Biology is at the root of all living things. Grad School Hub's 35 Best Master's Degrees in Biology help build students' understanding and research skills in the vital life sciences. 

The biological sciences examine life from the molecular to ecological levels. They are the basis of all-natural life that the human eye can and cannot see. With one of the following 35 Best Master's Degrees in Biology, students can delve into the biological world through laboratory- and literature-based research. Some programs listed focus on a particular area of biological sciences, such as cell biology, dentistry-related oral biology, marine biology, or plant biology. Others offer a broader scope of studies in the biological sciences. Some programs listed offer both thesis and non-thesis options, though most are rooted in some form of independent research. 

Depending on their chosen program, graduates will be prepared to pursue doctoral study or careers in biology within academia, business, government, medicine, and beyond. Most biology masters programs prepare students for jobs that are based in research. For example, biological scientists may work in laboratory environments that assess natural resource management or pharmaceuticals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, biological scientists made a median salary of $79,590. The job outlook for biochemists, biophysicists, and biological technicians is growing at a rate of 10-11%, which is faster than average. This is possible because of rapid developments and new findings in the study of living things and biological processes.

Methodology

The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 35 Best Master's Degrees in Biology for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:

  • Alumni Feedback: 20% 
  • Continued Enrollment: 20% 
  • Degree Selectivity: 10%
  • Graduate Expenses: 25%
  • Projected Annual Salary: 25%

A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible through our Ranking Methodology page. 

Here are the 35 Best Master's Degrees in Biology for 2019 – 2020!

#35 – Michigan State University

Master of Science in Integrative Biology

East Lansing, MI

Website

Michigan State University awards a Master of Science in Integrative Biology. The degree program enrolls around 80 to 90 students at a time. Students are admitted to the program under a faculty mentor with similar research interests. Current faculty research interests include biodiversity, evolutionary biology, genomics and developmental biology, and more. The degree requires a minimum of 30 credits of study. At least eight of these credits must be completed on campus. The degree offers both non-thesis and thesis plan options. In lieu of a thesis, the non-thesis track requires a research project. Both program plans culminate in a final oral exam. Students may choose to pursue the degree as a joint program with one of the university's other interdisciplinary graduate programs. The MS program must be completed within six years.

MSU was founded in 1855 as an agricultural college. It was one of the first higher education institutions to teach scientific agriculture. It served as a model institution for the land-grant universities created under the Morrill Act. Today, it is a public land- and sea-grant research university. MSU has become one of the nation's largest universities by student enrollment. Located in East Lansing, Michigan, the campus is home to the nation's largest rare isotope research facility. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,460 in-state; $39,766 out-of-state 

#34 – St. Cloud State University

Master of Arts in Biological Sciences; Master of Science in Biological Sciences

St. Cloud, MN

Website

St. Cloud State University offers both a Master of Arts and a Master of Science degree option in Biological Sciences. Each degree program introduces students to a wide range of contemporary topics in biology, while also allowing them to explore a chosen area in depth. The MS program requires the completion of a research thesis, while the MA option does not. Each program offers students the opportunity to focus on cell and molecular biology, or ecology and natural resources. Students have access to biology laboratories, state-of-the-art equipment, and the university's herbarium. Many students publish research in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Both degree programs are designed to prepare graduates for careers in academia, industry, medicine, natural resource management, and beyond. 

St. Cloud State opened in 1869 as a teacher training school. Today, it is a public university and one of the largest members of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. In addition to its main campus in St. Cloud, SCSU operates a satellite graduate campus in Plymouth. The university's biology programs receive research funding from institutes including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and National Institutes of Health. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,265 in-state; $16,499 out-of-state 

#33 – Drexel University

Master of Science in Biological Sciences

Philadelphia, PA

Website

Drexel University awards a Master of Science in Biological Sciences. The degree program begins with a foundational core curriculum including areas of biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, and molecular biology. Second-year students can personalize their studies through electives. Elective offerings include Behavioral Genetics, Neurobiology of Disease, Proteins, and Stem Cell Research. Students choose to culminate the program through a research thesis or cooperative education experience. The degree requires 45 credits of study and can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. 

Drexel was established in 1891 as the Drexel Institute of Art, Science, and Industry. Today, it is a private research university. One of Drexel's significant features is its cooperative education program, which offers students paid, full-time work experience related to their field of study. The university also provides award-winning online education. U.S. News & World Report ranks Drexel at No. 102 for National Universities, No. 67 for Best Value Schools, and No. 13 for Most Innovative Schools. The university is ranked at No. 159 nationally in Biological Sciences studies at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $53,244

#32 – University of Massachusetts Amherst

Master of Science in Plant Biology

Amherst, MA

Website

The University of Massachusetts Amherst awards a Master of Science in Plant Biology. The degree program is flexible and interdisciplinary, allowing students to work on any biological level, from molecules to landscapes. Students can also choose whether to study applied or basic topics in the field. Each student can select their faculty adviser from departments of agriculture, biochemistry, biology, or environmental conservation. Students can make use of the program's DNA sequencing lab, herbarium, and greenhouses. Each MS student must propose, write, and defend a research thesis.

