Best Research Universities for Biology Degrees

The best biology research universities are those with rich histories of influence, proven through the work produced by the program’s faculty and alumni. Beyond demonstrating scholarly impact in the field, the best biology degree programs maximize your opportunities to interact with outstanding biology faculty.

Best Research Universities for Biology Degrees

A bachelor’s degree in biology is an excellent starting point for a career in zoology, ecology, botany, and a host of other fascinating STEM fields. As a biology major, you’ll study the full spectrum of life sciences. Your biology degree may incorporate subjects such as evolutionary biology, biochemistry, and microbiology, as well as foundational courses in subjects like human anatomy and biodiversity. The best schools for biology are those which are regionally accredited, which offer a full array of biology concentrations, and which give you the chance to work with the best and most influential professors and classmates.

Degree popularity: Biology bachelor’s degrees are the 6th most popular undergraduate degrees across all student demographics. It’s slightly more popular among women, and ranks the 4th most popular degree among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, according to the number of degree earners reported by the National Center for Educational Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions About Biology Bachelor’s Degrees

Once you’ve declared you major in biology, the common requirements include:

  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biology and/or Biochemistry
  • Physics
  • Calculus
  • Statistics

Biology majors are also expected to engage in original research, working at on-campus laboratories or research facilities, as well as in the field. They will work closely with faculty, laboratory support staff, and teaching fellows as they explore areas of scientific interest. Most colleges include a senior capstone project based on original research, presented via poster, workshop, keynote, or other presentation.

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Biology is a good major for anyone interested in life, living things, and what makes them tick at the macro and micro levels. Whether you have an interest in human anatomy, cell biology, neuroscience, or animal physiology, a degree in biology can prepare you for work in fields as diverse as marine biology, neuroscience, medicine, and more.

Biology is a popular major because it can provide a pathway into countless fields and career opportunities. If you’re looking for a well-paying and secure job, a biology degree is a great place to start. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in the life, physical, and social sciences will grow at a rate of 5 percent between now and 2029. This is faster than the average rate for all occupations. Likewise, the median annual wage for life, physical, and social science occupations was $68,160 in 2019, as compared to a median wage for all occupations of $39,810. Whether studying humans, animals, plants, insects, microscopic cells of bacteria, or even pondering the existence of life in space, a biology degree can provide you with the knowledge, skills, and credentials to work in a wide range of professional settings.

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Biology is a hard major for many because the language of science seems so unfamiliar. Biology is not as math intensive as other fields such as chemistry, but you will need to learn the basics of calculus and statistics. However, for students passionate about the study of biology and where they hope it leads them in their careers, successfully completing a major in biology is achievable.

Obviously, having a propensity in the hard sciences is helpful. This isn’t to say that you need special background knowledge. Just like any other college degree, a planned path to a major in biology should have you adequately prepared.

As a biology major, you will hone your research and observation skills, develop strategies for collection and evaluation of data, and acquire the language of science so you can effectively present your research.

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Once you’ve declared your major in biology, you will likely be required to complete a set of core courses in STEM-related subject areas. While your concentration will give you a chance to choose from a wide range of highly-specialized biology electives, there are a number of common courses that most biology majors will be required to take, including:

  • Biostatistics
  • Biochemistry
  • Human Anatomy
  • Microbiology
  • Marine Biology
  • Genetics
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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Biology Degree jobs include Medical Lab Technician, Forensic Science Technician, Zoologist, Environmental Scientist, and Chemist. Students often study biology as preparation for a professional program (pre-med, pre-veterinary, etc.) That doesn’t mean that you have to get an advanced degree to begin using your biology degree. A bachelor’s degree in biology can prepare you for many jobs in medicine, zoology, and chemistry. Here are some of the professions you could explore:

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Best Research Universities for Biology Degree Programs

Frequently Asked Questions About Research Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Online Colleges

In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.

Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. These schools offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.

Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.

  • Consider whether you are self motivated enough to be a face in the crowd for some classes and largely unknown on campus at a large university. Of course you can find clubs and friends at a large university, but often liberal arts colleges have a more personal quality to them. If you want the community feel, a research university may not fit you well.
  • Are you interested in STEM fields? Research universities have that name for a reason – real research is happening there. This can create an exciting atmosphere for students interested in STEM. Attending a research university can give you a better chance of getting into better programs for graduate degrees, although a lot of that depends on your performance.

