A degree from the best schools for biology is a phenomenal way to enter a unique field of work. With the ability to study the magic of life, this area of expertise comprises several notable science-based topics. Students can explore concepts such as plants and animals paired with molecular processes.
You can pursue many notable career avenues with a biology degree, including a pharmacologist, teacher, research scientist, forensic scientist, and ecologist. Your first step is to find the perfect program to begin your dream career. We’ve ranked the top ten biology schools nationwide using the U.S. Department of Education data in this guide.
Each of the ranked schools meets the following criteria:
- An average annual cost of no more than $5,000
- A median starting salary up to $250,000 after graduation
- Accredited programs by recognized bodies
Additionally, the ranked programs have been listed in descending order from least to most expensive. With the ability to study such an encompassing topic with affordable schooling, the benefits are endless.
10 Best Schools for Biology
1. Meridian Technology Center
2 to 4 Year; Stillwater, OK
Average Annual Cost: $2,485
Meridian Technology Center offers a unique avenue of study for prospective biology students. Within their Biomedical Sciences career, you can explore the systems of the human body to diagnose and treat diseases. Also, this area of study has a unique focus on collaboration to develop the best solution for patients’ overall health.
Unlike a generic biology degree, the biomedical sciences are more of a specialty. During your studies, you’ll gather essential training to help you pursue a career as a pharmaceutical researcher, pharmaceutical technician, physician, nurse, and more. Also, the program is entirely designed to prepare you for a biology-related major at the university level.
With this degree option, you’ll take an assortment of helpful courses, including:
- Principles of Biomedical Science
- Biomedical Innovation
2. Luna Community College
2 to 4 Year; Las Vegas, NM
Average Annual Cost: $2,670
The biology-related program at Luna Community College is similar to Meridian Technology Center’s program. Instead of offering a standard four-year degree, their learning pathway helps prepare students for a four-year university program. This option is unique because it focuses on general science, allowing you to diversify your studies when you enter a university-level program.
As expected, many of the General Science A.S. program’s courses from Luna Community College focuses on biology. Students will be expected to enroll in microbiology, general biology, introductory environmental science, and principles of biology. You’ll also explore other fundamental concepts such as geology, calculus, trigonometry, and engineering.
Fortunately, this program’s structure is highly adaptable for part-time and full-time students. In total, you’ll need to acquire 62 credit hours for the A.S. program. Thirty-two of the credits come from general education courses and laboratory science, mathematics, and program-specific courses.
Approximately 47% of students at Luna Community College return after their first year, with 18% graduating. With their degrees, students can earn an average of $57,318 in their desired specialty.
3. Las Positas College
2 to 4 Year; Livermore, CA
Average Annual Cost: $3,307
Many degree options are available for biology students enrolled at Las Positas College. The most typical choice is to acquire an A.S. or A.A. in biology that you can use to transfer to a university-level program. Alternatively, you can also receive a B.A. in Biology Teaching and an A.A. in Computational Biology.
Depending on the specialty you choose, your learning pathway will differ, and your curriculum will have an assortment of course options. With each learning pathway, you’ll focus on specific tenets to help you acquire your dream career. For example, you can specialize in General Zoology, Cell/Molecular Biology, or even General Botany.
Students can expect to acquire a well-rounded education revolving around the fundamentals of biology. You’ll also explore tenets of occupational health and safety, horticulture, psychology, science technology, enology, and viticulture. As one of the most well-rounded options for acquiring a biology-related degree, Las Positas College retains 78% of its students with a graduation rate of 28%.
4. West Valley College
2 to 4 Year; Saratoga, CA
Average Annual Cost: $3,791
West Valley College is another fabulous option for an affordable and diverse collection of biology-related degrees. Students can work towards an A.S. in Biology, an A.S. in Biological Sciences, and an A.S. in Ecology, Biodiversity, and Conversation. There’s also the option of obtaining a Biotech Lab Technician Certificate of Achievement.
Like many other A.A. and A.S. programs, your Associate in Science or Art enables you to move onto a four-year program. Alternatively, you can use your two-year degree to find employment in your desired specialty. Each degree option comprises a well-rounded curriculum to give you the fundamental knowledge to excel in a four-year elevated program.
Students will try their hands at several biology-related tasks, such as studying the principles of evolution and natural selection and experimenting using the scientific method. Other courses explore critical thinking and observational skills, analyzing biological systems, and more. Upon completing your studies, you’ll have finished 60-semester credits that are fully transferable to an institution of your choosing.
5. Mission College
2 to 4 Year; Santa Clara, CA
Average Annual Cost: $4,016
There are three different degree options for students interested in studying biology at Mission College. You can work towards an A.S.-T in Biology, an A.S. in Biological Science, and an A.S. in Human Biology. With each degree pathway, you can pursue many fabulous biology-related careers and continue your education at a four-year university-level program.
The curriculum at Mission College is quite impressive, consisting of an assortment of diverse courses. Some of the most common classes for students include:
- Introductory Neuroscience
- Human Biology
- General Biology
- Genetics and Society
- Marine Biology
- Human Physiology
- Principles of Plant Biology
As one of the 22% of graduates from Mission College, you can delve into several career fields. Many students become wildlife biologists, pharmacists, medical doctors, research technicians, and more.
