for a bachelor's degree in biology as with any other undergraduate degree. To apply for federal student aid, admitted students must submit a Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Beyond this, many schools offer specific scholarships and grants specifically to biology majors, who are sometimes considered for the award without having to apply. These opportunities can usually be found on the department web site.

Outside of a specific school, biology majors can find many additional funding opportunities by looking at the websites of professional societies and organizations in the subfields that interest or apply to them. For example, the Association for Women in Science offers scholarships for undergraduates studying physics, which could apply to a double biology major interested in biophysics, molecular biology, or biomedical engineering.

Another way to support an undergraduate biology degree is through fellowships. For instance, the American Society for Microbiology's summer research program that pays for undergraduates to complete a ten-week project in a supervised lab, as well as travel costs to present their work at the society's summer conference.

How to Choose a Biology School & Bachelor's Program

Beyond making sure a school is accredited, affordable, and has the right vibes, prospective biology majors might want to consider what kind of research opportunities or field experiences the program offers. After all, the needs of a conservation biologist planning to become an environmental advocate are quite different from that of a future drug developer.

In the first case, a school with a biology program and a pre-law program is probably the way to go, and even better if it has student groups or volunteer opportunities in the specific area of conservation the student cares about. All of these requirements will ensure they have the background and credentials to go to law school and score an interview at an environmentally focused firm.

Meanwhile, the student who plans to join the pharmaceutical industry would do well to seek a school offering undergraduate research opportunities that will allow them to get their pipettes wet in a real lab before applying to graduate school. Some research universities even boast undergraduates with published papers in distinguished journals--a definite way to stand out for the next stage of a research career.

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