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Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

  • Do you want your professors to know you? Liberal arts colleges strive to cultivate campus cultures that encourage tight bonds between professors and students. Professors at these schools will typically conduct original research. Yet the best of these schools offer their faculty reduced teaching loads so that they can both be productive researchers and still have plenty of time for students (both in and outside the classroom).
  • Do you want to feel like you know everybody? One of the most enticing features of a liberal arts college is that in very little time, you can feel like you know who’s who, which can create strong friendships, but also more pleasurable walks across campus. While your sports teams may never be on ESPN, it’s more likely that you’ll know the athletes as your peers. Beyond student and faculty relationships, it’s not unusual for the school president and other administrators to learn who you are. When faced with problems with your student account or the need to switch classes, this can be comforting during a stressful moment.

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Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.

  • Are you a self-driven student? Perhaps the hardest aspect of obtaining an online degree is whether you will be disciplined enough to manage your time and course demands. Many online students report that online college made them more disciplined in all areas of their lives, but the flexible, self-paced learning that makes online colleges attractive can often be the same qualities that make it difficult. If you tend to be a procrastinator, you need to be honest with yourself. You can change your habits and propensities, or you can throw money down the drain.
  • Do you need the flexibility of an online degree program? Most online students study online because of time demands balancing work and life, or becuase the online colleges afford them the chance to attend a better school without moving. If you are serious about earning your degree for career advancement, online colleges make it possible. The most flexible options among online degrees are those that are aynchronous, meaning you don’t have scheduled times to meet with your class online. However, many students seek synchronous online degree programs so that they have some structure – set meeting times, scheduled exams, etc.
  • The good news is that attending an online college doesn’t mean you will miss out on getting to know your professors and classmates. In fact, many online students who have experienced both online and on-campus courses report having easier access to their professors. Since most communication with your professor is expected to be in text – via email or your class learning management system – it makes asking your questions easier. The same students also report that they got to better know the thoughts of their classmates. While in-person course conversations can be dominated by a few extroverts, online courses that require online discussions make it so that you see all of your classmates’ thoughts and questions.

If you interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.

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If you think a liberal arts college may be a better fit for you, see our ranking of the best liberal arts colleges for a bachelor’s in biology.

How do we determine the best biology research universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Influence”.

The influence of a college or university is based on the schools’ top academic influencers related to the discipline in this ranking. We track the influence of faculty and alumni affialiate with these school counting not only the publicaitons and citations of the school’s affiliated people, but we also consider the overall web presense of the faculty and alumni. The greater the citations, authority of web links, web searches, and pageviews, the greater the individuals’ influence. Those combined make up the departments’ influence in the field of study. We believe tracking the academic influence of the people affiliated with a school is the best indicator of academic excellence.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching, and whether their graduates themselves are advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence. Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and misuesed performance metrics. Influence, as measured by our InfluenceRanking engine, provides a ranking that is more insulated from manipulation, and more reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Best Research Universities for Biology Degrees

  1. #1

    Harvard University

    #1 institution's historical influence
    #2 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    98%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

    Cambridge, MA

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    What is Harvard University known for?

    Harvard University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Law
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    Harvard Biology

    Harvard University’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology offers students three undergraduate concentrations:

    • Molecular and Cellular Biology (also offered as an MCB Secondary Field offering for students wishing to focus on a new field)
    • Neuroscience
    • Chemical and Physical Biology
    • Integrative Biology
    • Human Evolutionary Biology

    The school’s Integrative Biology program offers students the opportunity to study biology across disciplines, exploring fields such as neurobiology, marine biology, mathematical and computational biology, biogeography, molecular systems, and plant biology.

    Students at Harvard University benefit from world-class faculty with impeccable research outputs. All students will need to complete the general education core requirements, as well as 64 credits in the discipline of their choice. For biology students, this requirement also mandates a minimum of one term of laboratory research.

