Molecular Biology Degree Info and Opportunities

Why a Degree in Molecular Biology?

Molecular biology is the exploration of cells. This covers a broad spectrum of categories on which to focus, and with it, a broad spectrum of career opportunities if choosing to obtain a degree in molecular biology. Areas of focus include a cell's function, its parts, processes, and characteristics, and career opportunities can be found in the medicine, education, law, environmental sustainability, engineering, and research industries.

Students who have a love of science, as well as enjoy research, analyzing data, conducting experiments, and finding innovative solutions to complex problems will find a good fit in pursuing a degree in molecular biology.

What Skills Will I Learn While Studying for a Molecular Biology Degree?

While studying for a degree in molecular biology, students will be exposed to and be prepared for important field-related competencies, including:

  • Working independently and as part of a team to solve problems.
  • Understanding biology's role in society.
  • Presenting ideas in various ways, including visually, orally, and in writing.
  • Engaging in a civic and ethical way as it pertains to issues surrounding molecular biology.
  • Using the scientific method and deductive reasoning to design and perform experiments.
  • Conducting research, analyzing data, and implementing best-practices in a laboratory setting.

How are Molecular Biology Courses Taught?

Molecular biology courses include laboratory work and traditional classroom lectures. Online programs are also available.

If students choose to pursue an upper-level molecular biology degree, many schools require lab research experience in order to gain acceptance.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Degree in Molecular Biology?

To obtain a job as a laboratory technician, students can earn an associate's degree in two years. There are more job opportunities available to those pursuing a bachelor's degree in molecular biology, which can be completed in four years. Tack on one more year and receive specialized laboratory training in areas like genetic engineering or DNA sequencing. More information can be obtained from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in form of a PDFExploring Careers in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

A Master's degree in molecular biology can be completed in two years and requires the completion of a research project in addition to coursework. A PhD in molecular biology can be completed in four to five years, and requires more research based on experimentation, coursework, and the completion of a thesis or dissertation.

How do Online Degrees in Molecular Biology Work?

Online courses in molecular biology include lectures and lab work. Lab work is completed via a lab kit that is mailed to students who then conduct the lab on their own. Once complete, students either send the materials and findings back to the teacher to receive a grade or they simply write a report of their findings. Another mode of completing lab work in an online setting is participating in virtual labs. Since gaining experience conducting, interpreting, and reporting data is a vital component toward working in a field related to molecular biology, students researching online programs should make sure the requirements for completing lab work is explicitly stated.

What if I Have Questions about the Online Molecular Biology Degree Format and Process?

When researching online degree programs in molecular biology, look for a school that is accredited. Find out if the school offers financial aid, scholarships, internships, work study, or job placement. Does the school offer support in terms of career counseling? What materials are required after enrolling and what materials are provided by the school? Researching this information online or inquiring directly with the school of choice is an excellent idea before committing to a program.

What Will I Need to be Successful Studying Online?

In addition to asking questions about career counseling, job placement, and financial aid packages available, there are a few other things necessary to successfully studying online. Perhaps start taking one or two courses instead of a full course load to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Find out what technology is required to take classes and complete any training courses available. Create a routine and stick with it so as to form solid work habits. Lastly, take advantage of any online forums that allow for interaction between classmates and professors.

Molecular Biology Online Degree Course Examples

Courses taught online toward an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology include:

  • Intro to Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Biology
  • Math
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Genetics
  • Systems Biology and Biotechnology
  • Bioinformatic Methods
  • Intro to Genomic Technologies
  • Neurobiology
  • Biomechanics

Tuition and Costs for an Online Bachelor's Degree in Molecular Biology

Although there is not much difference between acquiring an undergraduate degree in molecular biology online versus acquiring the same degree in an on-campus setting, the cost of tuition does vary. Tuition can cost as low as $12,000 a year and as high as $53,000 a year.

What Kinds of Jobs Can I Do with a Molecular Biology Degree?

Those with a molecular biology degree can explore a range of jobs in their field, a few of which include:

  • Molecular biologist $58,709
  • Bioengineer $85,620
  • Pharmaceutical sales $122,107
  • High School Teacher $59,170
  • Laboratory technician $38,950
  • Research scientist $77,028
  • Optometrist $118,942
  • Veterinarian $90,420

What are the Benefits of Having a Degree in Molecular Biology?

A degree in molecular biology degree can prepare students who wish to go into medical school, enter the workforce with lucrative job prospects, or further their academic career and pursue a Master's degree or a PhD. The multi-faceted nature of a molecular biology degree allows graduates to explore a variety of options in fields such as law, biotechnology, academia, agriculture, and healthcare.

How Can I Get More Information on Molecular Biology?

More information on both an undergraduate and graduate molecular biology degree is available at the following sites: