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Frequently Asked Questions

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Will I be able to find a job after graduation?

We hope so.  But it depends on many factors including the economy, your grades, and  whether or not you have engaged in activities that make you competitive.  Let's look at  an actual job ad:


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Biological Science Technician (Wildlife)
JOB SUMMARY:
The duties of a Biological Science Technician (Wildlife) include the use of Geographic  Information System and Global Positioning Systems to sample and map habitats and  features in the field; analyzes data and prepares reports; takes and records scientific  measurements; conducts biological surveys of wildlife or habitat; and keeps detailed  and precise records on habitat conditions in order to report data.


OK, so now let's see how well your resume and transcript indicate that you are  qualified to do any of these things?  Have you taken and excelled in a GIS course?   Have you engaged in undergraduate research or an internship in which you analyzed data,  prepared reports, recorded measurements, conducted surveys and kept precise records?   Is someone willing to write a letter of recommendation documenting that you preformed  those tasks exceptionally well?  If not, then you'd better get busy preparing yourself  for the real world!  Note that simply having a degree in biology does not qualify you  for this entry level position.  This holds true for ALL jobs, not just this one.   Nowadays, everyone has a college degree--what makes YOU stand out above everyone else?  Find out about research opportunities, internships, etc. from your advisor.  Think seriously about taking a summer job that is relevant to developing the skills and experiences you need.  Start looking at job ads NOW so you know what you need to do to be qualified for the career you want.
What can I do with a degree in Biology?

This is not an easy question to answer simply because there are so many possibilities.   There are entire books written on the subject.  Some of these books are available in  Career Services and the Library.  The Department of Biological Sciences also has many career  books available in the main office, room 203 Science. It is very important that you are  aware of the many different kinds of career options and then focus your studies so that  you will be qualified to do what you want to do.  All jobs are very competitive and it  is critical that you take relevant courses and excel in them AND engage in a variety of  activities that will set you apart from less motivated students.

An informative article about career information in biology can be found here.

How do I find a biology advisor?
What can I do if I'm not accepted into medical school (or another professional school)?
Most students who start college thinking they want to be doctors end up doing something else.  Some decide on their own that this path is not for them.  Others find that their academic record is not good enough to be accepted into medical school.  If this is you, there are other health professional careers that you can fall back on.  See an advisor for some ideas and also look through some books about biology and health professional careers (available in Career Services, the Library, and the biology office in Science 203.
I'm interested in doing research, what do I do?
Visit our page describing faculty research interests and find a professor with interests that most closely match your own.  Learn about their research and then contact them to express your interest in doing research.  Explain why you want to do research.  It is a considerable time commitment for a professor to mentor student researchers, so professors will expect you to be highly motivated and productive in the lab or field.  Do not ask to get involved if you only want to add a line to your resume--you need to really want to do research and be fascinated by the research topic and techniques.