Best Online Master’s in Biotechnology Programs

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Biotechnological research and innovation results in useful products and skills that can be used in forensic crime analysis, genetic rejuvenation, renewable fuels, and life-saving medicine. Scientists in this field analyze and manipulate living systems, such as vegetal and animal organisms, to advance research in their subfield or specialization. Students in online master’s in biotechnology programs synthesize areas such as chemistry, biology, engineering, and computer technology.

A master’s degree in biotechnology provides knowledge and skills necessary to pursue careers in industries such as environmental conservation, pharmaceutical development, agricultural engineering, and food safety. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs in biochemistry and biophysics will increase 11% by 2026, faster than the national average.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1 Columbia University in the City of New York RANKING SCORE 79.99 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 7% LOCATION New York, NY

CVN offers a fully online master’s in biomedical engineering that explores how to use basic and applied engineering to understand living systems. The online master's in biotechnology program focuses on cell and tissue engineering, biomechanics, and biomedical imaging. The 30-credit program includes core classes in quantitative physiology, computational neuroscience, and solid biomechanics.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, mathematics, science, computer science, or a related field. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and sufficient GRE scores. Prerequisites include one year of calculus, biology, chemistry, and physics. Students must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA and must complete all coursework within five years of admission. The biomedical engineering program does not accept transfer credits.

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2 Johns Hopkins University RANKING SCORE 79.71 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 47% LOCATION Baltimore, MD

Based in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins offers a fully online biotechnology master’s degree with no in-person requirements. Coursework explores areas including biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and genomics. The program includes 10 courses and an optional thesis project. Required core courses include biochemistry, advanced cellular biology, and molecular biology. Learners also take six elective courses.

The master’s of science in biotechnology offers optional concentrations in bioinformatics, regulatory affairs, regenerative and stem cell technologies, drug discovery, biodefense, and biotechnology enterprise. Students can apply for an annual fellowship at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes for Health. The fellowship requires on-campus courses and onsite research. The program has start dates in the spring, summer, and fall.

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3 University of Washington RANKING SCORE 68.27 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 8% LOCATION Seattle, WA

Students can complete UW's master’s of pharmaceutical bioengineering in one and a half to two years of part-time study. The fully online program includes no on-campus courses or residency requirements. Students examine the development process for pharmaceuticals, molecular targeting, drug design, and recent innovations in biotech. UW’s bioengineering degree integrates biology, engineering, and physical science.

The 38-credit curriculum requires four core courses, including pathophysiology and molecular and cellular biology. Students specialize in one of three tracks: drug discovery and design, basic bioscience, or translational pharmaceutics. The program is designed primarily for current professionals in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, such as researchers, scientists, and engineers. After earning the master’s in biotechnology, jobs graduates pursue include positions in medical imaging, clinical engineering, and systems physiology.

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4 Northeastern University RANKING SCORE 64.52 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 10% LOCATION Boston, MA

Students can complete Northeastern's master’s in biotechnology entirely online. The 34-hour professional program requires no thesis; the curriculum focuses on professional training and practical skills. Northeastern offers three start dates per year. Coursework integrates fields including biotechnology, biology, pharmaceutical sciences, and chemistry. Students complete coursework, labs, and an industrial co-op work experience.

Learners can pursue an optional concentration in molecular biotechnology, biopharmaceutical analytical sciences, process sciences, biopharmaceutical analytical sciences, or biotechnology enterprise. Northeastern also offers graduate certificates in experimental biotechnology, pharmaceutical technologies, and biotechnology enterprise.

Northeastern accepts applications on a rolling basis. Applicants must submit a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and a resume.

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5 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign RANKING SCORE 64.38 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 18% LOCATION Champaign, IL

UIUC offers an online biotechnology master’s program that provides technical skills and business knowledge necessary to succeed in the field of bioengineering. The curriculum combines business and engineering coursework, and the fully online degree includes no on-campus requirements.

Students in the master’s of engineering in bioengineering program concentrate in general bioengineering, computational genomics, or bioinstrumentation. The 32-credit program requires no thesis; students focus on developing professional skills. The curriculum comprises 18 credit hours of bioengineering coursework, eight elective hours, and six professional development hours. Required courses include managing business operations, cancer nanotechnology, and musculoskeletal tissue mechanics. Graduates are prepared to address complex problems using technical skills.

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6 University of Maryland-College Park RANKING SCORE 63.93 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 10% LOCATION College Park, MD

UMD offers an online master’s of engineering in bioengineering that combines biology, engineering, and medicine to help students understand the interactions between biological and engineering systems. Students in the master's in biotechnology program learn to create technologies to fight disease and improve human health. The 30-credit curriculum includes courses such as cellular and physiological transport phenomena and additive manufacturing for bioengineering applications.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in biology, engineering, physics, chemistry, or a related field from a regionally accredited college or university. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and must have completed prerequisites including a basic biology class, differential equations, three calculus classes, and engineering science. Each student completes a mandatory degree-planning course with their senior academic advisor.