    Faculty in Harvard University’s biology programs may experience large class sizes, particularly during the first two years of study, but class sizes do tend to drop in the higher levels. The school’s tutorial program creates mentorship opportunities for students, giving them access to faculty and tutors for one-on-one attention throughout their learning journey.

    The school offers world-class research facilities where students and scholars study primate and human cognition, behavioral endocrinology, anatomy, and more. Among these facilities are the Harvard Center for Biological Imaging, the Small Molecule Mass Spectrometry Facility, Bauer Core Facility, and the Center for Nanoscale Systems.

    Students are encouraged to use an interdisciplinary approach to their research, and electives for these programs (except Integrative Biology, which is inherently interdisciplinary) can range from psychology to computer science.

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  2. #2

    Stanford University

    #10 institution's historical influence
    #1 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    5%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/33

    Stanford, CA

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    What is Stanford University known for?

    Stanford University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Physics
    • Law

    Most Influential Alumni

    Stanford Biology

    Stanford University’s Department of Biology offers numerous concentrations for students wishing to study biology. After completing core institutional requirements, students can choose to complete a general biology degree or specialize any of the following:

    • Biochemistry/Biophysics
    • Computational Biology
    • Ecology and Evolution
    • Marine Biology
    • Microbes and Immunity
    • Molecular, Cellular and Developmental
    • Neurobiology

    To graduate, Stanford University students must earn at least 180 units, with the typical course worth 3 units. For students who wish to go on to earn a master’s degree, Stanford offers a Coterminal Master’s Program that will allow them to begin their graduate coursework while working on their undergraduate coursework.

    Almost 90% of biology students at Stanford conduct independent research as part of their studies. Stanford is home to the Carnegie Department of Plant Biology, the Jasper Ridge Biological Reserve, and the Hopkins Marine Station. Some of the current research areas explored by students include:

    • Biochemistry
    • Computational Biology
    • Developmental Biology
    • Marine Biology
    • Physiology
    • Population Biology

    Stanford University’s Biology Department is staffed with world-class faculty and supported by partnerships with organizations such as the Woods Institute, Bio-X, and Wu Tsai Neuro. It is through such partnerships that Stanford University students gain real world experience by working shoulder to shoulder with current experts in the field. Graduates from a Stanford biology program will be prepared for further study in biology as well as other fields such as veterinary sciences, medicine, or other applied sciences.

    The institution has invested heavily in diversity and inclusion policies and champion the use of culturally aware mentoring practices as they support students.

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  3. #3

    Yale University

    #5 institution's historical influence
    #4 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1515/34

    New Haven, CT

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    What is Yale University known for?

    Yale University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

    Yale Biology

    Yale University’s biology programs span several departments and programs. Four-year degree programs at the school require the completion of 36 term courses within 8 terms of enrollment. The school offers four undergraduate programs specifically dedicated to the biological sciences, including a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) in:

    • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    • Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
    • Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
    • Neuroscience

    Research facilities at Yale University are among the best in the world. Students studying biology at Yale can learn and perform research via their many research facilities, including the Center for Science and Social Science Information, the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, the Peabody Museum of Natural History, the Keck Biotechnology Resource Laboratory, the Yale Center for Genome Analysis, and the Yale Center for Molecular Discovery. Research facilities on campus meet the needs of students in many specialties, from the Marsh Botanical Garden for research of botanicals to the DNA Analysis Facility on Science Hill for DNA sequencing studies.

    Yale’s interdisciplinary approach to modern biology is reflected in the diversity of options for students. Beyond undergraduate studies, students can move into more specialized disciplines such as:

    • Comparative Medicine
    • Cell Biology
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Immunobiology
    • Microbial Pathogenesis

    Core classes at Yale are generally very large, but as students move into their chosen specialties, they begin to see smaller class sizes and more personalized attention. Faculty at Yale are among the most highly respected in their fields, giving students the opportunity to learn from some of the greatest minds in the biological sciences. Students will work with faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate schools to hone their skills in research, analysis, and synthesis.

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  4. #4

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    #9 institution's historical influence
    #3 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $53K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1540/35

    Cambridge, MA

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    What is Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for?

