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Courses and careers in biology

by on June 13, 2020 | Top Stories, Career Guide

Courses and careers in biology -

From analysing a microscopic process to understanding a complex ecosystem, studying biology will allow you to learn about living things in the world around you. If you’re interested in a career in biology, you’d be pleased to know that your options are wide ranging. You could work solo or be involved in a team project; your job could be outdoors in the ocean or jungle or indoors in a laboratory.

The variety of specialisations will also enable you to study what you’re passionate about—plants, animals, people and more! What’s your life calling? Would you like to help fight disease, conserve and protect the environment or find solutions to sustain a growing population?

These days, studies in biology is combined with techniques in other fields such as chemistry, physics, engineering and maths. If you are excited about what you can do in the field of biology, read on to find out which course is best for you.

Important skills for a career in biology

  • Numeracy and maths skills
  • Critical thinking and drawing conclusions
  • Investigation
  • Experimental design
  • Observation
  • Asking questions
  • Team work and collaboration
  • Communication skills
  • IT skills and computer literacy
  • Time management and planning
  • Innovation and creative thinking

Source: Society of Biology, Becoming a biologist—degrees and careers in biology

Course Biology or Biological Sciences
Description Biology and Biological Sciences is a wide-ranging field that involves the study of life and living organisms and their environment. Depending on the course you may focus on molecular study, physiological processes, evolution, genetics, or even the study of the environment, ecosystems and biodiversity.

It is common for bachelor degree programmes to offer specialisations like microbiology, zoology or ecology. Nonetheless, a degree in biological sciences gives a student flexibility in choosing a particular area of interest, or in exploring opportunities in a wide portfolio of biological careers.
Possible careers
  • Academic researcher
  • Biologist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Ecologist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Marine biologist
  • Microbiologist
  • Nanotechnologist
  • Nature conservation officer
  • Pharmacologist
  • Research scientist (life sciences)
  • Scientific laboratory technician
  • Scientific writer
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Soil scientist
  • Teaching laboratory technician
Examples of degree programmes
  • Bachelor of Science (Biology)
  • Bachelor of Science (Biological Science)
  • Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology)
  • Bachelor of Science (Industrial Biology)
  • Bachelor of Science (Conservation Biology)
  • Bachelor of Science (Cell & Molecular Biology)
  • Bachelor of Science (Microbiology)
  • Bachelor of Education in Science (Biology)
Course Biochemistry
Description Biochemistry is the application of chemistry to the study of biological processes at the cellular and molecular level. Students will learn and use the methods of chemistry, physics, molecular biology, and immunology to study the structure and behaviour of the complex molecules found in biological material and the ways these molecules interact to form cells, tissues, and whole organisms.