UMass Amherst is a public university and the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts system. The university's central campus is located near downtown Amherst. As a land-grant institution, UMass is categorized by the Carnegie Foundation within the top tier of research universities. The school is a national leader in sustainability, conducting significant research in the area of environmentally safe technology. U.S. News & World Report ranks UMass at No. 79 for Best Value Schools, No. 70 for National Universities, and No. 26 for Top Public Schools. The university is ranked at No. 54 for graduate studies in the Biological Sciences.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,887 in-state; $34,570 out-of-state 

#31 – University of Rochester

Master of Science in Biology

Rochester, NY

Website

The University of Rochester offers a Master of Science in Biology program. The degree program prepares students for doctoral study and teaching careers or continuing education in medical or veterinary schools. Applicants should have a bachelor's degree in biology or a related field. The program requires 30 credits of study, which can be completed on a course-based or research-based plan. The course-based plan is built around specialized coursework and culminates in a written comprehensive exam. The research-based plan requires an original thesis and accompanying oral exam. Students of Rochester also have the option to apply for teaching assistantship positions. 

Rochester's roots can be traced back to a literary and theological seminary in Hamilton, New York. The university was officially chartered in 1850. Today, it is a private, nonsectarian research university in Rochester, NY. It has contributed significant research to the fields of optics, positivist social science, and synthetic organic chemistry. Rochester's notable facilities include The Institute of Optics, the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, and the Sibley Music Library. U.S. News & World Report ranks UR No. 33 nationally and No. 23 for best value. The university is ranked No. 62 in Biological Sciences studies at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $53,909

#30 – Westfield State University

Master of Education in Biology, 8-12

Westfield, MA

Website

Westfield State University offers a Master of Education in Biology, 8-12. The degree program earns students initial licensure as high school biology teachers. Initial licensure is often a prerequisite for further graduate study for biology teachers. The program requires 36 credits, including a practicum experience and extensive school fieldwork. Students must also complete a 30-hour diversity experience. Required courses include Critical Multicultural Education, Introduction to Students with Exceptional Learning Needs, Methods of Teaching Secondary School of Biology, and Research in Education. To culminate the program, students must complete a comprehensive portfolio and scientific presentation.

Westfield State was founded in 1838 by educational reformer Horace Mann. It was America's first public college to accept students regardless of class, gender, or race. Westfield State's educational programs can be completed online or on the university's campus in suburban Westfield, Massachusetts. U.S. News & World Report places the university at No. 112 for Regional Universities North and No. 32 for Top Public Schools.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,429 in-state; $16,509 out-of-state 

#29 – Johns Hopkins University

Master of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology

Baltimore, MD

Website

Johns Hopkins University offers a Master of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology through its Krieger School of Arts & Sciences. The degree program is open only to students who will earn an undergraduate degree in biology from Johns Hopkins. It prepares these students for professional education and careers in science or medicine. The program includes faculty mentorship, specialized coursework, and laboratory leadership and teaching experience. Course requirements include Developmental Neurobiology; Landmarks in Biochemical Research; and Planets, Life and the Universe. The MSMCB ends with an independent research project leading to a written thesis and oral presentation.

Johns Hopkins University was founded in 1876 along with Johns Hopkins Hospital. Both institutions were named after their benefactor, abolitionist and entrepreneur Johns Hopkins. The private university is considered to be the first research university in the United States. In addition to its main campus in Baltimore, JHU operates international locations in China, Italy, and Singapore. JHU's research facilities include the Applied Physics Laboratory and the Peabody Institute. U.S. News & World Report ranks JHU tenth overall in the nation and 18th for both value and innovation. The university is ranked sixth in graduate-level Biological Science.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $53,740

#28 – SUNY Buffalo State

Master of Arts in Biology

Buffalo, NY

Website

The State University College at Buffalo offers a Master of Arts in Biology. The degree program is designed to prepare students for advanced study and professional employment in fields such as biotechnology, ecology, and health sciences. The degree requires 30 credit hours of study, including one required course: Foundations of Graduate Studies in Biology. Students can choose from electives in biology as well as general graduate offerings. Students also have the option to culminate their plan of study with either a research thesis or comprehensive exam.

