Last Updated: May 09, 2021
Studying Biological Sciences in US
Biological Sciences is a course offered in the Life Sciences Department by select colleges and universities as part of an advanced study in Biology. Biology is considered to be the study of life or living organisms and is more of a study in the theory of it than its application. This is where courses like Biological Sciences and Life Sciences come in which are purely applications of the course. Since it is a specialized version of Biology, a few different fields like Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, Immunology, etc. are associated with its study.
Biological Sciences deals with the study of only living organisms through the study of their behavioral patterns, structural organization, and the ways in which they interact with their surroundings. Life Sciences on the other hand is quite similar and yet different from Biological Sciences in the sense that it deals with a more fundamental and applied science.
Programs in Biological Sciences and Life Sciences provide opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills needed to understand plant and animal life and their relationships. Biological Scientists are employed in research, related medical fields, laboratory settings, industry, and education.
Benefits of Studying Biological Sciences
Considering the vastness of the field of Biology, it is often not expected of students to be sure of the area within Biology they want to specialize in right after high school. The general course of Biological Sciences and Life Sciences often students with the choice of understanding the different fields under Biology as different subjects within the 4 years of undergraduate study after which they can move on with higher studies in their field of interest or leave academia for a career prospect.
The increase in population and life expectancy of people has led to a surge in the demand for both physicians and researchers to aid the studies that can increase life expectancy. This is carried forward with other species with specialists required for both studying and looking after other species all the while ensuring their continued survival.
Students who have taken up Life Sciences most often move on to research and take Ph.D. in their respective field which provides them with high-paying jobs. If they are willing to study further and take up the different fields, they can even complete advanced education and take up medicine, veterinary sciences, dentistry, etc. A report from Georgetown University estimates that more than half of biology and life science bachelor's degree graduates go on to get a master's degree or doctorate. Those who go to graduate school end up earning significantly more money.
Irrespective of whether the students’ interest lies in molecular biology, organismal biology, or even global environmental biology, there's an exciting range of career options to pick from, for all those enthusiastic, intelligent, and innovative people. Research biologists for e.g. work in universities, private industries, and government labs. Others get into the challenging area of clinical medicine. Instructors in biology might find jobs at any possible level, from university graduate teaching to secondary education.
Undergraduate Courses in Biological Sciences
Students who are not taking up General Biology as their major in undergraduate studies and are interested in specializing in any one of the fields that come under life sciences or biological sciences have at least 50 different career streams to choose from. Though each of these specializations can be chosen at a degree level, it is understood that most students will need to have the first-hand experience with each of the streams in order to choose their career option. This is where courses like BS in Biological Sciences or Life Sciences comes into play.
Courses like BS in Biological Sciences or BS in Life Sciences include a variety of subjects from the different fields in Biology including subjects like Ecology, Botany, Zoology, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Physiology, etc. Apart from the general topics that come under Life Sciences, they will also have courses like Molecular Biology, Genetics, Chemical Biology, etc. which can offer the student with the option of taking a Master’s degree in the specialization they prefer after their preliminary study.
The time duration for taking a BS in Biological Science takes up to 4 years and provides the student career options in the fields of pharmaceuticals, forestry, veterinary sciences, etc. right after their degree or they can preferably move on to specialize in any field they have formed an interest in within the 4 years of study.
Courses Offered for BS in Biological Sciences
There are a few general courses offered in programs titles BS in Biological and Life Sciences or BS in Biological Sciences or BS in Life Sciences. The subjects that act as a common link and are often repeated due to the foundational importance they have in Applied Biology. These courses are-
- Organic Chemistry
- Behavioral Science
Graduate Programs in Biological Sciences
Master’s in Biological Sciences is provided by all Life Science departments in the country. Taking a Master’s in the subject is the best course of action for increasing one’s reach in the job market since it is a field where specializations offer a higher pay grade than having basic knowledge in most of the subjects.
This program is often focused on the applications of modern biology in most fields but mostly in fields like Cellular Biology, Molecular Biology, Physiology, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Microbiology.
Courses Offered for MS in Biological Sciences
The most common courses offered for graduate programs in Biological Sciences are from the few topics mentioned above like Microbiology, Cellular Biology, Ecology, etc. But the focus upon the fields will vary from the fundamentals these subjects focused on the undergraduate programs and will be more specialized in order to benefit students in their career endeavors. The courses that are commonly offered are-
- Cell Physiology
- Advanced Microbiology
- Molecular Biology
Doctoral Programs in Biological Sciences
Researches in this particular field are always done as a part of expanding the existing knowledge content relating to all organisms. Due to the hands-on approach the course demands, most of the doctoral programs require students to work extensively in laboratories apart from the necessary course work they will have to complete.
Most Ph.D. programs include teaching as part of the course in order to provide students with the teaching experience they will require if they want to become professors after the course.
Courses offered for Ph.D. in Biological and Life Sciences
The common courses that are provided for coursework for the doctoral programs are as follows-
- Cell Biology
- Research Methodology
Top Universities for Biological Sciences
The top universities that have a Life Sciences department and offer courses in Biological Sciences are-
- Harvard University
- Stanford University
- John Hopkins University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- University of California-San Francisco
- University of California-Los Angeles
Career Opportunities with Degree in Biological Sciences
Since the health sector has no age of decline when it comes to hiring new people into the industry, taking up Biological and Life Sciences lets students always have a career option ahead of them. The only problem they will have is in choosing a particular field they excel in in order to be more career-specific in their approach. Students can also choose to keep researching in their respective fields due to the lack of shortage in funding and the availability of research positions in every sub-field of Biology.
The most frequently sought-after career options are given below along with their salary specifications-
- Microbiologist- Microbiologists often work in the development of new drugs and medications. They are also expected to plan and execute new research in the field of medicine that can help diagnose and treat patients in a better manner.
Median Salary: $84,400
- Zoologist- They are mainly considered with animals and have to spend a great deal of time observing the animals of their study to note their development and find their origins. This scientific work includes working with animals both in the lab and in the wild according to the study they plan to perform.
Median Salary: $66,350
- Clinical/ Medical Laboratory Technologist - They are required to work in laboratories for locating microorganisms, estimating the chemical content of fluids, and even testing the drug level in blood.
Median Salary: $54,180
- High School Teacher - They are required to teach Biology to high school students. This will include the duties of scheduling classes, paper corrections, and being involved in other school activities apart from the teaching job they have assigned for.
Median Salary: $62,870
- Research and Development Laboratory Technician - The duties they have to perform including keeping the laboratory clean and organizing equipment. They will have to prepare the lab for different tasks and even sanitize the equipment after it is used.
Median Salary: $46,340
- Chemical Laboratory Technicians -They have to assist scientists and research scholars in the researches they conduct for the development of new products. Their tasks will include making qualitative/ quantitative analyses of materials and even maintaining the environment.
Median Salary: $49,820
- Medical Assistant - Medical Assistants will be in charge of all administrative and clinical tasks. This includes a lot of paperwork including tasks like record keeping and even assisting physicians in examining patients.
Median Salary: $35,850
- Pharmacy Technician - Pharmacy technicians work within a pharmacy often as an assistant to the pharmacist assisting the person in providing medication to the customers according to prescription or providing adept medication to health industries.
Median Salary: $35,100