Best Online Degrees in: Biology
Explore a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology
Biology students will study everything from the smallest microscopic organisms to animals and humans. They will learn about the systems and processes involved in creating and maintaining life, while considering questions on how physical environments affect growth and development. Biology majors may pursue careers in a number of fields, including genetics and biotechnology. Students who plan to attend medical, dental, or veterinary school may also study biology at the undergraduate level, and the degree can also serve as the first step toward careers in research and academia. Online biology programs vary in length, but they generally require students to complete 100-120 credit hours.
Biology majors will take foundation courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Upper-division classes will allow students to delve deeper into the biological sciences by taking a breadth of courses in areas such as microbiology, cell biology, organismal biology, organic chemistry, ecology, genetics, and evolution.
- Molecular Biology. Students will study the exchange and transfer of chemicals within living organisms. Students will learn about cells, from what they are to the functions they perform. Other topics covered in an introductory class include macromolecules, proteins, nucleic acids, enzymes, and DNA.
- Genetics. This course will cover the principles of genetics. Students will learn about the structure and function of genes, chromosomes, and genomes. The class will also address protein function, gene regulation, inherited disease, and population genetics.
- Plant Anatomy. Students will learn about the structure of plant cells and its various organs and tissues. They will learn about how plants function and their ability to adapt to their environment.
Undergraduate biology programs will require students to complete laboratory work, projects, and examinations. Since hands-on experiments are a significant part of traditional classroom programs, some online programs may require students to appear on campus to participate in laboratory experiments.
Building a Career
A bachelor’s degree in biology can serve as the first step for aspiring doctors, dentists, and veterinarians. Other students major in biology but pursue careers in liberal arts-related fields. The major prepares students for careers in research and technical fields, as well as positions in government and industry. However, some positions, such as opportunities in research and academia, will require further education. For instance, biochemists and biophysicists hold Ph.D.’s and conduct research on the chemical and physical principles of living things and biological processes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), their median annual wage was $79,390 as of May 2010.
On the other hand, biological technicians typically hold a bachelor’s degree in biology or related field. They assist biological and medical scientists conduct laboratory tests and experiments, and earn a median annual wage of $39,020. Individuals should note that BLS figures may not reflect actual earnings, and that salary depends on various factors, such as an individual’s level of education and experience.