Buffalo State was established in 1871 as a teacher training school. Today, it is a public college and constituent of the State University of New York system. The college receives more research funding than any other school in the SUNY system. Buffalo State's research centers include the Center for Development of Human Services, the Center for Health and Social Research, and the Great Lakes Center. Notably, Buffalo State was the first school in the world to earn a Master of Science degree in creativity. U.S. News & World Report ranks Buffalo State 103 in Regional Universities North and No. 29 for Top Public Schools.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,210 in-state; $17,990 out-of-state 

#27 – SUNY Oneonta

Master of Science in Biology

Oneonta, NY

Website

The State University of New York College at Oneonta offers a Master of Science in Biology. The degree program emphasizes ecology and environmental science, though students can choose to study any area of biology. Students can also choose between a thesis or non-thesis track, but ultimately finish 30-32 semester hours of study. The core curriculum consists of four courses: Advanced Biological Literacy, Advanced Quantitative Biology, a graduate seminar, and Experimental Design. The program offers students opportunities to engage in research at the Biological Field Station in Cooperstown, NY. Graduates of the program go on to work in education, forensic science, nonprofits, and private industry.

Located in Oneonta, SUNY Oneonta is a constituent of the State University of New York system. The Carnegie Foundation has recognized the college for its community engagement through civic partnerships and service activities. Notably, the SUNY Oneonta College Observatory houses the largest optical telescope in New York and one of the largest public telescopes in the eastern United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks SUNY Oneonta at No. 55 in Regional Universities North and No. 14 for Top Public Schools.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,421 in-state; $17,871 out-of-state 

#26 – Binghamton University

Master of Arts in Biological Sciences; Master of Science in Biological Sciences

Vestal, NY

Website

Binghamton University offers both Master of Arts and Master of Science degree options in Biological Sciences. The MA is a non-thesis degree program, while the MS program is research-based. The MA program culminates in a project paper and two capstone courses. The graduate program also offers two track options: biochemical, cell, and molecular biology or ecology, evolution, and behavior. Students also have the freedom to combine these tracks with interdisciplinary studies in other academic areas. Graduate biology course offerings include Animal Physiology, Biochemistry, Evolution and Human Affairs, and Immunology. Graduate students can attend the department's seminar series each semester. Students also have options to work as teaching assistants or complete a laboratory- or field-based internship.

SUNY Binghamton was established in 1946 to serve the educational needs of returning World War II veterans. Today, it is a public space-grant research university and one of four constituents of the State University of New York system. Originally located in Endicott, the university now operates campuses in the New York towns of Binghamton, Johnson City, and Vestal. U.S. News & World Report ranks Binghamton at No. 80 for National Universities, No. 62 for Best Value Schools, and No. 32 for Top Public Schools. The university's graduate Biological Sciences programs rank at No. 175 nationally.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,853 in-state; $26,648 out-of-state 

#25 – Michigan Technological University

Master of Science in Biological Sciences

Houghton, MI

Website

Michigan Technological University provides a Master of Science in Biological Sciences. MS students also have the option to focus on Medical Laboratory Management. The degree program is designed to build students' understanding of the global ecosystem and advances in molecular biology. The program also draws upon the areas of chemistry, civil and environmental engineering, forestry, mechanical engineering, and math. Students have opportunities to work on research with groups such as the Aquatic Ecology Research Group, the Diesel Research Group, and the Lake Superior Ecosystems Research Center. All students work on research and write a master's thesis.

Michigan Tech was founded in 1885 as a mining school. Today, it is a public research university focused on business, engineering, forestry, science, and technology. The university is located in Houghton, Michigan, in the state's Upper Peninsula. A 2011 report by Reader's Digest stated that the campus was the safest in Michigan and the third safest in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Michigan Tech at No. 136 for National Universities, No. 121 for Best Value Schools, and No. 67 for Top Public Schools. The university's graduate Biological Sciences department is ranked No. 175 in the nation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,646 in-state; $33,726 out-of-state 

#24 – Appalachian State University

Master of Science in Biology

Boone, NC

Website

Appalachian State University offers a Master of Science in Biology. Students of Appalachian may concentrate on either Cell and Molecular Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, or General Biology. The degree requires 30 credit hours of study. Key culminating coursework includes a written research thesis and oral defense, a comprehensive written exam, a seminar presentation. Students can expect to work with faculty members on research in areas such as conservation, genetics, microbiology, and science education. Students also have opportunities for teaching assistantships and research presentations at regional and national conferences.

Appalachian was founded in 1899 by two brothers. Located in Boone, NC, the university is a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina system. In addition, the school is noted for its achievements in sustainability and climate leadership. Appalachian's research centers include the Appalachian Energy Center, the Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Program, and the Institute for Health and Human Services. The university was featured in The Princeton Review's 2018 "Guide to Green Colleges." U.S. News & World Report lists ASU No. 20 nationally for best value, eighth in the South, third among public schools, and second in innovation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,364 in-state; $22,171 out-of-state 

#23 – Clemson University

Master of Science in Biological Sciences

Clemson, SC

Website

Clemson University offers a Master of Science in Biological Sciences. The degree program covers various areas of animal and plant biology. It has three major areas of emphasis: cell and developmental biology, comparative organismal biology, and ecology and evolutionary biology. MS candidates must complete 30 graduate credit hours of study, including 24 coursework credits and six thesis research credits. The curriculum culminates in the master's thesis and a final oral exam. Teachers and those interested in biology education can choose a non-thesis option with a research project. The non-thesis track can be completed online.