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Economics
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    MIT Biology

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s ranks among the most prolific and prestigious research universities in the world. Students will have access to world-class research facilities such as the Center for Automated Cryogenic Electron Microscopy, the Genetically Engineer Models Core Facility, Metabolite Profiling Core Facility, and W.M. Keck Microscopy Facility. Students at MIT conduct research in many fields, including computational biology, microbiology, immunology, genetics, cancer biology, stem cell and developmental biology, and are at the forefront of research breakthroughs in these fields and more. Undergraduate research is a key element of the school’s biology programs.

    MIT offers robust student engagement opportunities in the sciences, with organizations such as the MIT Biotech Group, the MIT Microbiome Club, tutoring services and much more.

    Their three undergraduate biology programs are as follows:

    • Biology (Course 7)
    • Chemistry and Biology (Course 5-7)
    • Computer Science and Molecular Biology (Course 6-7)

    Each of MIT’s programs require 17 subjects (as MIT refers to classes) in General Institute Requirements. These classes make up the general education core requirements for the school. Individual majors (or, as MIT calls them, courses) then require an additional 169-174 biology subjects as well as up to 62 unrestricted electives.

    You can also choose to double major. MIT’s Bachelor of Science in Biology program (Course 7) offers students the flexibility to explore interdisciplinary interests ranging from art to religion. Some of the most popular options include:

    • Biology/Biological Engineering
    • Biology/Chemistry
    • Biology/ Chemical Engineering

    Biology is also offered as an academic minor and may be picked up after the student’s first year of study has been completed.

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  5. #5

    Columbia University

    #3 institution's historical influence
    #6 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

    New York, NY

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    What is Columbia University known for?

    Columbia University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    Columbia Biology

    Columbia University offers several tracks for prospective students interested in studying biology. The school prides itself on a multidisciplinary approach to the sciences and biology students benefit from this holistic approach. Undergraduates can choose from the following programs, which require 124 credits to graduate:

    • Biology major*
    • Biochemistry*
    • Biophysics
    • Neuroscience and Behavior*
    • Environmental Biology
    • Evolutionary Biology of the Human Species

    *availble also as a minor

    Columbia University is home to world-class research facilities. Undergraduates can conduct research at a number of well-funded labs equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Among these facilities are:

    • CERC Center for Environmental Research and Conservation
    • Science and Engineering Library
    • Molecular Biology Facility— equipped with cutting-edge real-time PCR
    • Proteomics Facility— equipped with gas chromatographs, mass spectrometers, and liquid chromatography equipment
    • Faculty laboratories

    Research interests among biology students vary, but Columbia University has the faculty and facilities to support student research in molecular biology, chemical biology, cellular biology, molecular genetics, developmental biology, structural biology, molecular biophysics, computational biology, systems biology and much more. Faculty members at Columbia University are highly regarded as experts in their fields. Each faculty member runs a laboratory exploring a different aspect of biology, giving students many opportunities to explore different subfields and interests in biology. Students who wish to work with a faculty member can apply to work within that faculty member’s laboratory.

    Columbia also maintains partnerships with area institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Botanical Garden, the EcoHealth Alliance, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Through these partnerships, students are able to gain relevant experience working with professionals in the field.

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  6. #6

    Johns Hopkins University

    #22 institution's historical influence
    #21 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1510/34

    Baltimore, MD

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    What is Johns Hopkins University known for?

    Johns Hopkins University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

    Johns Hopkins Biology

    Johns Hopkins University is home to one of the country’s very first biology departments, as well as 27 world-class research laboratories. Its outstanding reputation as a center for health and research is well-known around the world, and Johns Hopkins University holds a place of special importance as a leader in public health education efforts.

    Bachelor’s Degree— 120 credits to complete

    • B.A. in Biology
    • B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology

    Combined Master’s

    • B.S./M.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology— 4+1 program building on the B.S. program, allowing the student to complete the master’s degree with one additional year of study

    Undergraduates at Johns Hopkins University will have the opportunity to participate in research efforts ongoing at the school’s laboratories. Paid research work is not eligible for credit, but unpaid work can help students gain experience and make progress towards their degree. With over two dozen to choose from, there is sure to be a lab that will suit every student. Many of the labs at the school are specific to the principal investigator and the research they are conducting. The Andrew Lab studies cell dynamics and the Cohen Lab studies biology of the brain. Course credits are available for unpaid research efforts in on-campus labs.

