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What can I do with my degree?: Biology

A biology degree has a natural fit with the science and health sectors and provides wide-ranging skills including communication and problem solving...

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

Biology-related jobs are particularly competitive, so it is valuable, and sometimes crucial, to gain practical experience in the field. Work experience demonstrates your commitment to the career area and knowledge of what is involved. Some degree courses may incorporate a year-long industrial placement and you may be eligible to receive a bursary or grant to support your placement.

During your course, you could also use the summer holidays or evenings/weekends to get some experience through paid opportunities or voluntary work. A number of organisations offer work experience including the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

You could also try contacting science museums, research and clinical laboratories, conservation facilities or pharmaceutical companies.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

A wide range of employers recruit graduates for biology-related jobs including:

  • universities and clinical research organisations;
  • pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies;
  • private hospitals and NHS trusts;
  • national and global health and environmental charities;
  • scientific and technical consultancies;
  • schools and colleges;
  • outreach organisations, such as museums, science centres and broadcast companies.

Many biology graduates pursue opportunities outside the science and health sectors in industries such as business, finance, marketing, education and sales.

Find information on employers in science and pharmaceuticals, environment and agriculture, healthcare, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

In addition to subject-specific knowledge of biological systems and concepts, you will develop a range of practical and technical skills and learn how to use specialist techniques and technical equipment. A biology degree also develops more general skills, which are attractive to employers in all sectors, including:

  • communication skills - through report writing and presentations;
  • teamworking skills - through group projects and seminars;
  • organisational skills;
  • ability to confidently handle masses of diverse data and to draw conclusions;
  • problem-solving, project and time management skills;
  • self-reliance, initiative and business awareness.

Further study

Many biology graduates choose to study for postgraduate qualifications in a more specialised science to increase their expertise in a particular area. Others pursue postgraduate opportunities to lead them into different careers such as teaching, landscape architecture or law.

A higher qualification may be an advantage in a competitive job market as it will enhance your research skills, specialist knowledge and communication skills. It can also help with career progression.

If you want a career as a research scientist or a university lecturer, you must do a PhD following your degree.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do biology graduates do?

Biology graduates enter jobs such as laboratory technician, biochemist and medical scientist.

A further 30% are in further study, either full time or part time while working.

Graduate destinations for biology
Destinations Percentage
Employed 55.0%
Further study 25.2%
Working and studying 5.8%
Unemployed 8.0%
Other 6.0%
Types of work entered in the UK
Retail, catering and bar work 20.2%
Technicians and other professionals 16.3%
Secretarial and numerical clerks 9.1%
Business, HR and financial 8.5%
Other 45.9%

For a detailed breakdown of what biology graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Written by AGCAS editors
November 2014

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