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7 George Washington University RANKING SCORE 62.94 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 30% LOCATION Washington, DC

George Washington University offers a master’s of science in health sciences in immunohematology and biotechnology. Unlike other biotechnology master's programs, GWU's 35-hour MSHS prepares students for transfusion medicine research positions in blood centers and hospital labs. The curriculum includes six elective credit hours and 25 hours of required coursework in areas such as genetics, medical biotechnology, and advanced immunology. Students complete a three-hour capstone project course and a one-hour independent study for health professionals.

GWU accepts to six transfer credit hours. The university delivers online courses asynchronously, allowing students to complete coursework at their convenience. The entirely online degree includes no in-person requirements.

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8 Worcester Polytechnic Institute RANKING SCORE 61.69 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 32% LOCATION Worcester, MA

Based in Massachusetts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute offers a master’s of science in biology and biotechnology. The master's in biotechnology curriculum includes seminars, traditional courses, and research work. Students learn to give presentations, write grants, and design experiments. The program culminates in a research-intensive master’s thesis that explores a topic relevant to the biology and biotechnology field.

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field from an ABET-accredited program. Applicants must submit GRE scores, a plan of study, a statement of purpose, and a resume. Students can take up to two courses before being formally admitted to the program. Distance learners work with a faculty mentor to develop a plan of study that aligns with their career goals and research interests.

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9 Case Western Reserve University RANKING SCORE 61.05 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 12% LOCATION Cleveland, OH

Case Western Reserve University is a private research institution located in Cleveland, Ohio. CWRU offers a fully online MS in biomedical engineering, with no in-person requirements. The university's school of medicine and its school of engineering offer the master’s of science in biomedical engineering collaboratively. The Department of Biomedical Engineering maintains affiliations with more than 20 research centers and has more than $15 million in externally-funded engineering-related research expenditures.

Distance learners have access to sponsored research opportunities, alumni job connections, and industrial training. The program requires 30 credit hours, including six hours of core classes, three engineering hours, and nine specialty hours. Students take courses such as applied engineering statistics, polymers in medicine, and principles of medical device design and innovation.

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10 Purdue University-Main Campus RANKING SCORE 54.29 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 21% LOCATION West Lafayette, IN

Based in West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue offers an interdisciplinary master’s of science in engineering with a concentration in biomedical engineering. The program is designed for professionals who want to advance in the healthcare and biomedical industries. The curriculum requires 30 credit hours and focuses on technical knowledge and principles of biomedical engineering. Required courses include regulatory engineering, life science, and biomedical engineering. Students choose from thesis and non-thesis options.

Students in the flexible online MS in engineering program tailor the curriculum to suit their interests and goals. Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from an ABET-accredited college or university and a minimum 3.0 GPA. The program offers three start dates per year.

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11 Rutgers University-New Brunswick RANKING SCORE 53.83 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 20% LOCATION New Brunswick, NJ

Rutgers is a public research school located in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The university offers a fully online master’s of engineering in biomedical engineering program designed for professionals interested in tissue research, drug delivery, or biomaterials. The curriculum explores topics such as biomechanics, computational bioengineering, tissue engineering, nanosystems bioengineering, and neuroengineering.

Distance learners benefit from small class sizes and flexible start dates. Students can complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis. Enrollment and executive coaches assist online learners throughout the program. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in a related field and must submit GRE scores and three letters of recommendation.

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12 Liberty University RANKING SCORE 48.78 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 96% LOCATION Lynchburg, VA

Based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty offers a master’s of science in biomedical sciences that prepares students for advanced medical degree programs, such as medical school, physician assistant school, or dental school. Students gain knowledge in biochemistry, genetics, cell biology, human anatomy, and medical ethics. Graduates often work as biomedical scientists, dentists, physicians, and physician assistants.

The 39-hour master’s of biotechnology program include coursework in biostatistics, human genetics, and microbial pathogenesis and virology. The majority of program requirements are available online, but some classes include mandatory in-person sessions.

Transfer students can bring up to 50% of program requirements from a regionally accredited college or university. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA and must complete degree requirements within five years.

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13 Colorado State University-Fort Collins RANKING SCORE 45.73 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 37% LOCATION Fort Collins, CO

CSU's online master’s degree in biotechnology is an interdisciplinary program designed with input from 13 departments. Learners gain skills applicable to a variety of fields, including prosthesis, nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals, tissue engineering, and military medicine.

The master’s of engineering in biomedical engineering is a 30-credit, coursework-only degree. Students take seven core credits, 12 foundation credits, eight depth credits, and three breadth credits. The university accepts up to six transfer credits; students must earn at least 24 credits through CSU. Courses available to distance learners include quantitative systems physiology, digital signal processing, and cardiovascular biomechanics.

Applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA in life science and engineering courses. Applicants must have completed prerequisites in calculus, physics, ordinary differential equations, and life science.

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14 University of Maryland-University College RANKING SCORE 43.23 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 92% LOCATION Adelphi, MD

UMUC offers a fully online master’s of science in biotechnology program that is ideal for both current professionals in the field and students entering a new career. The program teaches students to apply business skills in the context of science and technology.

The master’s degree in biotechnology requires 36 credits, and the university accepts up to six transfer credits. Students can specialize in biotechnology regulatory affairs, bioinformatics, biotechnology management, or biosecurity and biodefense. Courses available to distance learners include bioprocessing and the business of biotechnology, societal issues in biotechnology, and Java for biotechnology applications.

Faculty members have held positions at the National Institutes of Health, the Center for Innovative Technology, and other prestigious organizations. Applicants without a background in molecular biology must complete a college-level molecular biology course before beginning program requirements.

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15 Drexel University RANKING SCORE 39.61 COST % ENROLLED ONLINE 46% LOCATION Philadelphia, PA

Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel's master’s of science in biomedicine and digital media requires 36 credits. The master's of biotechnology program is ideal for students who want to design and produce media in careers related to science, health, and biomedical technology development. Drexel’s Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology deliver the curriculum collaboratively.

Students in the skills-based program explore interactive digital media and gain an in-depth understanding of technology development in the biomedical field. Distance learners improve their leadership and communication skills. The hybrid program offers all biomedical courses online, but students take digital media courses on campus. The curriculum covers topics including game design and biomedical technology commercialization. Students can enroll on a full-time or part-time basis.

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Colleges and universities must meet certain academic standards to maintain accreditation. However, online biotechnology master’s programs differ greatly in outcomes. Some programs focus on general biotechnology, and others specialize in areas such as pharmaceutical bioengineering or immunohematology. Carefully research each potential program to determine whether the curriculum fits your academic and professional goals.

Curriculum for an Online Master’s Degree in Biotechnology

  • Molecular biology: A mainstay of biotechnology master’s programs, this course covers key concepts including DNA replication, nucleic acid structure and function, chromosome structure, and the regulation of gene expression. This course provides fundamental training for all aspiring biotechnology professionals, especially those who plan to work as researchers in laboratory environments.
  • Bioethics: Students explore philosophical notions of the moral good, which they apply to case studies and critical issues in the field. Topics include conflicts of interest, peer review, organ transplantation, use of research animals, human experimentation, and in vitro fertilization. This course prepares students for positions working with living subjects.
  • Fermentation biology: This course examines the biological and microbiological systems that transform waste products into useful chemicals. Students explore physiological processes and learn how to conduct conversions in efficient and biologically sustainable ways. Laboratory work includes implementation of bench-scale design and microbial measurements. This course is especially beneficial for students who plan to enter the biofuel and food science fields.
  • Statistical processes for biotechnology: Students learn techniques used in research testing. Learners study motif sequences in genetic expression and regulation and the analysis of sequence homology using information theoretic indices. Students learn to use statistical tools, such as Fourier analysis, long-range correlation, and Markov and Bayesian processes. Learners are prepared for roles as agricultural scientists and biotechnologists, whose work involves number models.
  • Drug discovery and design: Students analyze case studies to understand general approaches to modern drug discovery, including aspects of human biology and disease. The course explores federal laws concerning testing and patent, new discovery techniques, and emergent therapeutics. Coursework prepares students for positions in pharmaceutical development.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s in Biotechnology?

Most online master’s in biotechnology programs require at least 30 credits and take about two years to complete. Because biotechnology is an interdisciplinary field, required coursework varies widely and affects degree completion time. Most online programs deliver classes asynchronously, but some require synchronous laboratory courses.

Some online programs use a cohort structure; students take one class at a time and progress through coursework with a small group of peers. Cohort programs are ideal for working professionals and those with personal commitments, but they generally take longer to complete than individually paced programs. Students who want to graduate quickly should look for programs that offer remote classes, summer terms, and generous credit transfer policies. You may also want to prioritize online biotechnology master’s programs that allow you to complete practicum, internship, and capstone experiences locally.

Certifications and Licenses a Master’s in Biotechnology Prepares For


National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Certification

To become a certified engineer, candidates must past two exams from NCEES: the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, which costs $175, and the Principles and Practices of Engineering exam, the fee for which varies by state. Both exams are available in various disciplines, including chemical and biological engineering.

Center for Professional Innovation and Education (CfPIE) Certification

CfPIE offers numerous professional certifications in the biotechnology and related subfields, including biopharmaceutical development; chemistry, manufacturing, and controls; and medical writing. The certification process requires specialized education, skill training, and an exam. Certification costs $1,950-$2,650, and discounts are available to qualifying candidates. Unlike other professional certificates and licenses, CfPIE accreditation does not expire.