    The school is also home to the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Genetic Medicine, and the Brain Science Institute, among other highly esteemed think tanks and research facilities. Students at JHU will benefit from their proximity to real science having real impacts on the world around them and be well prepared for the career or graduate school of their choosing.

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  7. #7

    University of Pennsylvania

    #16 institution's historical influence
    #10 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    28K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

    Philadelphia, PA

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    What is University of Pennsylvania known for?

    University of Pennsylvania’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Law
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

    UPenn Biology Major Concentrations:

    • Computational and Mathematical Biology
    • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    • Mechanisms of Disease
    • Molecular and Cell Biology
    • Neurobiology

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  8. #8

    University of California, Berkeley

    #6 institution's historical influence
    #29 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    17%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    43K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1430/33

    Berkeley, CA

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    What is University of California, Berkeley known for?

    University of California, Berkeley’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Physics
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • Chemistry
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

    UC Berkeley Biology

    University of California at Berkeley’s biology programs are divided among numerous on-campus colleges. This is reflective of the university’s understanding of biology as an interdisciplinary field. With many concentrations to choose from, students have the flexibility to chart a path toward their personal education goals.

    College of Letters & Science

    • Molecular & Cell Biology
    • Integrative Biology
    • Earth & Planetary Sciences

    College of Natural Resources

    • Molecular Environmental Biology
    • Nutritional Science
    • Genetics and Plant Biology
    • Microbial Biology
    • Conservation & Resource Studies
    • Forestry & Natural Resources
    • Environmental Sciences

    College of Chemistry

    • Chemical Biology

    College of Engineering

    • Bioengineering

    Interdisciplinary

    • Public Health

    Research opportunities at Berkeley are supported by world-class facilities, faculty, and scholarships. Students can apply for research funding via institutions such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship or the Innovation Grant for Underrepresented Researchers of Color. Core facilities across campus include the Computational Genomics Resource Laboratory, QB3/Chemistry Mass Spectrometry Facility, Biomolecular Nanotechnology Center, and Central California 900 MHz NMR Facility.

    The College of Letters & Science’s Division of Biological Sciences has over 100 full-time faculty who work closely with students using cutting edge technology and research best practices. Within the Division are the Department of Integrative Biology, the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, and even an opportunity to take the Scientific Diving Program, which provides SCUBA certification.

    Students can also apply to research within some of the other prominent research units on and off campus, including the Electron Microscope Laboratory, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, UC Botanical Garden, and the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences.

    Source

  9. #9

    University of Chicago

    #7 institution's historical influence
    #8 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1535/34

    Chicago, IL

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    What is University of Chicago known for?

    University of Chicago’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Economics
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Law
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

    University of Chicago Biology

    University of Chicago’s Biological Sciences Collegiate Division offers two undergraduate majors and numerous specializations. The biological sciences major can be completed as a minor, a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science, and these choices offer divergent paths. The Bachelor of Arts program offers a comprehensive survey of biology while leaving time and space for students to explore interests in other fields, whereas the Bachelor of Science program is a thesis-based program that provides a deep dive into the biological sciences.

    For students working on the Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences program, the college offers the following specializations:

    • Cancer Biology
    • Cell and Molecular Biology
    • Ecology and Evolution
    • Endocrinology
    • Genetics
    • Global Health Sciences
    • Immunology
    • Microbiology
    • Quantitative Biology

    The Biological Sciences Collegiate Division also offers a major and minor in Neuroscience. Another option for biology students is their minor in Computational Neuroscience. The school offers many opportunities for funding and support for academic research. The Marine Biological Laboratory provides facilities for research and the College Center for Research and Fellowships is available to help students in their research pursuits.

    Major programs at the University of Chicago require a minimum of 4200 earned units for graduation. Each course is weighted, on average, as 100 units. The Committee on Clinical and Translational Science offers interdisciplinary training opportunities to students within the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division. Even undergraduate students can find research projects within health and the social sciences. Through these programs, students gain relevant experience working shoulder to shoulder with faculty, industry professionals, and graduate students.

