If you have a strong background in natural science and a keen interest in animal biology, you may consider getting a degree in zoology. Zoology degree programs encompass several subjects and categories including genetics, conservation, eco-systems and organ systems of different species. Zoology programs at the upper level prepare students to become research scientists and teachers, while undergraduate and even some graduate degree programs provide training for students interested in becoming biological technicians or lab assistants.
Types of Zoology Programs
If you are considering a career in this field, consider the benefits of completing a doctoral zoology degree. Most colleges and universities offer three types of zoology programs: undergraduate zoology degrees, graduate zoology degree programs, and doctoral level zoology programs.
After completing your basic educational requirements at the undergraduate level, you will need to take a series of upper-division courses in subjects including ecology, cellular and developmental biology, population biology and behavior. Most specialized courses require students to complete lab training, where they may study the behavior of different types of animals, dissect marine animals and reptiles, review slides of different species, and study the relationships between different land and water species.
Many college and universities that offer zoology programs provide students with access to state-of-the-art laboratories, controlled environment labs and rooms, freshwater aquariums, and even small zoos. These give student the opportunity to perform experiments and conduct hands-on research right on site.
Getting a Zoology Degree
It typically takes at least four years to earn a bachelor's zoology degree, one to two years to earn a master's degree in zoology, and an additional two or three years of research studies to receive a doctoral degree in zoology. Keep in mind that research centers, colleges, universities and conservation organizations supported by the government typically only hire those with a doctoral degree in zoology. You will need to work hard for several years in order to meet all educational requirements for your degree, and also continue taking courses in the field or specialty. Students interested in completing a zoology degree program typically begin their educational track by declaring a biology major at the undergraduate level, and then taking specialized courses in animal sciences and animal biology.
Graduate level zoology degree programs typically focus on the study of different species, with more of a focus on birds, reptiles, mammals, animal evolution, fish and marine eco-systems. Most graduate programs include extensive lab work and experiment projects, and typically require students to spend a significant amount of time in the lab setting or controlled environment rooms.
After completing a zoology degree at the doctoral level, you may be eligible to apply for jobs in research, inspection, management, conservation and other specialized areas in the field. Some employers may require you to take an examination as part of the application process. Others may require references from your college professors and advisors, and an in-person interview.