Biology is a fundamental subject for careers in the science and health sectors but there are many other routes you can take with this degree
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Higher education lecturer
- Nature conservation officer
- Physician associate
- Research scientist (life sciences)
- Research scientist (medical)
- Secondary school teacher
- Soil scientist
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- General practice doctor
- Health promotion specialist
- Science writer
- Sustainability consultant
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. If you haven't already done so, take a few minutes to answer the Job Match questions to find out what careers would suit you.
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 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 and 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.
A 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.
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;
- the 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.
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 in other career areas 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.
What do biology graduates do?
Employment outcomes vary too much for comment but more than a quarter go on to further study, almost a quarter of whom study biology. A further fifth study either medicine, dentistry or teacher training.
|Working and studying||4.9|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Retail, catering and bar work||18.2|
|Technicians and other professionals||17.6|
|Business, HR and financial||9.1|
|Secretarial and numerical clerks||8.9|
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.