Top Ten Hidden Gems for Biology | 2019

Top 10 Hidden Gems for BiologyBiology is as diverse a field as the subjects it studies, and just as diverse as the people who study it.

We wanted to highlight lesser-known schools that gave biology students a good “bang for their buck.” We took the college’s average median pay and subtracted the national average starting salary of biology majors ($41,850), of the schools that had a positive number, we sorted by the overall College Raptor rank to determine the best bio-degree granting colleges that were also financially valuable. We limited our selections to the top 800 in overall rankings, and excluded US military schools.

To qualify as a College Raptor Hidden Gem, a school must have the following requirements:

  • Receive fewer than 5,000 applications a year
  • Have fewer than 7,000 undergraduate students enrolled

Here are the top ten hidden gem schools for biology, where you can make more than the national average!

10. John Brown University

  • Top 10 Hidden Gems for Biology - John Brown University

    Wikimedia Commons user Tom Morgan

    Location: Siloam Springs, AR

  • Student Enrollment: 2,708
  • College Type: Private

Psychology is a required core class at John Brown University, and students who decide to major in this subject go on to study and develop their research skills. With an 85% first-year retention rate, students are often from Arkansas and Texas, but many come from all over the country to attend. Other popular majors include business administration and engineering.

9. Cedarville University

  • Top 10 Hidden Gems for Biology - Cedarville University

    Flickr user Jeremy Mikkola

    Location: Cedarville, OH

  • Student Enrollment: 3,741
  • College Type: Private

Known athletically as the Yellow Jackets, students who pursue biology at Cedarville University are offered a unique look at the subject along with customizable study opportunities. A Baptist school, Cedarville focuses on personalizing majors for each student based on interests and goals. With a 13 to 1 student to faculty ratio, the university also boasts a high 85% first-year retention rate.

8. University of Minnesota – Morris

  • Top 10 Hidden Gems for Biology - University of Minnesota - Morris

    Wikimedia Commons user Gobonobo

    Location: Morris, MN

  • Student Enrollment: 1,771
  • College Type: Public

Psychology, English, Biology, Business, and Elementary Education are the five most popular majors on the University of Minnesota – Morris campus. Class sizes are also fairly small with a 12 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio. Their mascot is Pounce the Cougar, and the school colors are maroon and gold. 

7. Augustana University

  • Top 10 Hidden Gems for Biology - Augustana University

    Wikimedia Commons user David Huebner

    Location: Sioux Falls, SD

  • Student Enrollment: 1,937
  • College Type: Private

Augustana University is a liberal arts college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The school offers over 100 majors, minors, and pre-professional programs with extensive study abroad, undergrad research, and internship opportunities. The top 5 most popular majors are Biology, Psychology, Elementary Education, Nursing, and Business Administration. This is a fairly selective school with a 68% acceptance rate.

6. Dordt College

  • Top 10 Hidden Gems for Biology - Dordt College

    Flickr user David Mulder

    Location: Sioux Center, IA

  • Student Enrollment: 1,522
  • College Type: Private

Established in 1955, Dordt College offers more than 40 majors and 11 pre-professional programs of study, the most popular of which is Elementary Education. Dordt’s official school colors are black, white, and gold, and they compete athletically as the Defenders. Around 39% of students come from Iowa, many others come from California, Minnesota, and Colorado.

5. Houghton College

  • Top 10 Hidden Gems for Biology - Houghton College

    Flickr user NewBirth35

    Location: Houghton, NY

  • Student Enrollment: 1,059
  • College Type: Private

Originally a high school and founded in 1883, the first college courses at Houghton College were offered in 1899. The extremely large campus is located on 1,300 acres, on the Allegheny Plateau. Biology is one of it’s most commonly chosen programs, but Business Administration, Speech Communication, and Psychology are also popular.

4. Pennsylvania State University – Erie-Behrend

  • Top 10 Hidden Gems for Biology - Pennsylvania State University - Erie-Behrend

    Flicker user mkw87

    Location: Erie, PA

  • Student Enrollment: 4,566
  • College Type: Public

Penn State Behrend (PSB) is one of the many campuses of Pennsylvania State University. Starting as a branch of the school, it became a campus for the university in 1959. Students studying psychology at PSB also have the opportunity to take advantage of the centers on campus and publish their own research.

3. Maine Maritime Academy

  • Top 10 Hidden Gems for Biology - Maine Maritime Academy

    Flickr user Kevin Deveroux

    Location: Castine, ME

  • Student Enrollment: 1,045
  • College Type: Public

One of only six maritime colleges in the country, The Maine Maritime Academy is also one of two that feature NROTC, the Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps. You do not need a congressional recommendation to attend and about 80% of applicants are accepted to the school. Naval Architecture and Marine Science are two popular majors, but you are not required to join the military upon graduation.

2. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

  • Top 10 Hidden Gems for Biology - SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

    Wikimedia Commons user DASonnenfeld

    Location: Syracuse, NY

  • Student Enrollment: 2,186
  • College Type: Public

Part of the State university of New York system, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is focused mainly on the environment, natural resources, and campus sustainability. Popular majors include Natural Resources Management, Conservation Biology, Environmental Biology, and Environmental Engineering. With a 12 to 1 student to faculty ratio, ESF only accepts about 50% of applicants.

1. Grove City College

  • Top 10 Hidden Gems for Biology - Grove City College

    Wikimedia Commons user Mark Schellhase

    Location: Grove City, PA

  • Student Enrollment: 2,336
  • College Type: Private

Graduates of Grove City College have included CEOs, NFL players, and U.S. Deputy Attorney Generals. With a 94% first-year retention rate, 80% of students go on to graduate within four years at the school. The three most popular majors include Biology, Speech Communication, and Mechanical Engineering.

About our methodology

Colleges are ranked based on a combination of factors, including graduation rates, campus diversity, endowment per student, and other data as reported via the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the most recently-available enrollment year. Some colleges may have been excluded from rankings based on certain criteria, including specialization and classification. Learn about our full methodology.

Interested in any of these schools? Check out College Raptor’s free match tool to see if they’re a good fit for you!

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