In this ranking of the fastest online Master’s in Biotechnology, we will examine the following degrees:

  • Online MS in Health Sciences in Immunohematology and Biotechnology 
  • Online MS in Biotechnology 
  • Online MS in Biology and Biotechnology
  • Online MS in Data Science in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
  • Online Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies with concentration in Biotechnology 

If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s that life can change in an instant. And that we need professionals who can work with living systems (like cells and organisms) to create innovative products or solutions that will ultimately make people’s lives better. This is the field of Biotechnology. A sector of biology, a Master’s in Biotechnology online will utilize the biological sciences and yield careers in areas like pharmaceutical therapy, immunology, agriculture and crop production, diagnostic testing, data analysis, research science, and more.

Methodology:

In order to rank the easiest online Master’s in Biotechnology programs, we scored the schools based on 3 criteria: their Student/Faculty ratio, the school’s graduate/in-state graduate tuition, and the duration of the program. We used the school’s website for information, as well as the National Center for Education Statistics. If any information didn’t fit within the parameters of the scoring, zero points were awarded for that category. In the case of a tie, the school with the lower tuition pulled the higher rank.

Student/Faculty ratio:

  • 13:1 or less- 3 points
  • 14:1 to 20:1- 2 points
  • 21:1 and above- 1 point

Average Graduate Tuition Rate:

  • Less than $8,000- 5 points
  • $8,000 to $18,000- 3 points
  • Greater than $18,000- 1 point

Minimum Time to Completion:

  • 12 months or less- 5 points
  • 13-18 months- 3 points
  • 19-24 months- 1 point

#7 Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester, Massachusetts

Online MS in Biology and Biotechnology

Student-Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1

Website

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Graduate Tuition: $28,188

Worcester Polytechnic University offers an online graduate degree in biotechnology. While the on-campus program requires a research-based thesis, the online counterpart does not. Note that this program offers fully online coursework, but requires on-site lab experiences. The blended program, however, does accommodate working professionals, as the program can be pursued on a part-time basis. Among the 30 required credit hours, students will take core courses like Genetic Engineering and Synthetic Biology, Animal Cell Culture, Medical and Applied Immunology, Bioinformatics, and Risk Management and Decision Making. Students can also choose from an additional 6 elective credits for customization. An MS in Bioscience Management and a graduate certificate in Life Sciences Management are also available. 

Points: 4

#6 Northeastern University 

Boston, Massachusetts

MS in Biotechnology Online

Student-Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1

Website

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Graduate Tuition: $24,793

If you’re looking for one of the best online Master’s in Biotechnology programs that do not require a thesis, then you’ll like Northeastern University’s offering. Students can choose one of 8 different areas of concentration:

  • Molecular biotechnology
  • Process sciences
  • Manufacturing and quality operations 
  • Biopharmaceutical analytical sciences
  • Pharmaceutical technologies
  • Scientific information management
  • Regulatory science
  • Biotechnology enterprise

Required core classes include Protein Chemistry, Analytical Biotechnology, Experimental Design and Biostatistics, and Cell Culture Processes for Biopharmaceutical Production. This online biotechnology master’s degree program can be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis, and can be completed in 2-3 years. 

Points: 4

#5 Johns Hopkins University 

Baltimore, Maryland

Online Master’s in Biotechnology

Student-Faculty Ratio: 7 to 1

Website

johns-hopkins-university

Graduate Tuition: $55,350

If you’re looking for an esteemed Master’s degree in Biotechnology, check out the prestigious Johns Hopkins University’s online option in biotechnology. In fact, students will get to choose from several degree options. First of all, the Master of Science in Biotechnology will focus on curriculum like biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, genomics, and proteomics. Another degree option is a Master’s in Biotechnology Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, which is designed for professionals who want to work beyond the lab setting and possibly start a business venture within the field. Through the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, related degrees in the department also include Bioinformatics, Individualized Genomics and Health, and Regulatory Science. Post-graduate certificates are available in Biotechnology Education, Biotechnology Enterprise, or Systems Analysis and Genomics. Online programs are presented in a part-time format, perfect for working professionals. 

Points: 5

#4 Harvard Extension School

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Online Master of Liberal Arts in in Extension Studies with a concentration in Biotechnology

Student-Faculty Ratio: 7 to 1

Website

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Graduate Tuition: $48,008

Through their Harvard Extension School, the esteemed Harvard University offers an online Master’s in Biotechnology. Note that this is a hybrid program. Two of the 12 required courses must be taken on-campus so students get the full Harvard experience. So, this program might be best for students living near Massachusetts—or who can get there easily. For the culminating elements, students can choose from the thesis track or the project track. Focus your degree even more with a choice between four graduate certificates: bioinformatics, biotechnology management, innovation and entrepreneurship, or project management.

