Bachelor's Degree in Biological Science: Program Information
Bachelor's degree programs in Biological Science examine many areas of life science, such as microbiology, ecology and biochemistry. Many specializations and pre-professional programs are offered to provide a highly customizable degree program geared towards the individual student's future education and occupational goals. A doctorate degree is required to become a biological scientist, but many entry-level and technical jobs are available to graduates of a bachelor's degree program.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biological Sciences
B.S. in Biological Sciences degree programs instruct students in a wide variety of biology-related subjects, such as cells and molecules, genetics and evolution. Many concentrations are available to provide a more focused educational experience, such as microbiology and molecular biology, human biology and biotechnology. Pre-professional programs in areas such as dentistry, optometry, medicine, forestry, pharmacy and physical therapy also exist within a B.S. in Biological Sciences to prepare students for graduate programs. Graduates of the bachelor's degree program develop a thorough understanding and appreciation of the diversity and interconnectivity of various forms of life on earth.
A B.S. in Biological Sciences requires completion of 106-125 credit hours. The curriculum consists of a combination of biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics courses. Additional general education courses in English, history and the humanities may also be required. Some courses students can expect to encounter include:
- Ecology, evolution and biodiversity
- Principles of microbiology
- Biological literature
- Molecular biology and genetics
- Cell biology
- Introductory biochemistry
- Chemical principles
- Organic chemistry
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Whole plant physiology
Popular Careers Options
Employment options for holders of a B.S. in Biological Sciences are broad. Graduates seek employment with State and Federal Government agencies, hospitals, universities, pharmaceutical companies, animal rescue centers, museums, zoos, food processing companies and biotechnology firms. People with formal biology training are also needed in industries as varied as sales, marketing and publishing. Some specific careers available to those with bachelor's degrees include:
- Science technician
- Medical laboratory technologist
- Secondary school biology teacher
- Research associate
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected job growth of 14%, about as fast as the average for all occupations, for biological technicians from 2010-2020. For the same decade, the BLS projected job growth of 15% for medical and clinical laboratory technicians and 11% for medical and clinical laboratory technologists. The projected outlook for high school teachers was a slower-than-average seven percent. As of May 2012, the BLS reported that the median annual wages of biological technicians were $39,750, clinical technicians were $37,240, clinical technologists were $57,580 and secondary school teachers were $55,050.
Continuing Education Information
Many people pursue an undergraduate degree in biology as a stepping stone to a graduate program at a medical, veterinary, dental or other health-related school. The broad knowledge base achieved through the baccalaureate study of biology translates well to these more fine-tuned and focused advanced degrees. Students who wish to further their broad path of biological education have the option of pursuing a graduate degree in biological sciences. This type of advanced degree is essential for those looking to become biological scientists, conduct independent research or teach at the postsecondary level.
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