How Can I Specialize a Biology Degree?

When you are a biology major, it is possible to specialize your degree by focusing on a specific area of the discipline. Biology is the study of living organisms, and because there are so many different classifications of living organisms, there are several different specializations available. Knowing the areas you can specialize in and how to select a specialty is important before you become an undergraduate student and start your studies.

What Types of Fields Can You Study in the Discipline of Biology?

Biology is the study of living organisms and animal behavior fields, but there are many different branches that study the various aspects of these two things. You really need to decide what area of biology interests you the most before you even consider specializing your degree. Here are just some of the many options that you can consider and what the field of study relates to:

* Agronomy (study of agriculture)
* Endocrinology (study of diseases)
* Genetics (study of genes)
* Physiology (study of cells and how cells function)
* Herpetology (study of reptiles)
* Botany (study of plants)
* Arboriculture (study of trees)
* Ecology (study of organisms in the environment)
* Entomology (study of insects)
* Marine or mammalogy (study of mammals)
* Oceanography (study of the ocean)
* Parasitology (study of parasites)

How to Choose the Right Institution

When you are choosing to major in the study of life, it is critical that you choose to study at an institution that has a proven track record of delivering quality curriculum. The only way to really ensure that you will select the right school or program is to go with a program that has accreditation with a well-known professional body representing biological sciences.

There are a few bodies that have accreditation councils that investigate and issue credentials to schools that voluntarily apply. The two most popular bodies are the Society of Biology and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Make sure you review each database, or check for a school’s accreditation through the US Department of Education to narrow down your search. If a school has an active accreditation that is in good standing, it means that the program contains curriculum that will help you build a solid foundation of knowledge that pertains to biological sciences.

What to Do When You Enroll in a Degree Program

After you decide on an area of study that is right for you, you will need to start learning about the discipline by earning your Bachelor’s degree. Typically, you will enroll in a general B.S. program in Biological Sciences before you can choose a specialization. Once you graduate, you can apply to a specialized Master’s degree program that matches your career path. There is a long list of study areas in this discipline, so give it a lot of thought. After you decide on a major for your M.S., then you can review which schools have this type of program.

As long as there are living organisms, there will be a need for professionals who study them. Make sure to immerse yourself in the discipline before you settle on a subset. Once you do this, you will be educated enough to decide how to specialize your graduate level biology degree.

Please also see: Will Undergraduate Degrees Lead to Medical School?