Points: 5

#3 George Washington University 

Washington, District of Columbia

Online MS in Health Sciences in Immunohematology and Biotechnology 

Student-Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1

Website

Top 25 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Biotechnology Online for 2019

Graduate Tuition: $31,770

The fast online Master’s in Biotechnology at George Washington University is very specific and designed for professionals who are pursuing leadership positions within the blood banking or transfusion medicine fields. This non-clinical program is designed for students who already hold certification as a Medical Technologist, Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Medical Laboratory Scientist, or Blood Banking Technologist/Specialist. Graduates will be ready for careers as Biotechnology Research Associate, Blood Banking Laboratory Manager, or Molecular Biology Scientist. The degree can be completed in just 24 months and no residency is required. 

Points: 5

#2 University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi, Maryland

MS in Biotechnology Online

Student-Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1

Website

university-of-maryland-global-campus

Graduate Tuition: $8,640

The fast online Master’s in Biotechnology at the University of Maryland Global Campus is for potential students who want a program that will place emphasis on science, technology, and business. The program is 36 credits in length, and students can choose from 4 areas of specialization: 

  • Bioinformatics
  • Biosecurity and Biodefense
  • Biotechnology Management
  • Biotechnology Regulatory Affairs

Courses can be taken fully online, with a select few presented in a hybrid model. The master’s in biotechnology program features a real-world experience through a project with a biotech company. A background in molecular biology is required. 

Points: 6

#1 Lewis University

Romeoville, Illinois

Online MS in Data Science in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics

Student-Faculty Ratio: 13 to 1

Website

lewis-university

Graduate Tuition: $14,400

The Master’s in Biotechnology online offering at Lewis University is a Master of Science in Data Science. Students will then pursue a concentration in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. The interdisciplinary curriculum will focus on curriculum in data mining, data visualization, predictive analysis, and data management. Graduates of this program will be able to pursue careers as data analysts. All coursework will culminate into a research project. 

Points: 7

What is a fast online Master’s in Biotechnology?

According to the American Chemical Society, biotechnology is the “application of biological organisms, systems, or processes by various industries to learning about the science of life and the improvement of the value of materials and organisms such as pharmaceuticals, crops, and livestock.”

In short? Biotechnology uses living systems to create products to improve life. And if you’re interested in this field, there isn’t a better time to jump in. The current pandemic has changed the world as we know it, and now is the time for you to pursue a career that can make a difference at all levels.

Whether you want to research the next life-saving pharmaceutical drug or create a local beer no one has ever seen before, biotechnology allows you to work on projects that ultimately enhance life around us and within us.

Types of Degrees in the Easiest Master’s in Biotechnology Online Programs:

Most degrees in this field (and on this rankings list!) are Master of Science degrees because this field is so deeply rooted in the biological sciences. However, you might find a program or two (like the one at Harvard Extension School) that features another degree type.

Coursework for the Biotechnology Graduate Degree Programs:

Biotechnology is a highly interdisciplinary field because related careers require a very broad knowledge of the sciences. Therefore, graduate biotech programs will feature a wide range of advanced science-related coursework, including classes in biology, chemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and more.

Areas of concentration for Biotechnology gradate degrees:

An area of concentration helps to focus your studies even more, and can give you additional expertise in your given field.

Concentration options could include:

  • Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Biosecurity and Biodefense
  • Biotechnology Management
  • Biotechnology Regulatory Affairs
  • Molecular biotechnology
  • Process sciences
  • Manufacturing and quality operations 
  • Biopharmaceutical analytical sciences
  • Pharmaceutical technologies
  • Scientific information management
  • Regulatory science
  • Biotechnology enterprise

Related Master’s in Biotechnology degree options:

  • Biomedical engineering
  • Molecular biology
  • Microbiology
  • Genetics

Length of the quickest Online Master’s in Biotechnology programs:

The length of your Master’s in Biotech program will depend on two things: (1) the program’s details and (2) personal factors like:

  • prerequisites
  • whether you are a full-time or part-time student
  • whether or not you are working full-time, too
  • family, personal, work obligations
  • extracurricular life

But, generally speaking, your program will require at least 30 credits and will take about 2 years to complete, depending on the above factors.

Culminating Work for a quick online master’s in Biotechnology:

Depending on your program, your culminating element might be writing a research-based thesis or creating a research-based project. Some programs might even let you choose between the two options. If you do not want to write a thesis, then make sure to take a look at programs that don’t require them (and yes, there are some!).

FAQS for a Graduate Biotechnology Degree Program:

When searching for the best Biotechnology Master’s degree programs online, consider these questions!

Q: How will I get admitted to my graduate biotech program?

Before getting admitted to a fast online Biotechnology Master’s degree, you’ll need a background in a science-related field, preferably biology.

