What can one do with a biology degree?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by goodtimes5, May 14, 2007.

  1. goodtimes5 macrumors 6502a

    goodtimes5

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #1
    I'm majoring in integrated biology right now at Berkeley, and I have always intended to go to medical school and become a physician. However, I've quickly come to learn that I'm just not smart enough, and no med school will accept me with my low GPA. So what are some things I can do with my future degree in biology?
     
  2. iSaint macrumors 603

    iSaint

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    #2
    teach, research, field work...

    My brother and his wife are both wildlife biologists. She works for a branch of the government called the Jackson Guard, and they help maintain the wildlife on a large military base. My brother works for a wildlife refuge and does a lot of animal rescue.

    And, I really don't know about med school, but I think if you have the passion and ability, grades won't matter. I would think someone would give you a chance, at least. Or, go back when your older. One of my best friends just finished med school and he's 44. He's happier than he's ever been!
     
  3. ToddW macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2004
    #3
    i know a guy who became an electrical engineer with his biology degree, but that is only at the jacked up place i work at. oh to live in bizzaro world!
     
  4. pooky macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    #4
    I'm a wildlife biologist. I get paid to go hiking, camping, and count birds and rats. There are definitely worse things to do.

    That being said, if you're not interested in it, you'll hate it. There are lots of other things to do with a biology degree. I have some friends who became zookeepers. Lots of people who don't really *like* biology but really wanted med school wind up going to pharmacy and dental school.

    And having passion and ability is great for most fields, but unfortunately, doesn't amount to much with our medical education system. It rewards one kind of person only - the kind that has no life outside of school and winds up with a 3.5-4.0 (sometimes 3.5 is even too low) and excellent MCAT score. Maybe that's part of the problem with our health care system - there's not much diversity.
     
  5. epochblue macrumors 68000

    epochblue

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #5
    If you happen to be computer programming savvy, the BioTech industry could be a great place to start looking.

    Truthfully, most people end up in jobs that have little to nothing to do with their major in college, so do whatever you want. Just because you studied Biology in college doesn't mean you have to do Biology forever.
     
  6. furcalchick macrumors 68020

    furcalchick

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Location:
    South Florida
    #6
    graduated with a biology degree just a few months ago, and i'm sort of asking myself the same question as i'm looking for a job (took a short hiatus from the real world before starting a job search), so this question is good for me as well. i thought at first the only thing a biology degree can get you is a entry bench job, but there are lots of things you can do with it...just got to think about it first.

    i had a episode in college where i was pretty much pushed into going to get my phd because all the professors convinced me that there was no jobs out there for those with a bachelor's in biology and that the only way to be a good biology graduate was to get my phd. and the system for phd is way worse than the med school system. after 5-7 years of no life and practically working like a slave, you don't know where your next job is coming from, and pay is low, and the chances of actually getting a good job are low. after a while, i thought i should just go into the real world and at least have a chance at a life instead of having no life. i'm not the type of person that has no life.

    you can get a job at a science museum, write science articles for newspapers or science companies among a few things you can do with your biology degree.

    my gpa is pretty good, but i doubt i would get into med school with it (was never looking at med school anyway), as it's a bit too low for it. and usually, when you get into med school, it's very hard to get kicked out, and so much schooling as well after college.
     
  7. goodtimes5 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    goodtimes5

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #7
    If I go the way of pharmacy, don't I still need to go to pharmacy school? And then isn't that going to be similar to the admissions for med school?

    Also, what exactly is biotech? I hear about it so much, but don't really have a firm grasp on what it is.

    I'm taking a bio lab right now, and frankly, I don't see myself as being a biologist. I love the subject, but I still love the health profession. It's just that the profession might not necessarily love me.
     
  8. furcalchick macrumors 68020

    furcalchick

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Location:
    South Florida
    #8
    pharmacy school admissions aren't as strict and after four years of school (the last year is residency mostly), you get your pharm.d and get right to work. this is what some of my friends have done. i know, i've been around the pharmacy school a few times and took a pharmacology course. but i suggest you look at the pharmacy schools in your area and look at the admissions.

    now for the second question, i suggest wikipedia to get a basic sense of what biotech is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biotech . it mostly deals in molecular biology, microbiology, etc, so if you don't like those, this isn't likely for you.

    and the feeling you have in bio lab sounds similar to my experiences in lab, especially micro lab (total disaster). it was after that i decided to start researching in alternate career paths in science.

    and here's a wikipedia article to get you started: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_awareness_of_science . another idea is teaching (and it doesn't have to be just schools), and at least in florida, you can get a teaching credential for two years without a education degree and the pay is decent at least for someone just out of school.
     
  9. FJ218700 macrumors 68000

    FJ218700

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Location:
    Blue Dot, Red State
    #9
    I would suggest going to grad school and get a PhD or Masters. It really isn't as difficult as it sounds, just takes 2-6 yrs and some diligence. With a BS in Biology, many grad programs are currently open to you: cell biology, microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, etc. You really have a great opprotunity to choose whatever career path you are interested in. Even with a low GPA, provided that you do not totally bomb the GRE, you will likely still be able to get a full scholarship + stipend at some universities. If this sounds interesting to you, the most imporant thing is for you to gain some research experience before you apply.
     
  10. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    #10
    I read a statistic a few years back that stated that only 40% of graduates work in a field that pertains to their degree.

    In my experience, your degree and your GPA only help you get your first job. After that (assuming at least five years have past), no one cares that you had a 3.2 GPA (or 2.3 for that matter) and that you were undersecretary for your college chess club.
     
  11. epochblue macrumors 68000

    epochblue

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #11
    QFT.

    Your GPA is mostly helpful for your first (and maybe second) job out of school and getting into grad school; beyond that, what counts is your work experience.
     
