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If you are fascinated by the nature of living things, enjoy conducting experiments, and like math and science, a major in biology may be right for you. As a biology major, you will study the beginnings of both plant and animal life forms and analyze their structures, functions, and traits. The study of biology has many areas of specialization, allowing students multiple career paths in a wide variety of fields after completing the major.
The biology major program consists of both lab-based and lecture-based courses. Students will typically spend the first two years forming a solid knowledge base in chemistry, biology, and calculus. They will often have to take multiple introductory level courses in topics such as ecology, evolution, biostatistics, genetics, biochemistry, and human anatomy and physiology.
There will be a strong hands-on component to the major. Students will be required to conduct both individual and group research and lab projects throughout the course of the major. This will give them hands-on experience designing, conducting, analyzing and communicating the results of experiments. They will learn necessary collaboration skills as well as hone their abilities to accurately collect data, take detailed notes, analyze results, and participate in the scientific field.
As students progress, they will focus their courses under a concentration. Concentrations may include biotechnology, microbiology, bioinformatics, or molecular biology. Concentrations offered vary depending on the college program.
Biology majors have many choices upon graduation. They may choose to continue their studies and obtain a graduate degree. This would be necessary for the student who wishes to become a professor or specialize in a field such as epidemiology.
Students who wish to become doctors, nurses, pediatricians, veterinarians, or some other professional in the medical field will need to attend a post-graduate program. Biology is a common preparatory major for medical school as it provides students with a strong knowledge base and many skills required in the field.
With further study, biology majors may become pharmacists, dentists, optometrists, physical therapists, or assistants or researchers in any of these fields.
Students may also choose to become high school or middle school educators, teaching biology or marine biology. If majors want to educate the public but do not want to work as a teacher in schools, they may choose to become health educators or community health workers.
For graduates who are skilled in writing, there is demand for science journalists either at science magazines, newspapers, and journals or in the science section of general news.
Students interested in the environment may find jobs as forest rangers, zoo workers or botanists. They may become environmental scientists or researchers focused on the environment. They may also find jobs at nonprofit organizations or in government agencies interested in environmental protection and management.
Those who are enjoy lab work may become biological technicians, who aid in laboratory research in universities and research organizations.
Others who enjoy designing products may enter the field of biotechnology. Biotechnologists design and improve existing technology in a vast array of fields. In medicine, they may design new medicinal treatments such as protein drugs. They may also work in agriculture to improve the production, quality, or preservation of various agricultural commodities, or in cosmetics designing new makeup or skincare products.
Finally, if students are interested in law, they can apply their major in a few different ways. They may become medical malpractice lawyers, using their understanding to determine whether doctors have acted ethically. They may also become lawyers fighting for or against environmental policies, using their knowledge of ecosystems.
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