Clemson University was established in 1889 on the estate of politician Thomas Green Clemson. Today, the public research university is the second-largest university in South Carolina by student enrollment. It is located in the town of Clemson, at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The university also administers the nearby Clemson Experimental Forest. It is a land- and sea-grant university categorized in the top tier of research universities by the Carnegie Foundation. U.S. News & World Report places Clemson at No. 109 for Best Value Schools, No. 66 for National Universities, and No. 24 in both Most Innovative Schools and Top Public Schools. The university's graduate Biological Sciences programs are ranked No. 140 in the nation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,374 in-state; $37,128 out-of-state 

#22 – Northwestern University

Master in Quantitative and Systems Biology

Evanston, IL

Website

Northwestern University offers a master's degree in Quantitative and Systems Biology through its Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences. The degree program is focused on computational and quantitative skills applicable to Big Data, biomedical research, and personalized medicine. It prepares graduates for further advanced study or research-based careers in academia or industry. Courses cover areas including analysis, programming, and statistics. There are around six students per class, which allows for close mentorship. Students can expect to participate in intensive research, lab activities, journal clubs, and departmental seminars. Students also have options to participate in fellowships and internship programs. 

Northwestern was founded in 1850 by nine Chicago Methodists. It is now a nonsectarian private research university. It is located in Evanston, Illinois, 12 miles from downtown Chicago. The university also operates a Chicago campus and an international campus in Qatar. Northwestern has very high research activity and is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The university's research facilities include the Center for Catalysis and Surface Science, the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern, and the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center. U.S. News & World Report places NU at No. 15 for best value and No. 10 for National Universities. The university is ranked No. 27 in graduate-level Biological Sciences.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $54,568

#21 – Wake Forest University

Master of Science in Biology

Winston-Salem, NC

Website

Wake Forest University offers a Master of Science in Biology. The degree program aims to prepare graduates to become scholars and teachers in the biological sciences. It includes advanced academic coursework, thesis research, faculty mentorship, and teaching experience. Graduate researchers work in the areas of cell and molecular biology, ecology and evolutionary biology, and integrative biology. All students must write a thesis, give a public seminar on their research, and orally defend their work. The university's Biology Department offers MS students full tuition remission and stipend support for two years of study. 

Wake Forest was established in 1834 due to the efforts of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention. It opened in Wake Forest, North Carolina, as the Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute. Today, it is a private research university in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It operates Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, including a pioneering biotechnology research center. The university's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials also conducts significant lab research. U.S. News & World Report ranks WFU No. 45 in innovation, No. 27 overall nationally, and No. 24 for best value. The university is ranked No. 112 in Biological Sciences at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $53,322

#20 – Rutgers University — Newark 

Master of Science in Biology

Newark, NJ

Website

Rutgers University — Newark offers a Master of Science in Biology. The degree program is designed to build students' analytical problem-solving skills and biology understanding. It prepares graduates for careers in biomedical, ecological, and evolutionary sciences. Students can choose from three tracks: Cell and Molecular Biology, Ecology and Evolution, and Neurobiology. Coursework is often interdisciplinary in nature, incorporating math and other physical sciences. Students are offered opportunities to engage in research with faculty from both Rutgers — Newark and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. 

Rutgers — Newark is a regional campus of Rutgers University. It grew from a 1946 merger with the University of Newark. The public research university is a constituent of the prestigious Association of American Universities. Rutgers operates a third regional campus in Camden, New Jersey. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university the most ethnically diverse university in the nation. The site also lists the university's Newark campus at No. 115 for National Universities, No. 104 for Best Value Schools, and No. 52 for Top Public Schools. It is also ranked at No. 112 in graduate-level studies in Biological Sciences.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,409 in-state; $30,717 out-of-state 

#19 – University of Illinois at Chicago

Master of Science in Biological Sciences

Chicago, IL

Website

The University of Illinois at Chicago offers a Master of Science in Biological Sciences. The degree program is typically only open to students who aim to pursue a Ph.D. from the university, though exceptions are sometimes made. Students may choose to pursue a research or coursework track toward the degree. The research track culminates in a research thesis with an oral defense. The coursework track culminates in a research project and oral presentation. 

