Biology is a fundamental subject for careers in the science and health sectors, but there are many other career routes you can take with this degree
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Academic researcher
- Higher education lecturer
- Marine biologist
- Nature conservation officer
- Research scientist (life sciences)
- Scientific laboratory technician
- Secondary school teacher
- Soil scientist
- Water quality scientist
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Anatomical pathology technologist
- Clinical scientist, genomics
- Dental therapist
- Fisheries officer
- Forensic scientist
- Genetic counsellor
- Operating department practitioner
- Physician associate
- Science writer
- Sustainability consultant
- Veterinary nurse
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
Getting work experience in the area of biology you're interested in is crucial. In a competitive job market, relevant experience shows your commitment to the career and develops your practical skills, as well as giving you the opportunity to make professional contacts.
If you're unsure which area of biology you want to move into, work experience can provide you with a useful insight into what the work is like.
Some biology degree courses incorporate a year-long industrial placement and you may be eligible to receive a bursary or grant to support your placement. Some also offer work placements in the UK and abroad. It may also be possible to complete an undergraduate research internship at your institution.
In addition to internships and work placements, relevant voluntary or part-time work is also useful. Look for opportunities with organisations such as:
- conservation facilities
- natural history or science museums
- pharmaceutical companies
- research and clinical laboratories
- zoos or veterinary practices.
The Royal Society of Biology - Studentships & Placements has a useful list of companies and organisations that offer summer and sandwich year placements..
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
Employers recruiting graduates for biology-related jobs include:
- universities and clinical research organisations
- pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
- NHS trusts and private hospitals
- national and global health, conservation and environmental organisations and charities
- local authorities
- government and public health laboratories
- scientific and technical consultancies
- schools and colleges
- the water industry
- outreach organisations, such as museums, science centres and broadcast companies.
Many biology graduates pursue opportunities outside the science, education and health sectors in industries such as business, finance, the civil service, marketing and sales.
Skills for your CV
Biology students develop subject-specific knowledge of biological systems and concepts, as well as a range of practical and technical skills and techniques through field and laboratory work.
You also develop more general skills, which are attractive to employers in all sectors. These include:
- communication, through report writing and presentations
- teamworking and collaboration, through group projects and seminars
- the ability to work independently
- organisation and time management, through meeting course work deadlines
- numeracy and maths
- IT and computer literacy
- research and data analysis
- problem solving and creative thinking
- project management
- self-reliance, initiative and business awareness.
Postgraduate study is a popular choice for biology graduates. You may want to increase your expertise in a particular area of biology or a related subject by taking a Master of Science (MSc) or Research (MRes). Some biology courses have an integrated Masters, allowing you to complete a Masters degree during an additional year.
You may find having a higher qualification puts you at an advantage in a competitive job market as it will enhance your research skills, specialist knowledge and communication skills. However, it's important you research courses carefully to make sure the course you choose matches your career aims. Further study can also help with career progression and is essential for some jobs in biology.
You could also study for a doctoral degree (PhD or DPhil). You'll need to do a PhD if you want a career as a research scientist or a higher education lecturer, for example.
Some biology graduates choose to take further study or training to move into careers such as teaching, dentistry, science writing or law. It's also possible to apply for graduate entry-level to medicine.
What do biology graduates do?
Nearly a fifth (18%) of biology graduates are employed as natural and social science professionals (9%) and science, engineering and production technicians (9%). Careers as teaching professionals, business, research and administrative professionals, sales, marketing and related associate professionals, and business associate professionals are also popular.
|Working and studying||11.5|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Business, HR and finance||13.1|
|Retail, catering and customer service||8.7|
Find out what other biology graduates are doing 15 months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.