When applying for fast online Master’s in Biotechnology, you might need some or all of these components:

  • a Bachelor’s degree in a business-related field
  • possible additional prerequisite coursework
  • a minimum GPA requirement
  • standardized test scores, if required
  • letters of recommendation 
  • entrance essay

*Note that some schools do not require standardized testing for admission and some do. If that matters for your application process, make sure to choose schools whose admission guidelines match your credentials.

Q: What can I expect as an online graduate student?

Classes:

First, you can expect your classes to be presented in one of two ways: 

  • synchronously (at a specific day/time) 
  • asynchronously (on your own time/schedule)

Next, the length of classes will vary based on your programs. But typically, online classes will last 8-10 weeks. Some programs will follow an even more accelerated pace (like monthly classes) or a traditional 15-week semester course.

Choose a program that best fits your needs, schedule, and personality. Remember to check all of your program’s details before making a commitment.

Student Services:

Online schooling isn’t necessarily new anymore, so many universities have a lot of experience in the field. And that includes taking care of their online students. Online learning doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be all alone in your endeavor. Most programs have the same student services available–just online! You could have access to online libraries, online tutoring, online mentorship, online advising, online career help, and more!

Q: Is a Master’s in Biotechnology worth it?

A: Getting an advanced Master’s degree in Biotechnology will help you advance your career beyond a technician-type position and move into larger roles (even managerial ones) within a biotech company.

When evaluating this question, it’s also wise to take a look at the field’s future projection; you want to make sure you’re entering a thriving career, not a dying one. According to current data released by the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, most careers in this field are increasing at rates like 5-6%, as fast as average. But it’s important to consider that we don’t yet know the impact that the current pandemic will have on the trajectory of the biotech industry.

Q: Does my program need special accreditation?

While it is massively important that the program you enroll in has a reputable school-wide accreditation, a special program-wide accreditation isn’t necessary (but certainly a bonus!). You might find programs accredited by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology or the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

Q: Is the field of Biotechnology a good fit for me?

A: Ultimately, when you choose a career, you want to know that you’re entering a thriving field. And that you’re going to love what you do. So first, take a look at the biotech industry and the careers associated with it. If it lights your fire, keep going, and keep being curious.

Q: What skills do I need to be successful in the field of Biotechnology?

A: To be successful in your biotechnology career, you will most certainly want to be a problem solver and a critical thinker. You will also need to be able to work on a team and have strong written and oral skills. You should be able to follow good laboratory practices and have strong lab skills. In addition, you’ll need to be familiar with the regulations associated with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Department of Agriculture (USDA), with possible others.

Q: Can I continue my education and earn a PhD in Biotechnology?

A: Yes, you can! There are doctoral programs in Biotechnology available. Keep in mind this pursuit could take 3-5 years to complete. A background in biotechnology and a Master’s degree will be required for admission. If you earn a doctorate degree in Biotechnology, you could pursue higher-level careers as a biochemist, biophysicist, or medical scientist.

Fast Online Master’s in Biotechnology Career Information:

While Biotechnology is still relatively a small field, it is still growing and becoming more and more necessary. When you enter this field, you’ll see that you will ultimately have two paths to take: a more scientific/research path or a business-related, managerial path. Neither is right or wrong. It will come down to what side of biotechnology you want to be on.

According to the American Chemical Society, the business side of biotech companies could include duties like “supervising more people, developing overall research plans and sales/marketing strategies, building alliances, and formulating or implementing regulatory affairs processes and procedures.”

Beyond these two sectors, the biotech field mainly consists of four arms: environmental conservation, medical (like pharmaceutical therapies and development), agricultural engineering, and food safety and development.

When trying to make the choice on what path to take, consider your skill sets, career goals, and personal strengths–and let those be a guide. You might even want to think about these goals prior to getting an area of concentration or a cognate.

Graduates of online Master’s in Biotechnology programs will be able to pursue a variety of careers in science-related fields. Below we discuss some options.

*Career and salary data is compiled from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics and Payscale.com.

Sample careers include:

  • Research Scientist
  • Data Analyst
  • Formulation Scientist
  • Chemical/material scientist
  • Epidemiologist
  • Agricultural Engineer

Average Master’s in Biotechnology Salary Options:

  • Research Scientist: $79,669 per year
  • Data Analyst: $60,391 per year
  • Formulation Scientist: $100,878 per year
  • Chemical/material scientist: $78,790 per year
  • Epidemiologist: $70,990 per year 

Professional Organizations for Biotechnology Professions:

Professional organizations help you connect with your peers, stay up to date on research or news in your field, and can help guide your future. It’s a wise investment of your time and your energy. A few biotechnology-related professional organizations to browse include:

This concludes our ranking of the Top 7 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Biotechnology Online.

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