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The Biology Degree

Comparison of Campus and Online Biology Degree Programs

Biology is the study of how organisms live and interact with each other in the environment. A bachelor’s degree in biology often requires coursework in related disciplines such as chemistry, mathematics, computer science and physics.

There are several major divisions in biology education. These include: microbiology, zoology, cellular biology, molecular biology, ecology and physiology. A degree in biology provides students with a foundation for a number of interesting careers such as nursing, medicine, forensic science, health care, biochemistry or bioengineering.

Many degree programs, both at the bachelor’s and master’s degree level, can be taken with equal success either in a campus setting or online with a more student-centered approach. There are some degree programs that may be offered as an online degree, however, the student must think carefully about what is being given up in the process. A comparison of campus and online biology degree programs must look at what is offered with each.

A Campus-Based Biology Degree Program

No matter whether it is a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree or even a PhD in Biology that is being sought, a campus-based biology degree program will start with the necessary pre-requisite classes and then move into the core, biology courses during the later stages. Placement tests may be necessary to determine the right level of classes for the students, and some students may be able to apply for life experience credit or transfer credits that were already earned from other programs towards the degree.

Because biology is the study of life in all its forms, some of the course work in the campus-based biology degree program will be hands-on, completed in labs or in the field with an instructor guiding the students through the process. There are typically a number of experiments that will need to be completed towards the degree of choice, with more advanced students doing more involved experiments as they move on.

An Online Biology Degree Program

There are online biology degree programs that offer similar course work, comparatively speaking. However, there are some adjustments that will have to be made, of course. For instance, the lab work that needs to be done must be completed either with an online, simulated laboratory or at a nearby campus if that is possible.

For a degree program that is being completed completely online, the work will be done on the computer, with computer-generated results. Data is manipulated by the student and the reaction is noted, which may not give as much educational impact as the hands-on training of a real lab with chemicals or actual creatures.

Consider the Expenses

An online education is often less expensive than a campus-based degree program, however, this may not always be the case, especially in consideration of the biology degree. Additional costs that must be factored in, like the cost of the simulated labs, can drive the cost to be equal to or even higher than a campus-based degree program. In addition, the consideration of the quality of education must be a deciding factor as well, with many people thinking that at least in this instance, the online school falls short.

  • The costs that have to be considered for both, an online biology degree program and campus-based biology degree program include: tuition, associated fees, fees for books and other materials
  • The costs associated with the online biology degree program only: computer equipment, internet access and additional lab fees.
  • The costs associated with the campus-based degree program only: parking fees, food while at school, gas or alternative transportation to and from school for classes

Individual Learning Styles are a Factor

Some students are fine working by themselves as they master information. Others need to be more guided, especially when it comes to the lab work. Knowing individual learning styles is important so that each student will be able to learn in their own best way. Students who are not able to stay directed on their own will not be able to handle an online biology degree program.

It is also important to know exactly what the intention of the degree program actually is – whether it is for career advancement or to start a whole new career.

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