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:
- Academic researcher
- Higher education lecturer
- Marine biologist
- Nature conservation officer
- Research scientist (life sciences)
- Scientific laboratory technician
- Secondary school teacher
- Soil scientist
- Teaching laboratory technician
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Anatomical pathology technologist
- Animal physiotherapist
- Clinical scientist, cardiac sciences
- Dental hygienist
- Dental technician
- Dental therapist
- Genetic counsellor
- Health improvement practitioner
- Medical science liaison
- 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.
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
- private hospitals and NHS trusts
- national and global health, conservation 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, education and health sectors in industries such as business, finance, the civil service, marketing and sales.
Skills for your CV
In addition to subject-specific knowledge of biological systems and concepts, you develop a range of practical and technical skills and learn how to use specialist techniques and technical equipment.
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, or to move into another career such as teaching, medicine or law.
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.
Some biology courses have an integrated Masters, allowing you to complete a Masters degree during an additional year.
If you want a career as a research scientist or a university lecturer, you'll need to do a PhD in a relevant area of biology.
What do biology graduates do?
It was reported that 7% of biology graduates become laboratory technicians. Careers as secondary education teachers (5%), biochemists and biomedical scientists (4%), and biological scientists (3%) are also popular.
|Working and studying||11.5|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Retail, catering and customer service||15.2|
|Business, HR and finance||9.8|
|Clerical, secretarial and administrative||8.8|
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.