According to most science jobs websites, like jobs.sciencecareers.org, the number of jobs in biology far exceeds the number of jobs in every other natural science, like physics or chemistry.
Why are there so many more people getting biology degrees than physics or chem (or even other fields like geology)? Is it because most of the premed people do bio? Is it the math in physics/chem that scares people away? Or is it just that biotechnology is the "hot" thing right now?My wife has a Masters in Microbiology, and when she was looking for work after graduation, jobs were pretty thin on the ground. Glancing through the listings at the link, it looks like a lot of lecturer and post-doc academic positions, which probably just reflects the relative size of biology departments compared to the other sciences. The lab my wife worked in in grad school had as many students as the whole physics department.
People don't really seem to pick fields in college by job prospects. That is always a part of it, but I don't think it is the largest factor. What do you like? What college or major did your friends enter? What do you have an aptitude for? What do you like? What is easy?Why are there so many more people getting biology degrees than physics or chem (or even other fields like geology)? Is it because most of the premed people do bio? Is it the math in physics/chem that scares people away? Or is it just that biotechnology is the "hot" thing right now?
Oh boy, another question I can speculate on...Why are there so many more people getting biology degrees than physics or chem (or even other fields like geology)? Is it because most of the premed people do bio? Is it the math in physics/chem that scares people away? Or is it just that biotechnology is the "hot" thing right now?
One huge difference I'd add to the list is funding- the NIH budget is huge and there was a huge effort to double it relatively recently. This means more funding for postdocs and graduate students and more graduate students = more ability to teach undergrads.Oh boy, another question I can speculate on...
Especially when the people who DO fight through and get phds in the suject basically have no economic reward for doing so. Whats the incentive to master something difficult when you'll just spend the rest of your life forgetting it?Physics is known to be killer to most, so they'll take the minimum required and be done.
On the other hand, most lab tech positions that I am familiar with (either in pharmaceutical firms or in hospitals, the two places I can think of that would hire lab techs) tend to be low-paying (at least for those with just a BS in Biology) with little room for career advancement. That was one of the reasons why one of my friends left his lab tech position to work in health informatics.OP, there's a far greater amount of Biology majors going into professional schools and more money to be spent on research in Bio than almost any other science! That's why more people get Biology degrees. You can get a BS in Bio, and if you get turned down for Med School, just get your PhD and research. If you get turned town for a PhD program, you can usually get an entry level job as a lab tech.
yup, been there -_-' , some people are just that closed minded.Oh boy, another question I can speculate on...
I would venture to guess that one factor on the physical sciences end is that a lot of people with such aptitudes in high school are drawn in different directions - physical sciences compete with engineering and even technology fields. You don't have as much of a split with those who are drawn towards the squishy sciences.
Another factor might be the perception of biological sciences being easier (memorization-type work) compared to physical sciences (problem-solving-type work). On average more people perhaps tend to focus their cognitive abilities on the former rather than the latter.
Then of course there is meal ticket that is medicine. Every school has its urban legend of the first year bio/chem/physics professor who asks how many students are interested in medicine and roughly 90% of the class raises hands. Medicine is a noble profession, it offers a large amount of prestige, it can pay insanely well, and parents can be more willing to help out a kid who wants to go into medicine than one who wants to say, study black holes.
On top of that, there is just plain interest. Biology - particularly at the high school level - explains a lot of things... why we breathe, how we evolved, why we get sick... whereas a lot of physics at the high school level can be confined to "a block on an inclined plane about to slip" type problems. The students that really get into it (physics) seem to make that intuitive leap that studying such things leads to quantum tunneling and wormholes in space and the like, but I can't help but wonder if that same kind of leap isn't necessary with the biological sciences.