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The Breakdown

All living things, from insect to human, body to shell, are composed from complex cellular structures. Biologists investigate these structures, studying how their life processes function, how organisms evolve and how they interact with their environments. As a bio major, you’ll explore these topics, developing a firm foundation in the scientific method.

Biology is a diverse field. Therefore, after completing general foundation courses, it’s common for departments to ask their students to choose a concentration. These can include marine biology, ecology, botany, zoology, molecular biology or microbiology. Regardless of focus, bio majors can expect many of their classroom courses to have corresponding lab and field work. Finally, outside of biology classes, undergrads will likely be required to take chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and calculus.

As a discipline, biology requires strong analytical and observational skills. You will also come to find that a facility for math is useful. Additionally, it’s important to possess a curiosity about how things are connected and/or interrelated. It’s also imperative to be someone who is capable of working independently. And, of course, the most successful biology students are the ones who can wear the imprint of lab goggles with grace and dignity.

Nuts and Bolts

Biology majors are privy to courses such as: Human Reproduction and Development, Microbiology, Immunology, Field Botany, Animal Physiology, Genetics, Vertebrate Zoology, Plant Breeding and Biotechnology, Human Biochemistry, Molecular Mechanisms of Memory and Bacterial Diversity.

Decisions, Decisions…

Biology majors clearly have an affinity for the sciences and are likely also to enjoy biochemistry, chemistry, neuroscience, conservation biology, ecology, physics, human development, psychology, nursing, environmental science, wildlife management, marine biology, oceanography, pharmacology and nutrition.

What’s Next?

Don’t be fooled, a major in biology isn’t simply a plot point on the road to a medical degree (though that’s certainly a plausible and commendable goal). Indeed, majoring in bio can lead to a number of fascinating and rewarding careers. Of course, many biology majors do ultimately pursue graduate degrees within the health sciences, frequently applying to medical, dental, nursing or veterinary schools. Others might decide to study optometry, physical therapy, occupational therapy or pharmacy. Bio majors can also work within the field of environmental science, landing positions as a forest ranger, conservation biologist or agricultural scientist. Graduates might also pursue employment as a pharmaceutical researcher, drug tester or food safety expert. Additional professional avenues include bioinformatics, epidemiology, botany, forensics, nutrition, medical illustration and, of course, teaching. So really – you can begin as a bio major and end up virtually anywhere.


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Don Munce