Attaining a Biology degree usually means finishing a 4-year undergraduate program. It’s an extremely generalized field at the beginning, but later in your studies you’ll be encouraged to specialize. It is essentially the scientific study of life itself, so it will involve topics like physiology, genetics, chemistry, and basic cell biology. You may be encouraged to specialize in a more specific biology field, such as Plant Biology, Neurobiology, or Cell and Molecular Biology. This specialization doesn’t mean extra years of study; your electives will simply concentrate on a particular specialization.
What Can You Do with a Biology Degree?
With a Biology degree, you can emulate about 25% of the people with the same degree by going on to further studies. While this can mean getting a Master’s or a PhD, this usually means going to medical school. A Biology degree is a great way to prepare for the rigors and the subject matter involved in med school.
But a majority of Biology graduates find employment after graduation. Most of them go straight into the sciences. The most popular occupation is laboratory technician, but the lab may be in any of the scientific industries. You may be part of a group effort for the development of new medicines or vaccines. You may be part of an investigative effort focusing on biofuel. Your job’s focus may be on climate change, the protection of biodiversity, or the continuous protection of our food supply. Healthcare, pure science, agriculture—the companies in these industries do a lot of lab work that will need the skills you have.
Many others become researchers, medical scientists, and biochemists. Research is in great demand among many private companies, as well as in the academe.
The skills you develop with a Biology degree also makes you extremely qualified to explain scientific matters to non-scientific types. With a Biology degree, you can become a teacher. You can enter journalism and specialize on the sciences. You can work as a science advisor for various governmental institutions or officials.
You may also find employment in legal careers such as a role in patenting, where your understanding of the scientific principles involved can be crucial for lawyers and businessmen alike. You may also help out the police as a forensic specialist.
What Are the Best Schools to Get a Biology Degree?
Most of the best schools in the world offer a Biology degree. We have some fine ones in the US as well. Here are the highest ranked schools in the US for a Biology degree (with their corresponding world rankings in parenthesis):
1. (1) Harvard University
2. (3) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
3. (5) Stanford University
4. (6) University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
5. (7) California Institute of Technology (Caltech), tied with Yale University
7. (9) University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
8. (11) University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
9. (12) University of California, San Francisco
10. (15) Columbia University
Princeton and Cornell are also in the Top 20 Biology universities in the world.