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Is a biology degree useful?

  1. Jan 31, 2010 #1
    The title pretty much says it all... would a degree in biology open up many venues compared with, say, a degree in chemical engineering or biochemistry? I'm doing pre-med but would like something to fall back on if that doesn't work out.
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  3. Feb 1, 2010 #2


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    Useful for what; bringing you happiness, fulfillment, a sense of accomplishment? Money? Security? Pride?

    What is your passion? Where do you want to spend 40-60 hours of your time each week? What is important to you with regards to your future?
  4. Feb 1, 2010 #3
    Well, biology has been an interest of mine since I was very young, even more so now that it's come into the political spectrum (evolution vs creationism, for example). I enjoy learning (if the topic interests me), and usually get "lost" in my work very quickly (I did 5 hours of homework last week without even realizing it). I can work well with others, but prefer working in peace and quiet by myself.

    I don't care about amassing wealth, but financial stability is pretty important. Pride doesn't matter to me, as I don't take credit for my accomplishments most of the time anyway. I'd be fine with the 9-5 but am extremely flexible.
  5. Feb 1, 2010 #4


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    Not sure about where you are, but on my little part of the planet (Seattle, Washington) biology backgrounds are very marketable. Just going from memory here - I seem to see a lot of employers asking for ELISA skills.

    I'm not a biologist, so I have no idea if http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELISA" [Broken]gives a good description the technique.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Feb 2, 2010 #5


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    It sounds like you are making a good choice! :smile:

    lisab's information is encouraging. If biology is your passion, focus on it. The other degrees you've mentioned are big commitments to make for a backup plan.

    I'd suggest working closely with career advisors in your university; they can help you get a "foot in the door" in a place of your interest. Also, talk to professors and graduate students - get advice and make connections/friendships. You'd be surprised how important these contacts could/will become in your future!
  7. Feb 2, 2010 #6
    You know, if you major in physics you can still argue cosmology with the young earth creationists. :rofl:

    Seriously though, I have friends who were biology majors, who ended up working as lab techs at a clinical research lab. So it looks like you can get these sorts of jobs with just an undergrad degree in biology.
  8. Feb 2, 2010 #7
    Hi. If you really want to make a go of biology, make sure you take all the courses that actually match what you want to do. If you want to work in a lab, then take lots of lab courses. If you want to work in conservation/environmentalism-type-stuff, then take conservation-specific courses and even expand out a bit and do some environmental studies, geology, and GIS. Don't mix and match. Well you can if you want to but you risk not taking a course that an employer might want to see later on.

    I ended up destroying my own prospects by mixing things up too much so I ended up unemployable and not a candidate for the types of grad programs I would be interested in. Graduated with marks in the low 80s too. Ah well. It offered me the opportunity to take a physics course, which made me realize that I like that a *whole lot more*.
  9. Feb 11, 2010 #8
    I actually live pretty close to there Lisab (Portland, Oregon) so that very well could be a future possibility.

    I prefer arguing from the biological standpoint :tongue:.

    So your friends didn't go to graduate school and still got those positions? What's the pay like? What are the hours like? Is it "fun"? Maybe you could ask for me :cool:

    I'll take that advice Lurky. Most of the undergrad requirements are general areas of study with more than a few choices.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2010
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