Pursue Your Passion for Science With a Degree in Biology

Biology may be a perfect major if you’re fascinated by the natural world and gain satisfaction from scientific study. Majoring in biology — the study of living organisms and their interactions with the natural world — allows you to nurture your intellectual curiosity while learning alongside others who share your interests. A degree in biology can set you on a personally fulfilling career path.

Why Major in Biology?

Biology is an excellent choice for students with a natural inclination toward sciences. Here are some of the top benefits of majoring in biology:

  • Gain a Broad Understanding of Living Systems: A biology major will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the fundamental concepts of life. You’ll study various topics, including molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, ecology, botany, microbiology, zoology, and physiology. This diverse curriculum will help you develop a holistic understanding of living organisms and biological systems
  • Acquire Valuable Research Skills:Most biology programs require students to take lab courses where they’ll get hands-on experience conducting experiments and analyzing data. Learning proper research techniques like designing studies, collecting and interpreting results, and presenting findings are essential skills in science careers or graduate studies.
  • Prepare for a Successful Career: Studying biology is rewarding for personal enrichment and professional development. A biology degree equips students with a scientific skill set easily applied to various fields. If you’re passionate about life sciences and research, majoring in biology will provide you with a solid foundation for future success.
oakwood bio student

Oakwood University

Black Professionals in Biology

Historically, Black scientists have made significant contributions despite facing systemic racism and obstacles limiting their access to education and professional opportunities. 

For example, pioneers like Ernest Everett Just, a developmental biologist who made groundbreaking contributions to cell biology and embryology, laid the groundwork for future generations of Black biologists. 

Today, Black biologists like Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, an immunologist who played a crucial role in developing the COVID-19 vaccine, continue to break barriers and contribute to advancements in various fields of biology, including ecology, genetics, and medicine.

Despite these significant contributions to the field, a 2023 article in Science News indicates Black scientists make up only three percent of the resident PhDs working in a biological discipline. However, organizations like the National Association of Black Biologists and other initiatives are working to support Black biologists and address the existing systemic barriers. 

Career Opportunities for Biology Majors

The potential careers for biology majors are expansive and rewarding. Many of these careers may require additional education or training beyond a bachelor’s degree. 

  • Research Scientist: Conduct experiments and collect and analyze data in various biology sectors like genetics, biochemistry, or ecology.
  • Microbiologist: Study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and algae.
  • Biotechnologist: Work on applying biological concepts to technological applications.
  • Environmental Scientist: Study the environment and develop strategies to protect it.
  • Ecologist: Study the relationships between organisms and their environments.
  • Genetic Counselor: Provide guidance to individuals and families regarding genetic disorders and diseases.
  • Forensic Scientist: Analyze physical evidence, like DNA, to solve crimes.
  • Healthcare Professional: Doctor, nurse, physician assistant, etc.
  • Zoologist: Study animals, their behaviors, and their interactions with the environment.
  • Science Writer: Write articles or other materials communicating scientific information to the public.

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Preparing for Success

High school students preparing for success as biology majors in college should focus on developing a solid foundation in essential science and math subjects.

In addition, students should engage in extracurricular activities that involve scientific research, join science clubs, or participate in science competitions to develop analytical and problem-solving skills.

Finally, reading scientific journals, books, and online resources can deepen your understanding of current biological research and advancements.

Consider HBCUs to Pursue a Career in Biology

Due to the recent Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action in college admissions, more Black students will likely turn to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for their education. These institutions will do everything they can to meet increased student demand. HBCUs help more students earn college degrees, compete successfully for well-paying jobs in competitive career fields, improve workforce diversity, and increase upward economic mobility.

Schools to Consider

To enter the field of biology, students must earn a minimum of a bachelor’s degree — and often graduate degrees

Dillard bio student and teacher

Dillard University

— in this field. These UNCF-member schools offer programs in biology:

Professional Organizations

There are thousands of organizations in various fields of biology that offer more insight into working in those fields. A sample list includes:

Scholarships Available

There’s no better way to start on your path to a successful career in biology than with a solid financial foundation. Fortunately, many scholarships are available through UNCF. Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities and announcements. 

Search for specific scholarships and view those that are currently accepting applications here! Students should also check with each college or university to see if additional scholarships are available to study biology.

As you explore your options, use our guide to apply for scholarships and grants. You can also receive guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in biology. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!

You can also show your support for students pursuing careers and furthering equity in biology by contributing to UNCF member schools. Education is the greatest tool we have in creating a just and equitable society where economic mobility is available to all. Help us achieve this future by donating today!