What can I do with a biology degree?

What can I do with a biology degree?

Biology graduates are well placed to succeed in any job where data handling or research skills are important. These jobs would not necessarily have to be restricted to science-based employers.

There are plenty of careers available to biology students, but since there isn’t a single obvious path, sometimes it can be problematic deciding what to do after graduating.

This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.

Skills for your CV

Specific skills you will have gained include:

  • time and self-management
  • data management, analysis and interpretation
  • concise and accurate writing and communication skills
  • research skills
  • organisational skills
  • presentation skills
  • ability to identify and predict trends and patterns
  • ability to interpret and evaluate events, information, and ideas
  • computer literacy

Job roles and career areas you could work in

Your career options include the following roles and specialisms:

What do biology graduates go on to do?

Here’s what biology graduates who finished their degrees in 2017 were doing six months after graduating, according to the What do graduates do? report published in 2018.

Destination Percentage
Full-time employment in the UK 35.5
Part-time employment in the UK 11.4
Working overseas 1.9
Working and studying 6.1
Further study 33.4
Unemployed 6.0
Other 5.6

Source: What do graduates do? 2017

Key areas of employment for fresh biology graduates

These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2016 biology graduates six months after graduation, according to the 2017 What do graduates do? report.

Areas of employment Percentage
Other professionals, associate professionals and technicians 19.5
Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff 19.4
Business, HR and finance professionals 9.6
Other occupations 9.0
Science professionals 8.5

Source: What do graduates do? 2018

Which careers attract biology students?

Scientific research and development was by far the most popular career choice for students of natural sciences identified by a 2018 survey of more than 60,000 undergraduates carried out by trendence UK, a partner of TARGETjobs’ parent company GTI. Just under half (48.5%) of students of natural sciences, a group of degree subjects that includes biology, who participated in the survey said they were interested in this area. The most popular careers for students of natural sciences were as follows:

Career Percentage
Scientific research and development 48.5% expressed an interest
Energy and utilities 26.5
Consumer goods – manufacturing and marketing 26
Engineering, design and manufacture 16
Construction, civil engineering and surveying 13.5

Source: trendence UK Graduate Survey 2018

Famous people with biology degrees

Having a biology degree doesn’t even need to restrict you to these careers. All of these celebrities studied biology:

  • David Attenborough – graduated with a natural sciences degree in 1947, and went on to become famous for presenting wildlife documentaries.
  • Lisa Kudrow – earned a degree in psychobiology before she rose to fame as Phoebe in Friends.
  • Mayim Bialik – plays neurobiologist Amy in The Big Bang Theory, but also has a PhD in neuroscience in real life.

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