I’ve got my degree – now what?

Edition 1 – Biology

Being a student at university or college is a fantastic experience but it can be a bit overwhelming – after 3 or 4 years of studying, socialising and working, you’re coming to the end of your programme and you are sat there thinking, what can I actually do with this degree? Many of you may have chosen your degree with a specific career in mind, but for those of you who haven’t, we are creating this series with you in mind. Each episode will look at a degree subject and deep dive into what careers you can go into upon graduating, the industries, and types of companies that are hiring in those fields.

Ready to start? The first in our series will look at…Biology! Although having a specific degree doesn’t mean you have to pursue a career in that field, you’d probably want to know what you can do with all of that specific knowledge you’ve acquired. So, without further ado, here are some of the career paths you can take with your Biology degree.

  1. Biotechnologist

Biotechnologists study and manipulate the basic building blocks of living things. They study the genetic, chemical and physical attributes of cells, tissues and organisms, and identify practical uses such as new technologies, processes and products that will improve the quality of human life. You can find such work at commercial companies, research/higher education institutions, government laboratories and hospitals. A biotechnologist position may also be advertised as lab technicians, bioprocessing engineers or research assistants depending on the organisation.

You may initially think of a research lab when considering this role, but the range of sectors you may be employed in is vast – from food and drinks manufacturers, to environmental agencies, agriculture or pharmaceuticals. 

  1. Teaching

Now you have all this knowledge, why not pass it on to others? You could go into secondary education teaching working with 11-18 year olds or perhaps you like higher education teaching instead? If you choose to be a lecturer, you can also pursue your own research to contribute to your field and institution. An added bonus of teaching is the extended holidays throughout the year. With a teaching role, you have the flexibility to work in thousands of schools or universities across the globe, as long as you can teach in a suitable language of course. 

  1. Pharmacologist

As a pharmacologist you’ll investigate and analyse drugs, chemicals and other substances to discover how they interact with biological systems. In this role you assess how these substances can be used safely in humans, however it is also possible to work on drugs used on animals not just humans. So where can you work? There are many possible avenues such as universities, pharmaceutical companies, government and environment agencies or you could even use your in different areas, such as:

  • advisory roles
  • business development
  • information science
  • medical sales and marketing
  • medical writing
  • regulatory affairs

You can start your job search here as well as find company profiles to help you learn more about which companies you could work for. 

  1. Sustainability Consultant

You may think not think sustainability is the obvious route to go down with a Biology degree, however a great deal of knowledge could be utilised in a more client focused career. In this role you’ll work closely with clients to help them measure and then improve their sustainability performance. This could involve looking at:

  • waste management, including materials, noise, and pollutants
  • management of energy, water, air and land
  • building energy consumption
  • impact of practices on local communities and ecosystems
  • sustainable construction strategies
  • compliance with environmental legislation

Organisations such as Arup, Anthesis, Quantis or government bodies are in high demand for sustainability consultants. 

  1. Marine Biologist

Marine Biologists study plants, animals and organisms in the sea – from deep ocean to shallow seas. The key duties include the study of marine life in natural or controlled environments, collecting data and specimens, assessing human impact on marine ecosystems, monitoring populations and reporting findings. The actual job titles do range quite significantly in this field depending on the sector you enter into, for example, you make become an oil spill response specialist, an environmental consultant, or a reef restoration project manager – there are many possibilities within marine biology. Excitingly, there are many opportunities to work around the world, not just in a lab, from Hawaii to Australia, Greece or the Falklands, if you like the idea of travelling this may be a fantastic opportunity for you! One caveat is that many organisations may expect you to have a specific degree in Marine Biology, so if your undergraduate degree is Biology, you may need to go on to complete postgraduate study. 

 You could work in environmental agencies, energy companies, engineering companies, research bodies, fisheries and aquatic companies or even NGOs such as WWF, The Nature Conservancy or Greenpeace.

  1. Nature Conservation Officer

The key responsibilities for a Nature Conservation Officer is to protect, manage and enhance the local environment in which they work – this may include grassland, woodland, forests, coastal areas, moorland, mountains and rivers. Part of the role is aimed at encouraging people to explore the countryside as well as promoting awareness and understanding of the natural environment. In the UK, major employers include The National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts, Field Studies Council, and Environment Agency.

  1. Zoologist

The role of a Zoologist is to study animals and their behaviour, considering their evolution, anatomy, distribution and classification. Most commonly the animals are studied out in the field but may also be seen in captivity or in a laboratory setting. Many zoologists choose to specialise in a particular species such as mammals, birds or fossils, for example. The types of work this job role can involve includes:

  • conservation
  • animal education and welfare
  • pest and disease control 
  • drug development and testing
  • teaching and research.

So who is hiring zoologists? Animal and environmental charities, environmental protection agencies, research facilities, science centres, museums, zoos, wildlife parks and animal nutrition companies all look for zoologists to join their organisations. There are also exciting opportunities to work globally if you choose to study more rare species. 

  1. Researcher

If you liked the subject so much and feel that your degree has given you a greater thirst for knowledge, why not become an academic researcher? You can specialise in a specific area you find particularly interesting, join a research team or potentially go on to do a paid PhD.

Hopefully you discovered a few more opportunities and career paths you can follow that you may not have considered before. If you’re interested in seeing what jobs are currently available, head on over to our platform here