Career Information

Biology is the science of living matter. It is composed of a variety of branches or specialties and has applications in agriculture, forestry, and health science.

Some of the specialties include:

  • Biochemistry—the study of the effects of foods, hormones, drugs and toxins on plants, animals, and single cells
  • Botany—the study of plants
  • Ecology—the study of the interrelationship of organisms and their environments
  • Ethology—the study of animal behavior
  • Genetics—the study of heredity
  • Immunology—the study of how the body defends itself against invasion by foreign substances
  • Microbiology—the study of microorganisms, bacteria, yeasts, fungi, protozoa, and one-celled algae
  • Pharmacology—the study of how drugs work
  • Physiology—the study of how organisms work and how they respond to changes in their external and internal environments
  • Zoology—the scientific study of animals

Marketable Skills of Biology Majors

  • Ability to make critical observations and appropriate decisions
  • Ability to operate scientific equipment
  • Ability to concentrate for long periods of time
  • Proficiency for accurate details
  • Ability to conduct and interpret scientific research
  • Ability to organize and maintain accurate records
  • Proficiency in reading, writing, thinking, analyzing, and problem solving

Related Careers and Hiring Institutions

About one-third of all life scientists work in research and development in business and industry, in government labs, or on college campuses. About one-fifth teach in college and universities. One-fourth are managers and administrators, running research programs. The rest are inspectors of foods and drugs, consultants to business and government, technical writers, and technical sales and service representatives.

A bachelor’s degree qualifies you for some technician positions, for sales and service jobs, and for support positions such as technical writer. A master’s qualifies you for some jobs in applied research such as research assistant of field technician. A doctorate is essential for most positions in college teaching, independent research, and management.

The following is a partial list of organizations / institutions that hire biology graduates:

  • Aquariums
  • Arboretums
  • Botanical gardens
  • Chemical industries
  • Colleges and schools
  • Consulting firms
  • Cosmetic companies
  • Food processors
  • Government agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Lumber companies
  • Medical clinics
  • Medical laboratories
  • Museums
  • National and state parks
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Publishers
  • Research and development firms
  • Zoological parks
  • Environment Protection Agency
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Science Foundation
  • Peace Corps
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

More Information

For more information concerning career options for biology majors, visit the Magner Career Center.

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