As many of you know, zoology is the biological study of animals, but many of you might not know what a zoology major consists of or what you can do with it. It may surprise some of you to know that most zoology programs offer a well-rounded science degree, which allows their students to take various paths once they graduate with their zoology degrees.
The zoology major generally involves broad topics of animal structure, function, evolution, ecology, development, genetics, and behavior. Aside from these areas, general courses also usually include classes in biology, chemistry, physics, statistics, and calculus. Once students get into their upper division courses, they can choose to take classes in areas that they are most interested in and start focusing on just a handful of areas. Some of these courses may include animal anatomy and physiology, ecology, animal diversity and phylogeny, animal behavior, cell biology, advanced human anatomy and physiology, limnology, neurobiology, endocrinology, comparative nutrition, invertebrate zoology, and functional histology.
The reason most zoology programs offer such a wide breadth of courses is two-fold. One is so that students are exposed to as many different areas of zoology as possible in order for them to find areas of interest. The second reason is because many of them will move on to areas of study other than zoology. Many zoology majors go on to study things such as medicine, dentistry, and veterinary studies. With the type of education they get with a zoology major, they are able to have smooth transitions into these other areas of study.
Something that students who are considering a zoology major should know, is that the majority of students who receive a zoology degree go on to get graduate and post graduate degrees. Some of the graduate and post graduate options we have already mentioned, but a lot of students also go on to get graduate degrees in zoology or a related field such as ecology or animal sciences. The reason they don’t stop at a bachelor’s degree is because there are very limited career options for those who have just a bachelor’s degree in zoology. All of the positions offered to undergraduates are all entry-level positions. For students who want to work for a government agency, a research company, or who want to do independent research, they will need at least a master’s degree, and many positions will actually require a doctorate degree. In order to do independent research, a doctorate degree is required.
There are specific skills that zoology students develop which will help them in their careers. Some of them include:
- Biology theory and practical knowledge
- Critical thinking skills
- Information handling and organization
- Operate scientific equipment
- Problem solving
- Statistical awareness
- Technical skills
As far as specific requirements that must be met in order to receive a zoology degree, prospective students should check with individual colleges and universities. Generally speaking, most programs require that students take classes to fulfill general degree and university requirements. There are also requirements from the college (ie the College of Natural Science), and lastly they must fulfill the requirements for the zoology major.
Once students have declared their zoology majors, it would be wise for them to chat with a counselor within their college in order to set up a class schedule. Counselors will be able to tell you which classes fulfill which requirements. Often times students can pick lower division classes that will fulfill general requirements as well as requirements within their college, which will enable students to maximize the efficiency of their college education.