6. Gavilan College
2 to 4 Year; Gilroy, CA
Average Annual Cost: $4,784
Gavilan College has two introductory biology learning pathways, one providing you with an A.S. in Biological Science. The other option is to acquire a Certificate of Achievement in Biotechnology, ideal for your professional career. It’s a fantastic program to consider with the ability to enroll in high-quality programs that create a diverse curriculum.
Like many other biology programs, you can explore various fundamental concepts in school. A few of the most commonly required classes for biology students include:
- General Microbiology
- General Botany
- General Zoology
- General Physics
- General Chemistry
- Cell and Molecular Biology
One of the most significant benefits of Gavilan College’s biology program is it helps prepare students for further studies. If your dream career requires university-level courses or a graduate degree, your A.S. can help you enroll in a four-year program after graduating. From there, you can get a second degree specializing in a branch of biology.
7. Folsom Lake College
2 to 4 Year; Folsom, CA
Average Annual Cost: $4,975
Folsom Lake College’s biology program is unique and is one of the most popular programs in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics meta-major. As an enrollee, you have the opportunity to acquire a degree in health or environmental sciences. You can then opt to dive right into the job market or transfer your degree to four-year physical therapy, biological sciences, or nursing programs.
The majority of graduates from Folsom Lake College opt to explore careers in veterinary medicine, teaching, dentistry, or medicine. Alternatively, their courses give students the fundamentals to explore a career in environmental sciences. Currently, there are a few key degree options to consider, including:
- Environmental A.S. Degree
- Environmental Science Certificate
- Biological Sciences A.S. Degree
- Biology UC Preparation Certificate
- Heritage Interpretation Certificate
- Biology A.S.-T Degree
You can expect to take various biology-related courses to help prepare you for your future career. The most common core courses for a biology degree at Folsom Lake College include:
- Foundations of Biology
- Biology of Organisms
- General Biology
- Environmental Biology
- Natural History Field Studies
- Principles of Botany
- Principles of Zoology
8. San Juan College
2 to 4 Year; Farmington, NM
Average Annual Cost: $6,115
If you’ve dreamt of getting a career in physiology, microbiology, botany, forensic science, or environmental studies, this program is ideal. San Juan College offers a diverse array of courses to help students acquire an A.S. in Biology. You can use your degree to continue a job placement or earn a four-year degree from a university-level institution.
Obtaining your A.S. in Biology from San Juan College is relatively straightforward compared to other programs. You’ll need to acquire three credits from your first-year experience paired with 33 general education requirements. Students also need to obtain 28 core requirements.
With a blend of in-class learning and hands-on experience, this program is ideal for career-oriented individuals. Students will graduate with a strong grasp of the tenets of biological science to propel them in their careers. Also, you’ll have better employable skills to appear more attractive to prospective employers.
Some of the courses you can expect to take during your learning pathway include:
- Organic Chemistry
- Human Anatomy & Physiology
- Cellular & Molecular Biology
- Introduction to Ecology
- Biodiversity, Ecology, and Evolution
- Social/Behavioral Science
In general, San Juan College has a successful retention rate of 57% of students returning after their first year. On average, 28% of students graduate and earn an average of $63,005 with a degree in their field.
9. College of Western Idaho
2 Year; Nampa, ID
Average Annual Cost: $6,711
Students who love biology but want to study a distinct area of the broad topic will love the College of Western Idaho’s program. They offer a few degree options that branch across several disciplines to help prepare you for your future career. With your courses, you’ll dive into topics such as genetics, botany, ecology, chemistry, and nutrition.
The four primary areas of study and degree options you can consider as a biology student include:
- A.S. Biology – Natural Resources
- A.S. Biology – Microbiological, Molecular, and Biomedical Sciences
- A.S. Biology – General
- A.S. Biology – Human Biology
As one of the best schools for biology, you’ll find diverse learning objectives within each specialty to earn your degree. Students will be required to use critical thinking skills and analysis to collect and manage biological samples, develop science-related thinking skills, and more. There’s no doubt these programs take a unique hands-on approach to each specialty, ensuring students get their hands dirty.
With a combination of field and textbook-based learning, you’ll feel more than prepared to begin your career. Alternatively, you can take your A.S. to a four-year university-level program for further education.
10. Monterey Peninsula College
2 to 4 Year; Monterey, CA
Average Annual Cost: $9,572
Monterey Peninsula College offers a collection of degree options for students looking to get their Associate’s degree. You can opt to enroll in the A.S. in Science for Transfer program as well, allowing you to take your degree to a four-year university program. The other options for prospective biology students include an A.S. in Biological Sciences or an A.A. in General Studies: Natural Science Emphasis.
Undoubtedly, Monterey Peninsula College has a great selection of courses that explore the fundamentals of biology. Once you obtain your A.S. or A.A., you can continue to a specialty degree program. A few examples of the courses you’ll experience in this program include:
- Human Physiology
- Applied Microbiology
- Everyday Chemistry
- Biological Anthropology
- Principles of Biology
- Marine Biology
This program is unique because it’s a seamless blend of lab and classroom learning. You’ll try your hands at collecting and analyzing biological samples while developing critical thinking skills. Students will also use their learned knowledge to address common physical problems, offering realistic solutions.
The program at Monterey Peninsula College is highly competitive, with 14% of students graduating with their degrees. You’ll also find that the school retains 69% of its students after the first year. With your degree, you can choose to continue onto a four-year program to gather even more experience in your specialty.