Go to Local Navigation by skipping CSULB Header, and CSULB Navigation. Student and Employer BeachLINK login portals are located here.
Go to Page Content by skipping CSULB Header, CSULB Navigation, and Local Navigation Links
California State University, Long Beach
Student receiving Career advise on choosing a Major
 

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES: What can I do with this Major?

BIOTECHNOLOGY
CAREER
Research and Development
Laboratory Testing
Education
EMPLOYERS
Colleges and universities
Pharmaceutical companies
Agricultural industry including fertilizer manufacturers and animal and plant breeding and production
Federal and state government laboratories and agencies
Industry, particularly biotechnology firms
STRATEGIES
Become proficient using laboratory equipment and computers.
Acquire a Ph.D. for college and university teaching and advanced positions in research, development, and management.
Take additional courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics.
Complete an undergraduate laboratory research project with a professor.
GENETICS
CAREER
Research and Development related to: Animals, Plants, and Humans
Genetic Counseling
Education
EMPLOYERS
Colleges and universities
Pharmaceutical companies
Large producers of seed, livestock, and poultry
Government laboratories such as: Department of Agriculture, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Institutes of Health
Biotechnology industry
Hospitals and medical centers
STRATEGIES
Acquire a broad background in sciences, mathematics, and computer technology. Obtain a Ph.D. for teaching and advanced positions in research and management. Earn a master's degree from an accredited program for genetic counseling. Complete an undergraduate research project with a professor. Find a related internship with an organization in the area of your interest.
MICROBIOLOGY
CAREER
Research and Development
Education
Quality Control
EMPLOYERS
Colleges and universities
Private research foundations
Government research laboratories and service agencies
Hospitals and public health facilities
Agricultural experiment stations
Food, chemical, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic companies
Industry including wood products, paper, textiles, optical equipment, leather, and electrical equipment
Environmental and pollution control agencies
STRATEGIES
Obtain a Ph.D. for teaching and advanced research and management positions.
Develop additional competencies in chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Take courses related to your field of interest or consider an advanced degree to specialize. Find a related internship with an organization in the area of your interest. Complete an undergraduate research project with a professor. Develop strong skills using laboratory equipment and computers.
BOTANY
CAREER
Education
Research and Development
Conservation
Production
Quality Control
Administration
EMPLOYERS
Colleges and universities
Medical and private research laboratories
Pharmaceutical industry
Industries and laboratories involved in production of food, textiles, chemical, and forestry products
State and federal government, especially the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, and Health
Botanical gardens and arboretums
National and international environmental Organizations
STRATEGIES
Conduct undergraduate research with professors. Join related professional organizations. Take courses in this specialized area or consider an advanced degree for more opportunities. Take courses in organic chemistry, biochemistry, and physics. Obtain a Ph.D. for teaching and advanced positions in research and management. Complete a related internship with an organization in the area of your interest.
SYSTEMATIC BIOLOGY
CAREER
Education
Research and Development
Taxonomy
Conservation
Consulting
Administration
EMPLOYERS
Colleges, universities, and agricultural colleges
Federal agencies including Departments of Agriculture and Interior
State and local agencies
Private research foundations
Museums
Botanical gardens and arboretums
Zoos and aquariums
Public health laboratories
Hospitals
National and international environmental organizations
STRATEGIES
Earn a Ph.D. for college and university teaching and advanced research and management positions. Develop excellent laboratory and computer skills. Get involved with undergraduate research with professors. Join related professional organizations. Complete a related internship with an organization in the area of your interest.
ENTOMOLOGY
CAREER
Education
Research and Development
Toxicology
Conservation
Quality Control
EMPLOYERS
Colleges and universities, especially colleges of agriculture and veterinary medicine
Industry including food producers and processors, chemicals for insect control, and lumber and pulp
Chemical companies
Pest control companies
Federal and state government
Health agencies
Agricultural experiment stations
Inspection agencies and control boards
Conservation agencies
STRATEGIES
Acquire a Ph.D. for college and university teaching and advanced research and management positions. Conduct undergraduate research with professors. Join related professional organizations. Take courses in this specialized area or consider an advanced degree for more opportunities. Complete a related internship with an organization in the area of your interest.