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  10. #10

    Cornell University

    #15 institution's historical influence
    #14 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $59K

    Acceptance

    11%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1480/33

    Ithaca, NY

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    What is Cornell University known for?

    Cornell University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    Cornell University Office of Undergraduate Biology

    Cornell University offers undergraduate degrees in biology through various schools. The 120-hour biology degree programs offered at Cornell are listed below and are offered across campus by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, and others.

    • Biological Sciences— B.S., minor
    • Biology and Society— Interdisciplinary with the College of Arts and Sciences/College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
    • Human Biology, Health and Society— Interdisciplinary
    • Plant Sciences— B.S., minor
    • Fungal Biology— minor
    • Viticulture and Enology— B.S., minor

    The diversity of programs offers many tracks for students interested in a career in a biology-related field. For those who wish to enter a public health role, the degrees in Human Biology, Health and Society or Biology and Society degrees are ideal. For those pursuing environmental and ecological fields, Plant Sciences would be the right choice.

    Biological Sciences majors are required to declare a concentration before they begin taking upper-level classes. Students may choose from the following concentrations:

    • Animal Physiology
    • Biochemistry
    • Biodiversity and Systematics
    • Computational Biology
    • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    • General Biology
    • Genetics, Genomics and Development
    • Human Nutrition
    • Insect Biology
    • Marine Biology
    • Microbiology
    • Molecular and Cell Biology
    • Neurobiology and Behavior
    • Plant Biology

    Cornell University maintains an active database of faculty research projects for students to begin their search for opportunities. There are labs devoted to the study of molecular biology and genetics, nutritional sciences, disease pathogenesis, biomedical sciences, immunology, and cell biology. Cornell has the resources to support individual and collaborative research and offers regular undergraduate research events spotlighting topics of interest to Cornell students.

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  11. #11

    Duke University

    #27 institution's historical influence
    #12 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    8%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1525/34

    Durham, NC

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    What is Duke University known for?

    Duke University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Philosophy
    • Literature
    • Business
    • Law
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    Duke Biology Major

    Duke University offers two biology programs. The Bachelor of Arts in Biology (34 total class credits) is intended for students who either want to teach biology or use knowledge of biology in other fields such as law and policy. The Bachelor of Science in Biology (34 total class credits) is for students planning to have a career in biology or a related field. Duke also offers a minor in Biology that requires 5 biology courses in addition to the student’s degree program in another discipline.

    Students at Duke University explore many fields within the biological sciences, including:

    • Functional Biology
    • Comparative Physiology
    • Functional Morphology
    • Evolutionary Ecology
    • Macroevolution
    • Molecular Genetics

    Duke is home to many world-class research facilities, such as the Duke Environmental Stable Isotope Laboratory, the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, the Light Microscopy Core Facility, Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Duke Marine Lab. Students also perform off-campus research at the North Carolina Supercomputing Center, the Highlands Biological Station, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

    As a Tier 1 research university, Duke University has both the facilities and staff available to support student research initiatives. Students can choose between volunteer, paid, and work study research positions, or take on an independent study project on campus or elsewhere. Most students begin their research work in their junior or senior year after completing the college core and some initial biology coursework.

    Class sizes at Duke are rather large for the 100-200 level courses and those numbers drop off as students move into more specialized course work. Seminars, for example, have generally fewer than 20 students per class.

    Source

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  12. #12

    California Institute of Technology

    #30 institution's historical influence
    #9 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    7%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1545/35

    Pasadena, CA

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    What is California Institute of Technology known for?

    California Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Economics
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

    Caltech Biology

    The California Institute of Technology, also known as Caltech, has offered high-quality instruction in biology since the early days of the school. An impressive 3-1 student/faculty ratio at Caltech ensure that students receive the attention they need to succeed.

    The biology department offers many avenues for research and study, including degree programs in:

    • Biology (also available as a minor)
    • Bioengineering
    • Computation and Neural Systems

    Caltech’s undergraduate programs run in three 10-week terms with full-time enrollment classified as 45-51 credits (5-6 classes) per term. All freshmen at Caltech take the same courses the first year, making up Caltech’s core curriculum. In all, students will need to earn 486 units with a GPA of no less than 1.9.

