What Can I Do with a Biology Degree and What Specialisation to Study in 2020?

This is a common question that might pop up in your mind if you’re thinking about starting to study a Biology degree at a university abroad. We’re here to help you make the right study choice so we’ve looked at some of the most popular Biology degree jobs and made a list to make your life easier.

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What to expect when studying a Biology degree?

Biology is a very broad and interdisciplinary degree. During the first year of a general Biology programme, you’ll study subjects like the history of life and Biology, cells and their components & functions, and the differences between plant and animal cells.

The second-year focuses on Ecology, Evolution, and the fundamentals of Genetics. These topics will be studied more in-depth in the last year. Some concepts overlap with classes from the first year, so paying attention from the start can spare you studying the same notions twice.

Biology students can focus on a certain subdiscipline. The most popular ones are Anatomy & Physiology and Molecular & Cellular Biology because they provide more job opportunities after graduation. Here are other Biology subdisciplines:

  • Marine Biology
  • Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • Neurobiology
  • Botany
  • Zoology
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology

What can I do with a Biology degree?

The answer depends on your level of study.

Bachelor’s degrees in Biology are focused more on developing your knowledge, not your practical skills. They are a great foundation for your future and offer enough job opportunities, but if you want to earn big, you’ll need a Master’s in Biology, which specialises and develops the practical skills that most employers are looking for.

According to a report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW), graduates with a Biology Bachelor’s earned on average 57,000 USD/year, while Master’s graduates earned 93,000 USD/year. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the most popular Biology jobs:

Entry-level jobs

  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative – 65,000 USD/year

Use your scientific knowledge and communication skills to promote new healthcare solutions created by drug companies.

  • Environmental Scientist – 55,500 USD/year

Take advantage of your Biology knowledge and apply it to plans, strategies, and policies that aim to reduce pollution and waste.

  • High-school Biology Teacher – 49,000 USD/year

Work with future generations, teach them the fundamentals of Biology, and make them understand its impact on our society and environment.

  • Research Assistant – 29,000 USD/year

Provide help to professional researchers who work to discover new Biology insights.

  • Agricultural Technician – 44,000 USD/year

Analyse soil and crop samples to determine their quality, what’s missing, and what measures need to be taken to improve food quality without damaging the soil.

Postgraduate jobs

  • Marine Biologist – 63,500 USD/year

Manage research projects, collect sea specimens, analyse their migration patterns and determine how human activities impact marine life.

  • Pharmacologist – 127,000 USD/year

Conduct research and experiments, test new drugs to establish recommended dosages, find any side effects, and record findings for future reference.

  • Senior Research Scientist – 103,500 USD/year

Work with different research methods and experiments to test drugs, samples, or medical devices. You’ll also write research proposals and secure funding by supporting the importance of your work.

  • Senior Microbiologist – 57,000 USD/year

Research various microorganisms, like viruses, fungi, parasites. You’ll analyse how they live, develop, and their environmental impact and role.

  • Biotechnologist – 51,500 USD/year

Study the genes, chemistry, and other elements of cells and organisms and use your findings to improve the tools and methods used in industries like agriculture, medicine, or food.

Young woman biologist pouring liquid into a flower pot Benefits & disadvantages of Biology jobs

The main benefit of a career in Biology is job stability. In the US, for example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects Biology-related jobs to grow 7% by 2028. You’ll also be well-paid for your work, especially if you decide to graduate a Master’s or PhD. in Biology, which increases your income substantially. Postgraduates degrees also allow you to do research and come up with new Biology findings.

A big disadvantage for Biology graduates is the highly competitive job market. Employers expect future employees to have the knowledge and practical skills required for the job. This is where work experience can make a difference, which is why you should look for study programmes that either include or help you find Biology internships.

Additionally, some Biology jobs might expose you to dangerous substances or work environments. However, specialised training, protective equipment, and preventive measures reduce the risks significantly. Remember, there’s a reason for regulation!

Biology internships & voluntary work

There are different Biology branches, and internships are the best way to discover which one you enjoy the most. An internship programme also helps students gain valuable work experience. You’ll need it to stand out during the job application process. Some Biology degrees even include industrial placements, so check the descriptions of the study programmes to see if they match your professional goals.

If internships aren’t available, consider volunteering. You might not earn any money, but you get valuable hands-on experience. You’ll meet Biology specialists, and if you impress, they might help you find a job after graduating.

The best universities offering Biology degrees

It’s very difficult to have a Biology career without a degree in Biology. If you don’t want to make any compromises, these are some of the top Biology universities according to U.S. News:

Tuition fees for Biology degrees

Tuition fees at these top universities are between 9,000 – 30,000 EUR/academic year for a Biology degree. The exception is ETH Zurich, where tuition costs are around 1,000 EUR/year, and the University of Denmark, where Biology programmes are free for EU/EEA students.

If you’re looking for more affordable Biology degrees, check out the list below. Please note that ONLY SOME study programmes are free for EU/EEA students. To avoid confusion, always check if tuition costs apply to you.

Germany

Biology Bachelor’s degrees:

  • Free for EU/EEA students
  • 3,000 EUR/year for other international students

Ireland

Biology Bachelor’s degrees:

  • Free for EU/EEA students
  • 3,000 EUR/year for other international students

Finland

Biology Master’s degrees:

  • Free for EU/EEA students
  • Starting at 12,000 EUR/year for other international students

Norway

Biology Master’s degrees:

  • Free for all international students

Sweden

Biology Master’s degrees:

  • Free for EU/EEA students
  • Starting at 13,400 EUR/year for other international students

Admission requirements for Biology degrees

These are the most common documents Biology students need to send during the application process. Depending on the university, you might be asked to send more or fewer. If you send your documents by post, double-check to make sure you don’t forget anything. This might delay your application, and in some cases, you can even miss the deadline.

For Bachelor’s degrees

  • Minimum English language test score: IELTS 6.0 or TOEFL 75
  • High school diploma
  • Academic transcript of records
  • GCSE test scores

For Master’s degrees

  • Minimum English language test score: IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL 80
  • Bachelor’s degree in a related subject
  • Minimum GPA: usually 3.0
  • Personal statement
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Work experience

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Should I study a Biology degree at university?

Yes, a Biology degree is a great choice if you want to understand nature and how every organism, from the smallest to the largest, fits into this huge ecosystem.

You can apply your insights and research in numerous areas (e.g. medicine, food, environmental protection) and thus make the world a better place while following your passion, earning well, and being fulfilled by your work.

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