  12. furcalchick macrumors 68020

    furcalchick

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Location:
    South Florida
    #12
    don't go into this before knowing exactly what you are getting into. make sure this is what you want, because the road, especially after finishing your phd isn't pretty, as for most, you will be in post docs for many years after this, making low pay. and don't go right out of college, spend some time in the real world first. i almost went straight to grad school without thinking...could have saved me...
     
  13. erickkoch macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Location:
    Kalifornia
    #14
    I was in the same boat. I got a biology degree and decided to stay in school because I didn't know what else to do but get a master and maybe work in biotech. I had to take prerequisets in microbiology and that's when I discovered clinical laboratory science. I ended up getting a second degree in Medical Technology and now work in a hospital laboratory doing medical lab tests. Pay is good in CA and demand is through the roof.
     
  14. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Location:
    having a drink at Milliways
    #15
    if you don't like the bench, i wouldn't reccomend pursuing a PhD in the medical sciences.

    i don't know how 'low' is your GPA, and it also depends on other factors (e.g., school, letters, previous lab experience), but you might find difficult getting in a good PhD program (but not impossible, depending on where you'd apply).

    if you really like the clinical aspects, have you considered becoming a nurse practitioner? interesting, important, very well paid, and not as hard to get into nursing school as int med school.
     
  15. BigPrince macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    #16
    Work on a cruise ship as the ships "Environmental Officer." This position was created in part for PR.

    Generally you train the crew to be responsible with garbage, how to handle garbage, make sure there is enough garbage cans/ash trays, oversee the disposal of garbage at sea, recycling, improving the ships output of garbage and etc.

    In some cases you might give a weekly lecture to cruise ship passengers about the environment.

    Also, arrange and organize "nature related" off ship tours and have current knowledge of the "nature spots" at the destinations your ship visits.

    Free food. Free living quarters. Meet new people every week. Descent pay. Lots and lots of traveling. Often X month contracts so you get some time off as well.

    this my friend is an awesome ****ing job. now alls you have to do is meet your future wife that also works in the cruise ship industry. I also hope you don't want kids.

    this is at least definitely a great short term thing to get involved in.
     
  16. Leareth macrumors 68000

    Leareth

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #17
    I found that a BSc in Biology is not worth very much anymore.
    I kind of had a shock when I realized on my graduation that the other 419 people standing next to me have the exact same degree and we are all competing for what 10-15 jobs that we were qualified for...

    A bachelor's lets qualifies you for grunt work for research, outdoor sampling, and maybe if you are lucky where you live , hospital lab prep. not actual testing.

    BEST thing is to get work experience while getting the degree.

    For you now I suggest going back to school and getting another degree to either compliment this one and make sure you do the co-op's if available, or look for a job outside the common areas.
     
  17. furcalchick macrumors 68020

    furcalchick

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Location:
    South Florida
    #18
    don't forget the years of perhaps wasting away in postdocs. here's an informative article that will explain this alot better than i can. http://philip.greenspun.com/careers/women-in-science
     
  18. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    #19
    An old friend of mine (I was about 14 at the time) studied for a biology degree. He went to work for some research company about growing plants in harsh climates, he can't tell us the rest, official secrets act!
     
  19. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    #20
    I really don't think more education is what the OP is looking for. A master's or PhD is not going to greatly improve his situation (unless we are talking about Med School which was ruled out in the first post).

    My advice is to forget about what you are SUPPOSED to do with a degree in Biology and focus on what you WANT to do. When you find out what that is, network, network, network. Talk to people you know in that industry and rack their brains. Have them point you to other people you can talk to. Attend job fairs for said industry. I mean seriously, you will have a degree from Berkley. That means a lot in and of itself. It's far from Northwestern Kansas Polytechnic. Get out there, meet people and get a job doing what makes you happy.

    I have a degree in Construction Science from Texas A&M (a hybrid between engineering and architecture). After school, I went to work as a Constuction Manager building treatment plants across the state of Texas. Good job, great money but with it came high stress, long hours, and lots of travel. Not what I wanted. If I had my choice, I would have wanted to get paid to play with computers all day. So, I talked with college buddies who were doing what I wanted to do and make connections. A few months later, one of my friends left a nice position as the IT Director for a Mid-size company and offered to suggest me as a replacement. Long story short, I am now the IT Director for a Mid-sized company in Houston.
     
  20. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Its not so much where you are as when you are.
    #21
    Management. A lot of companies want managers with "a degree".
     
  21. Gee macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #22
    I have a biology degree, and I started out working as a copy editor for a biology journal - there's a lot of them about, and if you can spell, academic publishing is something you should consider.

    I've subsequently moved in to medical communications and pharmaceutical markteing - another big industry with plenty of opportunities for editors, writers, and creative types.

    Sound interesting?
     
  22. furcalchick macrumors 68020

    furcalchick

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Location:
    South Florida
    #23
    actually, that's one of my options i've narrowed down to for my first job. actually, my plan was to take up two part time jobs for a little bit, one teaching in some capacity and one writing, but i'm not sure exactly how it's sorting out, although i'm looking in the atlanta area to start out, since that's the closest big area to me(my area is lacking in both, not much here expect for tourism and wal mart). i'm at a bit of a disadvantage because i went to a no name school (it's accredited though), but the first guy shouldn't have too much trouble getting a job, this is berkley.

    thanks for the encouragement, i was getting a bit scared for a little while there, as i'm starting to look for jobs.
     
  23. Gee macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #24
    Ok, well I know of one pharma marketing company in Atlanta - you could drop them a line and see if they have a vacancy for an account junior or a trainee medical writer: www.meditechmedia.com
     
  24. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    #25
    A friend of mine just got her master's in biology, six years of school worth. She works at a zoo for about $8 an hour now.
     

Share This Page