    Students are encouraged to conduct research during their studies at Caltech, which is home to seven state of the art research facilities, including the Broad Center for the Biological Sciences and the Mabel and Arnold Beckman Laboratories of Behavioral Biology. The Caltech campus is also home to a monoclonal antibody production facility and a high throughput sequencing and microarray analysis facility.

    Students use these facilities to conduct experiments in emergent fields of inquiry in biology such as:

    • Molecular Biology
    • Neurobiology
    • Genetics
    • Genomic and Computational Biology
    • Microbiology
    • Virology
    • Immunology

    The Biological Sciences department recognizes the interdisciplinary nature of the sciences, working closely with the Divisions of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Physics, and Earth Sciences. The program’s faculty and alumni are widely recognized, with ten National Medals of Science and nine Nobel Prizes to their credit.

    Source

  13. #13

    University of Michigan

    #12 institution's historical influence
    #37 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    26%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    45K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/32

    Ann Arbor, MI

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    What is University of Michigan known for?

    University of Michigan’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

    UMich Biology Major Concentrations:

    • Biology
    • Biology, Health & Society
    • Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology
    • CMBS (Joint Program with Biomedical Engineering)
    • Ecology, Evolution, & Biodiversity
    • General Biology
    • Microbiology
    • Plant Biology
    • Neuroscience

    Source

  14. #14

    University of California, Los Angeles

    #20 institution's historical influence
    #31 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    14%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    45K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

    Los Angeles, CA

    View profile

    What is University of California, Los Angeles known for?

    University of California, Los Angeles’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Law
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    UCLA Biology Major Concentrations:

    • Biology
    • Cognitive Science
    • Computational & Systems Biology
    • Ecology, Behavior and Evolution
    • Human Biology and Society
    • Integrative Biology and Physiology
    • Marine Biology
    • Microbiology, Immunology, & Molecular Genetics
    • Molecular, Cell Developmental Biology
    • Neuroscience
    • Psychobiology

    Source

  15. #15

    Washington University in St. Louis

    #65 institution's historical influence
    #20 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    16%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1520/34

    Saint Louis, MO

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    What is Washington University in St. Louis known for?

    Washington University in St. Louis’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Law
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Literature
    • Physics
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    Washington University in St. Louis Biology

    Washington University in St. Louis’s Department of Biology is anchored by 49 full-time faculty who are internationally recognized in their fields. The school is home to or partnered with the Jeanette Goldfarb Plant Growth Facility, Bayer Laboratory, the International Center for Energy, Environment, & Sustainability, Missouri Botanical Garden, and Center for Engineering Mechanobiology. Each of these affiliations represent opportunities for students to work in real labs, solving real problems, in real time. Students will also have access to top of the line imaging and computing equipment, as well as a scientific editing service to help faculty and students put their best foot forward.

    The school offers seven biology degrees by way of five biology tracks. These degrees require the student to earn at least 120 credits and are organized as follows:

    • Biology
      • Ecology and Evolution Track
      • Genomics and Computational Biology Track
      • Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Track
      • Neuroscience Track
      • Microbiology Track
      • Environmental Biology

    Students at Washington University in St. Louis’s Department of Biology will have the support and guidance to explore many subfields and disciplines within the field of biology. Faculty and students are currently engaged in research in areas such as:

    • Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering
    • Developmental, Regenerative, & Stem Cell Biology
    • Biochemistry, Biophysics, & Structural Biology
    • Evolution, Ecology, & Population Biology
    • Molecular Microbiology & Microbial Pathogenesis
    • Neuroscience
    • Plant & Microbial Biosciences

    Washington University in St. Louis is dedicated to helping students sharpen their research and presentation skills, which is reflected in the vast resources available to help students. The Natural Sciences Learning Center exists as a study center for biology majors, offered in addition to the campus-wide Learning Center resources available to all students.

    Source

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  16. #16

    University of Washington

    #28 institution's historical influence
    #69 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1345/30

    Seattle, WA

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    What is University of Washington known for?

