Are you trying to figure out what degree would suit you best? Maybe you are trying to gather information about different science degrees. Whatever the case may be, this article will give you some insight about zoology degrees, and what you can expect if you decide to choose this as your major.
If you have a strong background in science, especially natural science, and have an interest in animals, then a zoology degree may be right up your alley. Zoology degrees encompass a variety of subjects including genetics, conservation, eco-systems, and organ systems as they relate to various species of animals. Zoology programs may include anything from doing lab work (i.e. taking blood samples from an animal and analyzing it for nutritional uptake) to doing fieldwork (i.e. examining migration patterns). These types of experiences are very useful in helping students decide what areas of work they would like to focus on once they graduate.
Students who take zoology typically take courses in ecology, anatomy, wildlife management, cellular biology, chemistry, physics, and botany. All of these courses are important, because zoologists and wildlife biologists must have a well-rounded scientific background in order to be effective in their jobs. They may be in charge of any or all areas of animal research depending on their particular positions.
Students may also take courses that focus on a particular group of animals, such as mammalogy (mammals), ichthyology (fish), or ornithology (birds). Other courses that students might take in order to support the type of work they’ll be doing include mathematics, statistics, and computer science (in order to compute and analyze the numerical data from their findings).
Some of the skills that students need and will continue to develop as zoology majors include the following:
- Critical-thinking skills. Zoologists and wildlife biologists need sound reasoning and judgment to draw conclusions from experimental results and scientific observations.
- Interpersonal skills. Zoologists and wildlife biologists typically work on teams. They must be able to work effectively with others to achieve their goals.
- Observation skills. Zoologists and wildlife biologists must be able to notice slight changes in an animal’s characteristics, such as their behavior or appearance.
- Problem-solving skills. Zoologists and wildlife biologists try to find the best possible solutions to threats that affect wildlife, such as disease and habitat loss.
- Speaking skills. Zoologists and wildlife biologists often give presentations to colleagues, managers, policymakers, and the general public. They need to be able to educate others on wildlife conservation and management issues.
- Writing skills. Zoologists and wildlife biologists write scientific papers, reports, and articles that explain their findings.
In order to get an entry-level job as a research or lab assistant in the field of zoology, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in zoology or a related field. Most schools offer bachelor degree programs in zoology and wildlife biology, or a closely related field such as ecology. It typically takes at least four years to earn a bachelor’s degree in zoology, and for students who are looking to have a life long career in the field of zoology, they should strongly consider earning at least a master’s degree, and most likely should aim for earning a doctorate degree in zoology or a related field. Master degrees in zoology take one to two years to earn, and it takes an additional two or three years of research studies to receive a doctoral degree in zoology. If students would like to eventually do independent research, teach at the university level, or work for one of the government agencies, they typically need to earn a doctorate degree.