MARINE AND AQUATIC BIOLOGY
CAREER
Research and Development
Education
Administration
Production
Quality Control
Conservation
EMPLOYERS
Federal, state, and local government
Inspection organizations
Private recreation organizations
Research laboratories
Colleges and universities
Zoos and aquariums
Fish hatcheries
National and international environmental agencies
STRATEGIES
Develop a good foundation in mathematics, physics, computer science, statistics, and chemistry. Acquire a Ph.D. for college and university teaching and advanced research and management positions. Obtain experience related to fishing and boating. Complete a related internship with an organization in the area of your interest. Take specialized courses in this area or consider an advanced degree for more opportunities.
ZOOLOGY
CAREER
Animal Care/Training
Research and Development
Conservation
Administration
Education
EMPLOYERS
Wildlife preserves and parks
Zoos, aquariums, and other collections of animals
Museums
Research organizations
Pharmaceutical, chemical, and agricultural service industries
Federal, state, and local government
Colleges and universities
Veterinary hospitals
Clinics and hospitals
STRATEGIES
Obtain experience working with animals and various related laboratory equipment. Develop a broad background in biology and other related subjects such as chemistry, physics, mathematics, and statistics. Obtain a Ph.D. for teaching and advanced research and management positions. Complete a related internship with an organization in the area of your interest. A zoological background is good preparation for a career in veterinary science or medicine, but an advanced degree is also required to practice.
BIOMEDICAL
CAREER
Physiology
Biophysics
Biochemistry
Pharmacology
Immunology
Pathology
Research and Development
Education
Quality Control
EMPLOYERS
Colleges and universities
Professional schools including colleges of pharmacy, dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, and agriculture
Clinics and hospitals
Private research foundations
Pharmaceutical companies
Federal laboratories and regulatory agencies
Independent testing laboratories
Public health departments
Agricultural experiment stations
Industrial laboratories including chemical, petroleum, food processing, drug, and cosmetic manufacturers
STRATEGIES
Obtain a Ph.D. for college and university teaching and advanced research positions. Acquire a background in physics, organic and physical chemistry, mathematics, and anatomy. Take courses in area(s) of specialization and/or consider an advanced degrees; some may require an M.D. Complete a related internship with an organization in the area of your interest.
BIOINFORMATICS
CAREER
Research and Development
Education
EMPLOYERS
Biotechnology industry
Pharmaceutical companies
Government research laboratories
Universities and colleges
STRATEGIES
Double major or minor in computer science. Acquire experience working in teams. Develop in-depth programming and relational database skills. Learn molecular biology packages, web design, and programming skills. Complete an internship in your area of interest.
EDUCATION
CAREER
Teaching
Non-classroom Education
EMPLOYERS
Universities and colleges
Medical and other professional schools
Public and private schools, K-12
Museums
Zoos
Nature centers and parks
STRATEGIES
Certification is required for K-12 school teachers, and Ph.D. is needed in universities and colleges. Gain experience working with students through tutoring, interning, or volunteering. Learn to work well with all types of people.
Develop excellent interpersonal and public speaking skills.
HEALTHCARE
CAREER
Medicine
Dentistry
Optometry
Podiatry
Chiropracty
Pharmacy
Veterinary Medicine
Allied Health
Occupational Therapy
Physical Therapy
EMPLOYERS
Hospitals
Medical centers
Nursing homes
Private practice
Government agencies
Armed forces
Home health organizations
Universities and schools
Nonprofit organizations
STRATEGIES
Plan to attend a medical school or other related graduate program. Maintain an outstanding grade point average, particularly in the sciences. Secure strong faculty recommendations. Meet with a pre-health advisor periodically. Join related student organizations. Demonstrate leadership abilities. Obtain a summer job, volunteer position, or an internship in a hospital. Develop a back up plan in case medical/graduate school admission is denied. Consider alternative but related careers such as physician assistant and nurse practitioner.