    University of Washington’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Physics
    • Literature
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

    University of Washington Biology Degree Programs

    • B.A. General Biology
    • B.S General Biology
    • B.S. Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation Biology
    • B.S. Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology
    • B.S. Physiology
    • B.S. Plant Biology

    Source

  17. #17

    Brown University

    #33 institution's historical influence
    #7 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    8%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1505/34

    Providence, RI

    View profile

    What is Brown University known for?

    Brown University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

    Brown Biology Major Concentrations:

    • Biology AB
    • Biology ScB
    • Health & Human Biology
    • Applied Mathematics-Biology
    • Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    • Biophysics
    • Computational Biology
    • Neuroscience
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Geology-Biology

    Source

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  18. #18

    New York University

    #17 institution's historical influence
    #44 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    49K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1440/32

    New York, NY

    View profile

    What is New York University known for?

    New York University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Business
    • Law
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Medical
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    NYU Biology Major Concentrations:

    • Biology: General
    • Ecology
    • Global Public Heath Biology
    • Coterminal BS/MS

    Source

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  19. #19

    University of Southern California

    #31 institution's historical influence
    #30 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    16%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    40K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    Los Angeles, CA

    View profile

    What is University of Southern California known for?

    University of Southern California’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Law
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

    USC Department Of Biological Sciences, Undergraduate Programs

    • BA or BS in Biological Sciences
    • BA or BS in Human Biology

    USC Biology Minors

    • Biology of Human Movement
    • Biotechnology
    • Human Disease
    • Natural Science
    • Neuroscience
    • Marine Biology

    Source

  20. #20

    Vanderbilt University

    #95 institution's historical influence
    #16 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    12%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1510/34

    Nashville, TN

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    What is Vanderbilt University known for?

    Vanderbilt University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Law
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

    Vanderbilt Biology Major Concentrations:

    • Biological Sciences
    • Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology
    • Molecular and Cellular Biology

    Source

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  21. #21

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    #61 institution's historical influence
    #38 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    25%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1405/30

    Chapel Hill, NC

    View profile

    What is University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill known for?

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Law
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

    UNC Chapel Hill Biology Major Areas for Specialization

    • Animal behavior
    • Biomechanics
    • Botany
    • Cell biology
    • Developmental biology
    • Ecology
    • Evolutionary biology
    • Genetics
    • Genomics
    • Marine biology
    • Molecular biology
    • Neurobiology
    • Organismal biology
    • Physiology
    • Plant biology

    Source

  22. #22

    University of California, San Diego

    #53 institution's historical influence
    #71 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    37%

    Graduation

    87%

    Student body

    39K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1370/30

    La Jolla, CA

    View profile

    What is University of California, San Diego known for?

    University of California, San Diego’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Philosophy
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

    UC San Diego Biological Sciences Major

    • Emphasizes biological processes and systems examined at molecular, biochemical, cellular, organismal, and ecosystem scales
    • Contiguous BS/MS Program Offered

    Source

  23. #23

    University of Florida

    #72 institution's historical influence
    #45 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    31%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    47K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/30

    Gainesville, FL

    View profile

    What is University of Florida known for?

    University of Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • History
    • Law
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

    Univeristy of Florida Department of Biology Offerings

    Biology Major Concentrations

    • Pre-professional (Pre-med)
    • Applied biology
    • Biotechnology
    • Natural science
    • Integrative biolgy
    • BA in Biology

    Botany Major

    Zoology Major

    Source

  24. #24

    University of Virginia

    #38 institution's historical influence
    #40 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    23%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    25K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1430/32

    Charlottesville, VA

    View profile

    What is University of Virginia known for?

    University of Virginia’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

    University of Virginia Biology Degrees

    • BA or BS in Biology
    • Specialization in Environmental and Biological Conservation

    Source

  25. #25

    Emory University

    #111 institution's historical influence
    #41 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    19%

    Graduation

    90%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    Atlanta, GA

    View profile

    What is Emory University known for?

    Emory University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Religious Studies
    • Psychology
    • Law
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Business
    • History

    Emory University Biology Major

    BS or BA in Biology

    Advanced study options:

    • Cell and molecular biology
    • Physiology
    • Ecology and evolutionary biology
    • More...

    Source

Go to all Research Universities for Biology programs

The Best Biology Schools in Your State

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