UIC began in 1913 as the University of Illinois' Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy. The university was officially established in 1982. Today, it is a public research university that operates the largest medical school in the United States. The campus is located in the Near West Side area of Chicago. It is the largest university in the Chicago area by student enrollment. The university has received the Carnegie Foundation's highest research classification. U.S. News & World Report ranks UIC at No. 129 in both National Universities and Best Value Schools and No. 61 for Top Public Schools. The university is ranked No. 81 in graduate-level Biological Sciences studies.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,764 in-state; $26,980 out-of-state 

#18 – University of Connecticut

Master of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology

Storrs, CT

Website

The University of Connecticut provides a Master of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology. The interdisciplinary degree program offers four focus area options: Cell and Developmental Biology; Genetics and Genomics; Microbiology; and Structural Biology, Biochemistry, and Biophysics. Requirements vary for each concentration. The concentrated programs generally offer both a research-based plan with a thesis requirement or a more coursework-based non-thesis plan. In lieu of a thesis, the non-thesis projects typically require a final oral exam. Most plans of study require a minimum of 30 credit hours toward the degree. Alternatively, students have the option to pursue one of the professional MS degree programs offered by the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. Professional MS degrees are provided in the areas of Applied Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Applied Genomics, and Microbial Systems Analysis.

UConn opened in 1881 as Storrs Agricultural School and is now a public flagship university in Storrs, Connecticut. It is a Carnegie-classified top-tier research university with land, sea, and space grants. The Carnegie Foundation also classifies the school as having particularly selective admissions. It is a founding member institution of New England's Knowledge Corridor. U.S. News & World Report ranks UConn at No. 89 for Best Value Schools, No. 63 for National Universities, and No. 22 for Top Public Schools. The university is also ranked No. 85 in Biological Sciences at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,730 in-state; $38,098 out-of-state 

#17 – University at Buffalo

Master of Science in Biological Sciences

Buffalo, NY

Website

The State University of New York at Buffalo offers a 32-credit Master of Science in Biological Sciences. The degree program explores levels of biology from molecules to populations. The MS in Biological Sciences offers three concentration options, which include Evolutionary Genomics and Population Biology, Molecular Biology of Gene Expression, and Signal Transduction in Sensory Perception and Development. It is designed to be completed in two years on a full-time basis. Graduates of the degree program are prepared to pursue careers in academia, the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, the health field, and research. 

University at Buffalo has the largest enrollment and endowment of all SUNY universities. With campuses in Amherst and Buffalo, SUNY Buffalo is the largest public university in the state of New York. It is a sea- and space-grant institution. U.S. News & World Report lists SUNY Buffalo at No. 102 for Best Value Schools, No. 89 for National Universities, and No. 38 for Top Public Schools. The university is ranked No. 140 in graduate-level Biological Sciences programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,099 in-state; $27,769 out-of-state 

#16 – Georgetown University

Master of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Washington, D.C.

Website

Georgetown University offers a Master of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The degree program is designed for students interested in pursuing research-based careers in academia or the biotechnology or medical industries. It is also suitable for students interested in further advanced study. The degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of study. The curriculum covers areas such as biochemistry, lab research, literature-based research, and molecular and cell biology. Many courses are held in hands-on laboratory learning environments. The MSBMB also offers students opportunities to complete intensive internships in biotechnology centers, government agencies, or on-campus laboratories. The internship program culminates in research presentation sessions.

Founded in 1789, Georgetown is the oldest Catholic-affiliated institution of higher education in the United States. Despite this affiliation, most Georgetown students are not Catholic. The private research university is noted as home to the nation's largest student-run business and financial institution and the oldest continuous student theater troupe. The main campus is located in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. U.S. News & World Report ranks Georgetown at No. 32 for Most Innovative Schools, No. 25 for Best Value Schools, and No. 22 for National Universities. The university is ranked at No. 85 in graduate-level Biological Sciences studies.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $54,104

#15 – Villanova University

Master of Science/Arts in Biology

Radnor Township, PA

Website

Villanova University offers both Master of Arts and Master of Science degree options in Biology. The degree program provides students advanced study through coursework and independent research. The MS program requires 30 credits of study. It includes the written preparation and oral defense of a supervised independent research thesis. The MA program requires 33 credits and does not require a thesis. MA students may choose to concentrate in Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology or Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology. The MA program culminates in a comprehensive written and oral exam. Recent biology course offerings have included Biology of Aging, Cancer Biology, Plant Ecophysiology, and Reptile Evolution.

