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Options with your subject: Zoology

Although firmly rooted in the animal sciences, a degree in zoology equips you with an array of skills, including lab and field work, which can lead to a wide choice of careers

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful:

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

Some university courses include work placements either in the UK or abroad as part of a four-year sandwich degree. However, zoology graduates may also acquire experience, skills and contacts through carrying out voluntary work. Opportunities can often be found in animal welfare groups, zoos and conservation projects. The skills gained from work experience and extracurricular activities can greatly enhance your employability.

If you are seeking a career in a different area, it is also important to gain experience. You can do this through university involvement, paid opportunities or volunteer work. These experiences can often be combined with your current study by working in the evenings or on weekends or by pursuing opportunities during the summer holidays.

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

Typical employers

Jobs are available with a wide range of organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Typical employers include:

  • zoos or wildlife parks and environmental protection agencies;
  • government agencies and research institutions;
  • medical research establishments and the National Health Service;
  • environmental and animal charities;
  • schools, colleges, science centres, libraries and museums;
  • universities and research institutes;
  • environmental consultancies;
  • chemical, pharmaceutical and petroleum companies;
  • aquaculture and animal nutrition companies.

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

Skills for your CV

Studying zoology provides you with specialist knowledge in areas such as ethology (the science of animal behaviour), animal biology (particularly physiology, molecular biology and genetics), conservation and ecology.

In addition to this subject-specific knowledge, you will also develop practical experience of modern laboratory and field research techniques, giving you a range of technical skills.

You also gain a strong set of transferable skills, which include:

  • analytical skills - to understand, interpret and manipulate complex scientific data and statistics;
  • data-handling skills - to record, collate and analyse data using appropriate techniques and equipment;
  • written communication skills - to produce reports and write up research projects;
  • presentation and oral communication skills - to present research findings and make presentations in a clear, succinct way;
  • project management skills - organising and undertaking research projects, experiments, etc (including budgeting, contingency planning and time management);
  • a good understanding of information technology;
  • the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

Further study

Many zoology graduates choose to undertake postgraduate study at Masters or PhD level in order to specialise in a particular area of interest within their discipline, for example conservation biology, ecology and environmental sustainability, and ecology and management of the natural environment.

Some zoology graduates choose to pursue further studies in a different area entirely. Many postgraduate courses in areas such as marketing, finance, business, law, museums or journalism are open to graduates with a degree in any subject.

You may also choose to study for a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) (Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) in Scotland) in preparation for a career teaching biology or general science.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see postgraduate study in the UK and search courses and research.

What do zoology graduates do?

After finishing their degrees, more than half of zoology graduates enter paid employment within six months, mainly in technical and professional roles, as well as in scientific analysis and research. Over a quarter of graduates choose to undertake further study, gaining a Masters or PhD.

Many recent graduates will have taken a job they do not regard as permanent and will be planning to use it as a stepping stone to gain experience to support their longer-term career aspirations.

Graduate destinations for zoology
Destinations Percentage
Employed 53.8%
Further study 24.2%
Working and studying 4.4%
Unemployed 10%
Other 7.6%
Types of work entered in the UK
  Percentage
Retail, catering and bar work 30.7%
Technicians and other professionals 12.8%
Secretarial and numberical clerks 9.6%
Caring and educational work 8.5%
Other 38.4%
 

Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Graduate case study

Anna studied for four years at Imperial College London before joining RHS. In her film Anna says that she only discovered the breadth of interesting careers available within horticulture when she was at university.

 
AGCAS
Written by AGCAS editors
Date: 
June 2013
 

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