Human skull, studio shot

Biology

Biology is a natural science that involves the study of life and living organisms, as well as their function, evolution, taxonomy, distribution, structure and growth. Biochemistry, physiology, cellular biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, and molecular biology are sub-disciplines of biology. Biology is a major area of study, largely because it has a direct influence on everyday life and there are numerous careers that relate to the field.

Program Description

High school students interested in pursuing a biology major are recommended to take biology, physics, and chemistry in Grade 11 and 12. Admission requirements vary by school, although high SAT scores and GPA are required for entry into the top schools. Stanford University has one of the top biology programs in the country. Students are required to declare the biology major on Axess, and select a Faculty Advisor. This is an important process, so be sure to ask fellow Bio majors for advice and think of any faculty members you may have had as a teacher who you enjoyed to help choose an advisor best suited for you. The General Biology Major is designed for students who want to take a broad biology curriculum. The foundation courses include the Bio Core and labs, physics, math, and chemistry. Students have the option to add honours. To do so, students must complete the requirement for the departmental honours program (which includes an independent honours thesis and an oral or poster presentation at the conclusion of senior year). Columbia University also has an outstanding biology program. The requirements include two introductory biology courses, two lecture courses, one lab requirement, two additional 3rd and 4th year level courses and specific courses in Chemistry, Physics, and Math. Students can gain research laboratory experience through the numerous work-study, volunteer, and summer research programs.

biology student

Pros & Cons

A biology major and a career in the field is very challenging. This can be either a pro or con. People know very little about aspects of biology, and a career in biology gives you the ability to challenge yourself to discover and study new things. The work can be difficult however, as can the required schoolwork. A biology career offers stable and excellent pay. According to the BLS, biological scientists earn between $60 000 and $90 000, with some earning over $100 000 per year. Pay is higher for students with graduate degrees however, which means more schooling. The skills you will learn during school for a career in biology are applicable to many different jobs. For example, a study of anatomy is applicable to both pharmacology and prosthetic design. This allows you to change your career path without having to take additional education or training programs. Being a biologist can be very isolating and requires terrific attention to detail. In certain careers, your daily tasks may be quite repetitive, which can be dull.

Graduate School & Career

Here are some of the popular career choices for people who majored in biology:

  • Research biologists – study the natural world with scientific techniques and tools while attempting to understand various living systems; they often create new medical medications, treatments, and diagnostic methods
  • Biotechnologists – enhance and develop technological advances, products, and tools in various fields including medicine, agriculture, and food science
  • Wildlife Biologists – study the life processes, origin, diseases and general behavior of various animals and wildlife; most wildlife biologists conduct experiments with live wildlife in either laboratory or natural environments
  • Ecologists – biologists who study the relationships between organisms or between organisms and their environments; for example, they may examine the effects of altitude, rainfall, or temperature on certain organisms