Villanova was founded in 1842 by two Augustinian friars. Named after Saint Thomas of Villanova, it is the oldest Catholic university in Pennsylvania. The school closed multiple times in its early history due to riots, the financial panic of 1857, and the Civil War. Today, it is a private Roman Catholic research university. The campus is located in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania, 12 miles from Philadelphia. It includes around 1,500 trees. U.S. News & World Report ranks Villanova at No. 49 nationally and No. 48 for best value.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $53,308

#14 – Georgia Institute of Technology

Master of Science in Biology

Atlanta, GA

Website

Georgia Institute of Technology offers a Master of Science in Biology. The school offers two different programs leading to the degree. One is a non-thesis program designed for students who do not wish to pursue research-based careers. The other is a thesis program which combines advanced biology coursework and independent research experience, designed to prepare students for technical jobs or advanced studies in the field. Both programs offer three areas of concentration: Computational Biology and Bioinformatics; Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior; and Molecular and Cell Biology. Both programs require 36 credits of study. Non-thesis students complete the MSB on a full- or part-time basis in three to five semesters. 

Georgia Tech was founded in 1885, partly in response to the industrial revolution happening in the northern United States. It initially only offered a one-degree program in mechanical engineering. Though its emphasis remains on science and engineering, Georgia Tech has evolved into a public research university and institute of technology. U.S. News & World Report lists Georgia Tech at No. 35 nationally, eighth among public schools and fourth for innovation. The university's Department of Biology is ranked No. 54 at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,424 in-state; $33,020 out-of-state 

#13 – California State University, Long Beach

Master of Science in Biology

Long Beach, CA

Website

California State University, Long Beach hosts a Master of Science in Biology. Offered through the university's College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, the degree program is focused on marine biology in particular. Students work directly on research projects with marine biology faculty members. The MSB trains students in experimental design, field and laboratory research, science communication, and statistical analysis. Students also have the option to take courses at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center at Santa Catalina Island. There, a select group of students can pursue a research diving certification. Graduates of the MS program are prepared to work in biological consulting firms, community colleges, or resource management agencies, or to pursue doctoral study.

Long Beach State was established in 1949 by the then-governor of California with the original purpose of serving the educational needs of returning World War II veterans. CSULB has since grown into one of the largest universities in California. Located in Long Beach, the public university is a member of the 23-school California State University System. CSULB is one of the most racially diverse universities on the West Coast. It is also noted as home to one of the largest public art schools in the Western United States. U.S. News & World Report lists CSULB at No. 26 in Regional Universities West and third for Top Public Schools.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,798 in-state; $18,678 out-of-state 

#12 – New York University

Master of Science in Biology

Master of Business Administration

New York, NY

Website

New York University offers a dual degree program leading to a Master of Science in Biology and a Master of Business Administration. The dual MSB/MBA is designed for students who are interested in careers at the intersection of business and life sciences. The two degrees can be earned over three years, rather than the four years it would take to complete each degree independently. The first year of the program is focused on biology courses, while the remaining two years are primarily spent on business requirements. Biology courses include Genomics and Global Public Health and Hot Topics in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. MBA courses include Firms and Markets and Leadership in Organizations. The dual degree program culminates in a business internship and a biology thesis.

NYU was established in 1831 due to the efforts of former United States Secretary of Treasury Albert Gallatin. It has a historic main campus in Greenwich Village of New York City. It also operates campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai and international centers in global cities including Berlin, Paris, London, and Tel Aviv. NYU has one of the largest annual research budgets of any university in the nation. It is associated with many significant discoveries and inventions, including DNA structure and the polio vaccine. At the graduate level, the university is ranked No. 62 in Biological Sciences, No. 12 in Business, and ninth for its executive MBA program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $51,828 

#11 – Northeastern University

Master of Science in Marine Biology

Boston, MA

Website

Northeastern University awards a Master of Science in Marine Biology. The degree program is designed for students who want to either broaden or refine their marine biology understanding. It prepares graduates for doctoral study or careers in marine biology research. Deemed the Three Seas Program, it offers students the opportunity to study marine life in New England, the Pacific Northwest, and the Caribbean. It takes an experimental approach to marine biology education through faculty research collaborations and a marine biology internship with an accompanying research project. Courses include Biology of Corals, Marine Invertebrate Zoology and Botany, and Tropical Terrestrial Ecology. The MS in Marine Biology spans over 15 months of intensive study. 

Northeastern is a private research university that spreads through four neighborhoods of Boston. The university consistently ranks at the top of the Princeton Review's "Best Schools for Internships" list. U.S. News & World Report lists NEU at No. 72 for Best Value Schools. No. 44 for National Universities, and eighth for Most Innovative Schools. The university is ranked at No. 98 in graduate-level Biological Sciences programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $51,522

#10 – University of Virginia

Master of Science/Arts in Biology 

Charlottesville, VA

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The University of Virginia offers both Master of Arts and Master of Science degree options in Biology. The degree program is designed to prepare graduates for doctoral study or careers in conservation, education, public policy, and research. The degree requires 30 credit hours of graduate study. This includes four lectures or labs and a colloquium or journal club. The degree program also requires the successful written completion and oral defense of a research thesis. The MS thesis is typically based on laboratory research, while the MA thesis is based more on independent literature-based research. Either degree program can be completed in two and a half years.