TECHNICAL AND PHARMACEUTICAL SALES
CAREER
EMPLOYERS
Manufacturing firms including: Pharmaceuticals, Animal pharmaceuticals, Laboratory equipment
Medical supplies and prostheses
STRATEGIES
Develop excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Take courses in anatomy, pharmacology, and chemistry. Obtain sales experience and/or a business minor. Hold leadership positions in campus organizations. Join the student American Marketing Association.
LEGISLATION/LAW
CAREER
Lobbying
Regulatory Affairs
Science Policy
Patent Law
Environmental Law
EMPLOYERS
Federal and state government
Law firms
Large corporations
STRATEGIES
Acquire internships in federal or state government.
Develop excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Acquire a Ph.D for advanced positions.
Take courses in history, political science and/or legal studies.
Earn a J.D. degree to practice law.
BIOLOGICAL PHOTOGRAPHY
CAREER
EMPLOYERS
Major medical, dental, and veterinary schools
Research centers
Federal government
Museums
Zoological and environmental societies
Publishing houses
Free-lance
STRATEGIES
Acquire thorough knowledge of photographic procedures and technology. Become skilled with medical and scientific instruments including microscopes.
Take specific courses in biological, medical, and ophthalmic photography; courses in illustration and printing are also helpful.
TECHNICAL WRITING
CAREER
Writing
Editing
EMPLOYERS
Newspapers
Publishing companies including scientific magazines, professional journals, periodicals, textbooks, and online publishers
Medical and veterinary colleges
STRATEGIES
Take advanced courses in technical writing or journalism classes or consider a minor in either. Develop strong writing skills and command of the English language. Obtain an advanced degree in scientific journalism
ILLUSTRATION
CAREER
EMPLOYERS
Publishing companies including scientific magazines, professional journals, periodicals, textbooks, and online publishers
Educational and scientific software companies
Medical and veterinary colleges
STRATEGIES
Double major or minor in graphic illustration. Acquire word processing and desktop publishing skills. Find a part-time, summer, co-op or internship position with a publisher or newspaper.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • A Bachelor's degree will qualify one for work as a laboratory assistant, technician, technologist, or research assistant in education, industry, government, museums, parks, and gardens.
  • An undergraduate degree can also be used for nontechnical work in writing, illustration, sales, photography, and legislation.
  • Master's degrees allow for more opportunities in research and administration. Some community colleges will hire Master's level teachers.
  • Doctoral degrees are necessary for advanced research and administrative positions, university teaching, and independent research.
  • An advanced degree provides the opportunity to specialize under the different areas of the biological sciences.
  • The biological sciences are good preparation for a career in healthcare such as medicine, dentistry, and veterinary science, but professional degrees and licenses are also necessary to practice in these fields.
  • Learn laboratory procedures and become familiar with equipment.
  • Obtain summer, part-time, volunteer, co-op, or internship experience to test the fields of interest and gain valuable experience.
  • Develop strong computer, mathematics, and verbal and written communications skills.
  • Join professional associations and community organizations to stay abreast of current issues in the field and to develop networking contacts.
  • Read scientific journals related to your area of interest.Maintain a high grade point average to improve chances of graduate and professional school admission.
  • Become familiar with the specific entrance exam for graduate or professional schools in your area of interest.
  • Secure strong relationships and personal recommendations from professors and/or employers.
  • Consider completing a post doctoral experience after graduate school.
  • Learn federal, state, and local government job application process. The federal government is the largest employer of biologists.
  • Gain experience with grant writing and fundraising techniques. Often research must be funded in this manner.