Your options as a graduate with a biology degree will largely depend on the level of qualification you attain. While the basic skills developed during an undergraduate biology degree are transferrable to many industries, many of the most sought-after biology careers do require higher levels of academic study.
That said, career options for graduates of biology degrees are certainly not limited to the science and health sectors. Options you may wish to consider include:
Biology research careers
Few subjects lend themselves quite so well to research careers, either within academia or for a private research group or company. As a biology student you will have developed formidable scientific nous which, coupled with close analytical skills, organizational skills and attention to detail make biology graduates well suited to careers as a research scientist, biologist or lab technician in industry, healthcare or education.
As a researcher, you may find yourself working on the development of new medicines, vaccines and forms of medical treatment, investigating the impact of biofuels of food supply, investigating how animals and plants depend on each other, ensuring the safety of the food we consume, protecting the planet’s biodiversity, predicting the effects of climate change – or something else entirely.
Science communication careers
With excellent communication skills and the ability to convey scientific concepts to a non-scientific audience, biology graduates can find a suitable place in a wide range of fulfilling jobs including press officer, journalist, presenter, teacher, policy campaigner and science writer.
Science communications careers may involve working for a government agency, non-profit or charity, to help raise awareness about current scientific discoveries through events, marketing campaigns and educational schemes. As a specialist science journalist or editor, you could combine your scientific background with a flair for writing, working for various types of scientific publication or journal.
Few roles within science communications require a formal postgraduate qualification, though it may be useful to undertake some additional training in journalism – or for those entering the education sector, a teaching qualification.
Biology graduates can also transfer into medical careers, though this will usually require at least four years of postgraduate study. Possible career tracks include dentistry, veterinary science, healthcare science, nursing and allied healthcare fields such as physiotherapy, speech therapy and dietary advice. Biology graduates may also choose to train to become general practice doctors or specialized consultants.
There are also opportunities for biology graduates within the legal sector, where specialized scientific knowledge may be required. Examples of legal careers for biology graduates include roles in patenting, where understanding of specific scientific and technical features would help. Biology graduates may also enjoy working in the scientific support services in the capacity of a forensic scientist for the police or industry, or in policy development and consultancy, which involves providing advice to governments and other bodies.
Other careers for biology graduates
In general, graduates of biology degrees will find that their background and skills will provide them with a broad spectrum of opportunities in both scientific and non-scientific fields. Within the sciences, industries with demand for biology graduates include agriculture, biotechnology, ecology, genetics, neurobiology, horticulture, food science, marine biology, conservation and the environment and wildlife documentary production. Those moving into non-scientific fields may find ways to apply their transferrable skill sets to roles in accountancy, finance, marketing, management and sales sectors.