University Biology Courses Available Online

The study of biology, or the study of life, is an expansive discipline that covers several different areas. Most basic online biology college courses are usually designed for anyone who is hoping to study a major science or pursue a career in medicine, public health, dentistry, and nursing. Typical biology degree programs take two to four years to complete at the undergraduate level, two years for master’s degrees in biology, and up to four or more at the doctoral degree level, though this may vary depending on your previous education and program. Also, the length of the degree program is dependent on the concentration in biology that is being studied.

Some online college courses in biology are offered at the introductory level and focus on getting students acclimated with studying at the graduate level. This means that even if you’re not a science major, or even considering a science-related career, you could enroll in one of these biology classes to simply learn more about the field. But despite the specific field of study, research courses and seminars are part of the curriculum. Some of the common elective online college biology courses are in ecology, cell biology, genetics, physiology, anatomy, immunology, and zoology. There are also several other branches within biology that may be offered as an elective online biology course, such as botany, bioinformatics, embryology, ichthyology, herpetology, molecular biology, microbiology, neurobiology, oceanography, morphology, virology, and marine biology.

Because biology is such a broad subject, most program accreditation will be based on the criteria from experts within a specialization within biology. National organizations for these specializations may offer more information on programs with credentials, such as the American Institute of Biological Sciences, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Botanical Society of America, American Society for Cell Biology, Ecological Society of America, and the American Physiological Society. If you find a biology program that is right for you, it is also important to verify it with the U.S. Department of Education’s database to make sure it is accredited and recognized.

Biology and Your Career

For any career in health care, a course in biology is not only necessary, but can also be beneficial in helping you understand basic concepts regarding cells, diseases, and the human body. Most people who wish to pursue careers in medical, dental, veterinary, or other branches of the healthcare industry will usually take several college biology courses. If your goal is working with mammals, fish, birds, or smaller organisms, biology courses can still be beneficial in teaching you the anatomy and physiology of these creatures. Biology courses can also help you learn and understand medical terminology, pharmacology, and introduce you to other life sciences such as chemistry and physics.

As a laboratory science, an online biology course can introduce you to the aspects of testing, measuring, and observing that can be important to most health careers as well as research. An online biology course will usually consist of lectures online, with laboratory components either done on campus, or at a local clinic or laboratory where you can complete lab requirements.

Biomedical engineers, biostaticians, biological technicians, medical scientists, and agricultural and food scientists are other careers with a basis in biology. Many of these careers require continuing education credits in order to maintain certification or licensure, and several online colleges offer courses for professionals who need to satisfy such requirements. Additionally, an introductory level biology course is usually required to earn most four-year undergraduate degrees, and most high school teachers must have some experience in biology to earn certification. For teaching biology at the postsecondary level, a master’s degree in biology is usually required. A bachelor’s degree is usually sufficient to work in biological research, but for independent research, particularly in academia, a Ph.D. in biology is required. Courses at all of these levels can usually be found online.

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