UVA was founded by Founding Father Thomas Jefferson in 1819. Beyond these historic beginnings, the public research university is also noted for its secret societies and student-run honor code. Located in Charlottesville, It was the first university in the South to join the prestigious Association of American Universities. The university's significant research areas include astrophysics, hypersonic flight, neurological diseases, and wind turbines. U.S. News & World Report lists UVA at No. 32 for Most Innovative Schools, No. 28 for Best Value Schools, 25 for National Universities, and third for Top Public Schools. The university is ranked at No. 46 nationally in graduate-level biology programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,653 in-state; $49,032 out-of-state 

#9 – University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Master of Biological Sciences

Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN

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The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities designed its Master of Biological Sciences for working professionals, the degree program is multidisciplinary and career-focused. The MBS requires 30 credit hours of graduate study, where students can choose to follow a degree plan which includes a research project, or one that is built around coursework only. The coursework-only plan culminates in a capstone course, paper, and presentation. Students can take classes from various colleges and departments within the university. These courses must include the areas of biochemistry and bioethics, as well as in two of the following three areas: cellular and organismal biology, environmental and population biology, and molecular biosciences. 

In addition, students can personalize the remainder of their study plan with an academic adviser. The MBS can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Established in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, it is the oldest and largest campus within the system. UMTC is a Carnegie-classified top-tier research university and a member of the Association of American Universities. It is a land- and space-grant institution. The university is also counted among the nation's "Public Ivies." 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,760 in-state; $30,438 out-of-state 

#8 – University of Maryland, College Park

Master of Science in Biological Sciences

College Park, MD

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The University of Maryland, College Park awards a Master of Science in Biological Sciences. The degree program is offered only as a step toward the Ph.D. program. It requires 30 credit hours of graduate study, including six credits of master's thesis research. The curriculum includes two core required courses: Responsible Conduct of Research for Biologists and Teaching & Professional Development in Biology. Students are offered opportunities for teaching assistantships. Students who earn the MS degree must then go on to pursue the university's Ph.D. degree in Biological Sciences.

The University of Maryland is a Carnegie-classified top-tier research institution and a member of the Association of American Universities. It receives significant research support from agencies including NASA and the National Institutes of Health. U.S. News & World Report ranks UMD at No. 63 nationally and No. 22 among public schools. The university's graduate-level Biological Sciences programs rank at No. 62 nationally. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,595 in-state; $35,216 out-of-state 

#7 – Tufts University

Master of Science in Biology

Medford and Somerville, MA

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Tufts University offers a Master of Science in Biology. The degree program builds students' creative and critical thinking skills through coursework, seminars, and research experience in contemporary biology. Students can choose from five concentrations: Developmental Biology; Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution; Genetics and Molecular Biology; Global Change Biology; and Physiology, Neurobiology, and Biomechanics. Students also have the option to follow a part-time program with a focus in Functional Genomics, which helps prepare graduates for biotechnology careers. The MS program is available in a full-time format and a part-time format designed for working professionals. The part-time program involves evening courses and can be completed within two years. 

Tufts was founded in 1852 by Christian universalists. Originally a nonsectarian liberal arts college, it is now a private research university. It emphasizes active citizenship, public service, and internationalism. It operates four campuses in the Boston metropolitan area and the French Alps. The university has joint programs and partnerships with institutions including the University of Paris, the University of London, and nearby Harvard and MIT. U.S. News & World Report ranks Tufts at No. 45 for Most Innovative Schools, No. 27 for National Universities, and No. 26 for Best Value Schools. The university's Department of Biology is ranked No. 73 nationally at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $56,382

#6 – Texas A&M University

Master of Science in Biology

College Station, TX

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Texas A&M University awards a Master of Science in Biology. The degree program is designed to develop students' understanding of biology through creative and research-based approaches. TAMU's thesis track requires 32 credits of study, while the non-thesis track requires 36 credits. The non-thesis program typically culminates in a final comprehensive exam. Course offerings include Biological Clocks, Cell Biology, Microbial Genetics, and Plant Molecular Biology. Students also have opportunities to attend presentations given by biological scientists. Students are also encouraged to participate in science journal discussion clubs.