When researching online biotechnology master’s programs, look for colleges and universities with national or regional accreditation, preferably both. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee agencies that award national accreditation to institutions that meet certain academic standards.

Six organizations recognized by the ED and CHEA award regional accreditation. These accrediting agencies ensure colleges and universities meet standards for curricular outcomes and institutional goals. Employers generally prefer graduates of regionally accredited institutions. However, enrolling in a school that holds both national and regional accreditation ensures your degree will be universally recognized. Master’s in biotechnology programs may also hold specialized accreditation from field-specific organizations, such as the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

The ED ensures schools adhere to federal regulations in return for lobbying privileges and funding. CHEA is a private, nonprofit organization with more than 3,000 member institutions that must meet the council’s standards for academic programming and professional development. Member schools enjoy institutional support, including policy advocacy, research and education initiatives, and financial incentives. Visit the ED and CHEA websites for lists of accredited online biotechnology master’s programs.

Master’s in Biotechnology Salary

The table below highlights five potential careers for graduates of biotechnology master’s programs. Generally, salaries for professionals with a master’s in biotechnology increase with professional experience. Because biotechnologists work in diverse industries, certain positions require specific training and certification or licensure. Additionally, professionals pursuing high-ranking leadership positions typically need a doctoral degree.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Microbiologist $51,444 $47,118 $57,082 $67,656
Biochemist $58,628 $55,000 $65,000 $70,000
Epidemiologist $61,723 $58,224 $72,596 $96,938
Biomedical Engineer $63,972 $62,135 $77,203 $81,327
Medical Writer $70,760 $68,440 $79,961 $96,102

Master’s in Biotechnology Careers

After earning a master’s in biotechnology, graduates can pursue professional opportunities in diverse industries, such as agriculture and biomedical engineering. Biotechnologists study and synthesize living systems to expand human understanding and to create products that improve quality of life. These professionals need expert knowledge of cell systems and chemical reactions and advanced skills to apply this understanding to complex analyses. Biotechnologists often pursue self-directed work as laboratory technicians or collaborate as part of research and development teams.

Biomedical Engineer

These professionals work predominantly in the healthcare industry. They use biotechnology knowledge and engineering skills to design and implement devices, equipment, software, and hardware systems. Many biomedical engineers work as researchers and on development teams to ensure new products and services meet company standards and improve patient care. Though some biomedical engineers have only a bachelor’s degree, many positions require a master’s of biotechnology.

Median Annual Salary: $85,620

Projected Growth Rate: 7%

Food Scientist

These biotechnologists conduct research to improve the quality and efficiency of agricultural products and establishments, including small-scale animal husbandry and industrial farming operations. Food scientists often lead teams that develop horticulture methods and assess safety standards. These professionals must have at least a bachelor’s degree, but many food scientists earn a master’s.

Median Annual Salary: $62,920

Projected Growth Rate: 7%

Microbiologist

These scientists study microorganisms — such as fungi, algae, parasites, viruses, and bacteria — to understand how they live, evolve, and interact with their environments, including living hosts. These professionals must have extensive laboratory testing experience and computer analysis skills. Microbiologists work in diverse industries, including health science and industrial settings. Most microbiologists earn at least a master’s of biotechnology, and some pursue a Ph.D. to teach at the university level.

Median Annual Salary: $66,850

Projected Growth Rate: 8%

Wildlife Biologist

Also known as zoologists, these professionals monitor and conduct human examinations of animals to understand physical characteristics, behavior, and how animals interact with ecosystems. Wildlife biologists need expertise in modeling software and geographic information systems used to track migration patterns and human impact on wildlife populations. Entry-level wildlife biologists need only a bachelor’s degree, but high-level positions require a master’s degree.

Median Annual Salary: $60,520

Projected Growth Rate: 8%

Biochemist/Biophysicist

These professionals examine the physical and chemical properties of living organisms along with disease, heredity, cell growth, and other biological processes. Biochemists and physicists work in diverse industries and apply research to develop effective drugs, medical treatments, food products, and biofuels. Most positions require a master’s degree.

Median Annual Salary: $82,180

Projected Growth Rate: 11%

Professional Organizations

Students in online biotechnology master’s programs can benefit from membership in professional organizations. Many professional organizations require an annual fee, but members have access to support, networking opportunities, research grants, and career resources and job boards. Professional organizations connect students and professionals in the field, fostering shared knowledge and collaboration.

When researching online master’s degree in biotechnology programs that align with your professional interests and goals, consider affordability and funding options. Begin by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine whether you qualify for federal scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans. Also apply for awards from professional and community organizations, such as Graduate Women in Science and the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

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UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

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FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

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