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Study a graduate program in biology

What will I study in a graduate biology program?

There are biology graduate programs in a huge number of areas – everything from sea creature conservation to genetics to evolution. Depending on your interests, you could graduate and work in any area of biology that you wish, whether it concerns humans, animals or plant life.
Postgraduate biology programs offer taught and research degrees in various areas. Some of these options may include:

  • Biodiversity/ biotechnology  
  • Computational biology
  • Sport and exercise biology
  • Health sciences
  • Biomedical science
  • Toxicology
  • Stem cell biology
  • Genetics
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Ecology
  • Parasite biology
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular biology
  • Neurobiology

Biology postgraduate courses can either be taught or research based. Whichever option you choose, you are likely to spend time a lot of time conducting experiments and investigations and analysing results.

Length of program

Masters programs in biology last the following duration in each country specified, although this may change depending on the options you choose:

  • UK – 1-3 years
  • US – 1-3 years
  • China – 2-3 years
  • Canada – 1-2 years

Entry requirements

Postgraduate biology courses will usually ask for a good undergraduate degree (with honours) before admitting students to masters programs. Some courses may allow for related subjects, such as chemistry, although you should check with the particular university whether such degrees will be accepted. Some courses may require certain modules to have been studied during your bachelor’s degree.

Specific entry requirements for individual courses vary from country to country and even between different universities.

For research based programs you may be expected to submit a research proposal about the work that you intend to do on the course.

If you choose to study somewhere with a different first language from your own, you may have to take a language test before you are admitted.

Career development

After a postgraduate biology degree you will have the obtained substantial levels of knowledge in the field, so a job in research, teaching or academia would be an obvious career route.

Some other jobs that you could do include:

  • Geneticist
  • Nature conservationist
  • Research scientist
  • Lab technician
  • Pharmacologist
  • Patent writer
  • Soil scientist

There are of course many other areas you could go into after a graduate program in biology, since your technical knowledge and wide skillset will be much sought after. If you want to move away from the biology sector you could go into technical writing, the media, law, business, finance or research.

Fees and funding

The cost of biology graduate programs varies widely from country to country and university to university. Remember that fees depend on whether you are a home, EU or international student. As a guide, expect to pay the following in these countries per year:

  • UK - £4,500 - £17,000
  • USA - $5,000 - $30,000
  • Germany  €2,000 - €5,000
  • Canada - $4,000-8,000
  • China – RMB 21,000-24,000

What to do next

If you would like more information about studying a graduate program in biology, fill out our Free Application Service and we'll get in touch with information tailored to your needs, including some great courses in this area.