Texas A&M has grown into the largest university in Texas and the second-largest in the United States by student enrollment. Located in College Station, the public research university is the founding member of the Texas A&M University System. It is a land, sea, and space grant institution and a member of the Association of American Universities. U.S. News & World Report ranks A&M at No. 66 nationally, No. 44 for best value, No. 37 for innovation, and No. 24 among public schools. The university's graduate biology programs are ranked at No. 62 nationally. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,870 in-state; $37,495 out-of-state 

#5 – University of Pennsylvania

Master of Science in Oral Biology

Philadelphia, PA

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The University of Pennsylvania offers a Master of Science in Oral Biology. The degree program is only available as a concurrent program for students enrolled in one of the university's postgraduate dental training programs. The MS in Oral Biology is designed to offer students opportunities for extensive research and evidence-based learning in oral biology. Students can choose a track built around hands-on research activities or one built around literature-based research. Depending on their selected track, students are expected to participate in either a significant research project or literature review. An oral presentation on the research project or literature review is required. 

UPenn was founded in 1740 by Founding Father Benjamin Franklin and home to the nation's first collegiate schools of business and medicine and its first student union. The private research university is a member of the United States' prestigious Ivy League. U.S. News & World Report ranks Penn at No. 32 in innovation, No. 12 for best value, and eighth nationally. The university ranks at No. 23 in graduate-level Biological Sciences programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $55,584

#4 – University of California, Irvine

Master of Science in Biotechnology

Irvine, CA

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The University of California, Irvine awards a Master of Science in Biotechnology. The degree program teaches students to apply an understanding of biology, chemistry, and chemical engineering to solve problems in agriculture, chemical manufacturing, and medicine. In the first year of the program, students begin participating in technical laboratory research in areas such as protein isolation, animal cell culture, and DNA methodology. Students can also expect to work with faculty on research projects. The MSB's areas of study also include the structure and biosynthesis of nucleic acids and proteins, product development and marketing, and research methods. 

UC Irvine is a public land-grant university is classified in the top tier of research universities by the Carnegie Foundation. UC Irvine is noted for its teaching hospital and health sciences system, for its arboretum and natural reserve, and the nation's first university earth system science department. U.S. News & World Report ranks UCI at No. 45 for Most Innovative Schools, No. 33 for National Universities, and seventh for Top Public Schools. The university is ranked No. 33 nationally in Biological Sciences at the graduate level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,700 in-state; $42,692 out-of-state 

#3 – Stanford University

Master of Science in Biology

Stanford, CA

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Stanford University offers a Master of Science in Biology. The coterminal master's program is only available to current Stanford students, such as undergraduates and students enrolled in other graduate programs. It is suitable for students seeking advanced coursework and research experience in biology. Students without a BS in Biology may be required to take additional preparatory coursework. The MS degree requires 45 units of academic credit. Stanford designed the MSB to be a terminal degree and is not a route to the doctoral program. However, the university does offer a Ph.D. in Biology for interested students.

Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their son. Leland Stanford was a U.S. Senator, former Governor of California, and railroad tycoon. The university opened in 1891 as coeducation and nondenominational school. Today, it is a private research university in Stanford, California. The university and its alumni have played a major role in the development of Silicon Valley nearby. Stanford is part of Biohub, a medical science research center founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg. U.S. News & World Report ranks Stanford seventh overall in the nation and fifth for both value and innovation. The university is also ranked first nationally in graduate-level Biological Sciences programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $51,354

#2 – University of California, Los Angeles

Master of Science in Oral Biology

Los Angeles, CA

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The University of California, Los Angeles awards a Master of Science in Oral Biology through its School of Dentistry. The degree program is open to scholars with dental degrees and seeks additional research experience. It requires 36 units of study, which includes core courses, electives, and a culminating thesis and defense. Students can expect to start working in laboratory environments during their first year of study. Students are also expected to identify their chosen research area and faculty member by the end of their first year. Fields of study include bone biology, cancer surveillance, neurobiology, and pathology. 

UCLA opened its doors to California in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California. Originally a teacher training school, it is now a public research university and a member of the University of California system. A land-grant institution, Notable UCLA health discoveries include the first AIDS diagnosis and developments in the use of brain scanning technology and nitric oxide. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,226 in-state; $42,218 out-of-state 

#1 – University of California, Berkeley

Master of Science in Integrative Biology

Berkeley, CA

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Grad School Hub's No. 1 Master's Degree in Biology for 2020 is available through the University of California, Berkeley. The university's Master of Science in Integrative Biology is only provided to students who are admitted to the Ph.D. in Integrative Biology program. However, the master's degree is not required for the Ph.D., and some students decide to withdraw from the MSIB with a terminal master's degree instead. Master's students may choose to follow a thesis plan that requires 20-semester units of graduate study. Alternatively, students can choose a non-thesis plan requiring 24 units and culminating in a comprehensive exam. Graduate course offerings include seminars in biomechanics, ecology, evolution, isotopics, and paleontology. Founded in 1868, Berkeley now has close research relationships with three United States Department of Energy National Laboratories. Berkeley researchers have discovered 16 chemical elements of the periodic table and invented the cyclotron particle accelerator. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,184 in-state; $43,176 out-of-state