Methods in biochemistry are used to investigate the mechanisms of brain function, cellular multiplication and differentiation, communication within and between cells and organs, and the chemical bases of inheritance and disease.
Possible careers
  • Academic researcher
  • Analytical chemist
  • Biomedical scientist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Clinical research associate
  • Clinical scientist, biochemistry
  • Forensic scientist
  • Medicinal chemist
  • Nanotechnologist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Research scientist (life sciences)
  • Scientific laboratory technician
Examples of degree programmes Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry)
Course Biotechnology
Description Biotechnology covers many different disciplines, e.g. genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology and is used to develop solutions to problems in medicine and healthcare, agriculture, environmental management, forensics, industrial processing, and more. You will learn subjects like general chemistry, cell biology, microbiology, biological chemistry, DNA technology and molecular biology. Your course may also include business management and entrepreneurial skills that enable you to explore opportunities within a competitive environment.
Possible careers
  • Biochemist
  • Biomanufacturing specialists
  • Biophysicist
  • Biotechnology laboratory technician
  • Biotechnology research associate
  • Crime lab technician
  • Environmental engineer
  • Food scientist and technologist
  • Medical scientist
  • Microbiologist
  • Process development scientist
Examples of degree programmes
  • Bachelor of Biotechnology
  • Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology
  • Bachelor of Science in Medical Biotechnology
  • Bachelor of Science in Plant Biotechnology
  • Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology)
Course Biophysics
Description Biophysics is the application of the theories and methods of physics to understand how biological systems work. It uses mathematical language and computation to describe biology in quantitative terms. In biophysics, you will learn the mechanics of how the molecules of life are made, how different parts of a cell move and function, and how complex systems in our bodies—the brain, circulation, immune system, and others— work. The knowledge you gain in biophysics can be used to develop methods to overcome disease, produce renewable energy sources, design medical technologies, and other solutions that impact our daily life.
Possible careers
  • Biophysicist
  • Forensic biophysicist
  • Researcher
  • Medical biophysicist
  • Scientist
  • Nutritional biophysicist
  • Clinical biophysicist
  • Applied biophysicist
Examples of degree programmes Bachelor of Science in Biophysics
Course Bioengineering and biomedical engineering
Description Bioengineering, sometimes known as biomedical engineering, involves using the principles of engineering to develop solutions for medical problems and biological systems that improve our quality of life. For example, bioengineering has played an important role in the development of artificial limbs and joints, and equipment like pacemakers, dialysis machines, ultrasound, MRI and more. Students will be equipped with a strong engineering foundation that may include biology, chemistry, physics, and math before moving to a specific focus like biotechnology, biomechanics, biomaterials or biomedical instrumentation.
Possible careers
  • Biomedical engineer
  • Biomedical engineering technician
  • Bioengineering researcher
  • Clinical engineer
  • Materials engineer
  • Rehabilitation engineer
Examples of degree programmes
  • Bachelor of Bioengineering
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Biomedical)
Course Biomedical science
Description A degree in biomedical science will develop your understanding of the human body and prepare you to conduct scientific and laboratory research to support diagnosis and treatment of human disease. You may study subjects like anatomy, physiology, genetics, microbiology, mathematics and psychology to equip you with the knowledge to develop new treatments and therapies for illnesses and disabilities. You may choose to focus on a specific medical condition like cancer, diabetes, ageing, stress, or emerging diseases.
Possible careers
  • Analytical chemist
  • Biomedical scientist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Clinical scientist, biochemistry
  • Clinical scientist, genomics
  • Clinical scientist, haematology
  • Clinical scientist, immunology
  • Forensic scientist
  • Medicinal chemist
  • Microbiologist
  • Physician associate
  • Research scientist (medical)
  • Toxicologist
Examples of degree programmes
  • Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science
Course Computational Biology
Description Computational biology is the combined application of math, statistics and computer science to solve biology-based problems. In computational biology, you will learn to build models for diverse types of experimental data and biological systems. You will also learn how to interpret biological phenomena using mathematical and statistical models, computational tools and algorithms. Using the knowledge you’ve built in your knowledge in biology, mathematics and computer science, you’ll integrate what you’ve learned to solve problems in fields such as genomics, evolution, ecology, epidemiology and systems biology.
Possible careers
  • Academic researcher
  • Computational biologist
  • Research scientist
Examples of degree programmes Bachelor of Science (Computational Biology)
Course Bioinformatics
Description A degree in bioinformatics is sometimes offered together with computational biology but the two fields are slightly different. While computational biology uses algorithms, mathematical modeling, and statistical evaluation to make inferences from complicated data sets, in contrast, bioinformatics uses computational tools and approaches (e.g. software development, database development and management) to expand the use of these data and convey information contained within data sets. In a bioinformatics degree, you will need to build a strong foundation in mathematical techniques and physics, and you may learn subjects like anatomy, biochemistry, genomics, computer programming, database design and management, data mining and others.
Possible careers
  • Bioinformatician
  • Bioinformatics analyst
  • Bioinformatics scientist
  • Bioinformatics software developer
  • Computational biologist
  • Database programmer
  • Data mining specialist
  • Data scientist
  • Network administrator/ analyst
  • Research scientist
Examples of degree programmes
  • Bachelor in Bioinformatics
  • Bachelor of Computer Science (Bioinformatics)
  • Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics

Some of the popular biological related courses at Bachelor degree level featured in




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