As well as working as a zoologist, your in-depth knowledge of animal sciences and lab and field work equips you for a career in the environmental, agricultural and pharmaceutical industries
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Environmental consultant
- Field trials officer
- Marine scientist
- Nature conservation officer
- Research scientist (life sciences)
Jobs where your degree would be useful:
- Biomedical scientist
- Environmental education officer
- Environmental manager
- Higher education lecturer
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
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.
It is important to gain experience in any area you are seeking a career in, and the more relevant the better. 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.
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.
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 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.
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, such as in marketing, finance, business, law, museums or journalism. Many postgraduate courses 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.
What do zoology graduates do?
After finishing their degrees, more than half of zoology graduates enter paid employment within six months. Around a fifth of graduates choose to undertake further study, gaining a Masters or PhD.
|Working and studying||5.2|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Retail, catering and bar work||31.3|
|Technicians and other professionals||15.3|
|Childcare, health and education work||11.6|
|Secretarial and numerical clerks||10.4|
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 the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). She only discovered the breadth of interesting careers available within horticulture when she was at university.