Best Graduate Degrees for Biology Majors

Jan 22, 2022

Do you have an undergraduate degree in biology, or are you considering pursuing a biology major? A biology degree provides a solid background for many advanced degrees, letting you pursue a particular area of interest in the field of biology. Learn about four graduate degrees that are a good fit for someone with a bachelor's degree in biology as well as the career options available to those who obtain these graduate degrees.

Biology Graduate Degrees: Career Paths

The table below lists the median salary and job outlook for the four graduate degree paths described in this article.

Job Title Median Salary (2020)* Job Growth (2020-2030)*
Biomedical engineer $92,620 6%
Biostatistician $92,270 (statisticians) 35% (statisticians)
Environmental scientists and specialists $73,230 8%
Pharmacist $128,710 2% decline

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Graduate Degrees for Biology Majors

Biomedical engineering

Biomedical engineering students study principles of natural and physical sciences, engineering, and mathematics to develop technology for the field of medicine. Students can expect to take a variety of courses in engineering and science fields as well as obtain hands-on experience in research and development projects. Their studies and research can take around two years for a master's program and four or more years for a Ph.D. To apply to biomedical engineering graduate programs, one typically must provide GRE scores, undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.


Biostatisticians analyze and interpret data related to healthcare and medical research and participate in interdisciplinary work to tackle a variety of health-related issues for the government, the pharmaceutical industry, and academia. Students in a biostatistics graduate program can expect to take many applied mathematics and statistics courses; a master's degree generally takes two years to complete while a doctoral degree can take four years beyond the completion of a master's. Applicants to these programs should have a strong background in mathematics, including linear algebra, calculus, and basic statistics. Program application requirements generally include letters of recommendation, undergraduate transcripts, a statement of purpose, and GRE scores.

Environmental science

Environmental scientists study and monitor the health of Earth's ecosystems and seek to create solutions to mitigate the impacts of human population growth on the environment. Environmental science graduate degrees include Master of Science (usually a two-year program) and Ph.D. (usually completed in four to six years); students in these programs take courses in environmental studies, environmental policy, and statistics. Most programs require students to choose a particular interest area or concentration and take courses in that field; a few possible areas include water resources, climate change, and natural resources. Graduate program admissions require GRE scores, undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement of interest.


Pharmacists hold a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, which takes four years to complete, and also must obtain licensure by passing two exams. While not all Doctor of Pharmacy programs require students to have a bachelor's degree, there are several required prerequisite courses including general biology, human physiology, microbiology, general and organic chemistry, calculus, and statistics. Application requirements also include transcripts showing prerequisite course grades and letters of recommendation. Pharmacy students take courses in public health, patient care, pharmaceutical calculations, and science courses related to medications; some programs also provide students with practical, hands-on clinical experience.

A number of graduate-level degrees in a variety of fields are available to those who possess a bachelor's degree in biology. Biomedical engineering, biostatistics, environmental science, and pharmacy are four possible areas of study that offer a good salary and job prospects.

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