Interested in Taking a Biology Program? Here’s What You Need to Know
Man looking in a microscope

Charting Your Course

Biology is one of the areas of study included in the life sciences; more specifically, it involves the study of living organisms. Biologists study how living things evolve, how they work and how they interact with each other. Examples of applied biology involve important issues of worldwide concern, such as threats to human well-being, environmental pollution and depletion, climate change and the maintenance of viable supplies of food.

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What is Biology?

Biology is the study of living things, like plants, animals and even tiny organisms we can't see without a microscope. It helps us understand how living creatures work, how they grow and how they interact with each other and their environment.

Imagine you're exploring a big puzzle, but instead of pieces, you're looking at all the parts that make up life itself. You learn about cells, which are like the building blocks of living things. They're tiny, but they do big jobs, like helping plants grow or making your body work.

Biology isn't just about looking at creatures under a microscope, though. It's also about understanding how they behave, how they reproduce and how they adapt to their surroundings. It's like being a detective, trying to figure out how different pieces fit together to make life happen.

So, whether you're curious about animals, plants or even the tiniest living things, biology helps us explore the amazing world of life all around us.

Areas of Study for Biology Degrees

There are thousands of educational organizations offering biology programs. Many are traditional colleges and universities, but there are a growing number of opportunities for obtaining biology degrees online, which can be helpful in the case of individuals who have other jobs or family obligations while pursuing their studies.

Larger universities may be able to offer more areas of specialization, such as a dedicated marine biology school, while smaller colleges and universities are generally known for smaller class sizes and more interaction with faculty members.

Specialties in the biological sciences can vary by educational organization and might include endocrinology, fisheries science, agriculture, ecology and oceanography.

In general, a bachelor's degree in biology will require coursework in some of the following areas of study:

  • Developmental biology.
  • Chemistry.
  • Physics.
  • Mathematics.
  • Genetics.
  • Research methods.
  • Microbiology.
  • Immunology.
  • Physiology.
  • Field biology.
  • Marine biology.
  • Ecology.
  • Botany.
  • Parasitology.
  • Ornithology.
  • Animal behavior.
  • Zoology.
  • Human anatomy.

Prospects for Biology Graduates

Job seekers with biology and marine biology degrees have several prospective employers for whom they can work, including federal government agencies, state and local governments, research laboratories, field research organizations and for-profit businesses. In particular, job growth shortly is expected in biotechnology, molecular biology and government agencies that manage natural resources, such as the Environmental Protection Agency.

For some careers in biology, a two-year degree is sufficient; for most jobs in the field of biology, however, the requirement is at least a bachelor's degree.

Many careers in biology require a master's or doctoral degree. In general, biologists who wish to pursue advanced research or who want to work in a university environment will need an advanced degree. As is the case with undergraduate programs, many institutions now offer online graduate degrees in biology.

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