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Why Biology

Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life through the observation of structure, function, reproduction, growth, origin, evolution, and behavior of living organisms and their relation to their natural environment. 

  • Foundations of modern biology include: cell theory, evolution, genetics, homoeostasis, and energy.
  • Biology specialties include: bacterial pathogenesis, yeast genome, organ regeneration, biomass fuels.

See Biology undergraduate programs

Why study biology?

Geneticists, molecular biologists and physiologists have provided valuable insight into how cells and systems function. Biologists have helped improve human life in many ways, including the discovery of antibiotics and other medicines, a better understanding of the cellular processes leading to cancer, and the development of new crops. Information from the Human Genome Project is being used to identify genes and proteins involved in many disease processes. However, there are still many unknowns. Studying biology provides a background for students to evaluate and understand new discoveries and to make informed decisions in the use of scientific knowledge to benefit all living organisms.

What is the biology department like?

The faculty and staff of the Department of Biology provide an environment where students at all levels can explore, discover, and learn biology through coursework and research.

We place a strong emphasis on high-quality classroom teaching. Professors teach lecture and laboratory courses and conduct research with undergraduate students.

What careers are available?

Many career opportunities exist for biology majors, especially now, with the rise of the biotechnology industry and the sequencing of the human genome. Jobs are available directly after the bachelor's degree (B.A. or B.S.) as entry-level careers in gene sequencing, drug testing and development, immunology, agriculture, and in all molecular, cellular and developmental areas. 

 

Qualities and skills of a biologist

  • Analytic, Logical
  • Communication and Quantitative Skills (PUL*)
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving (PUL*)
  • Inquisitive
  • Observational and Investigative Skills
  • Professional Values and Ethics (PUL*)
  • Understanding of Relationships and Interactions

 

*PUL = Principles of Undergraduate Learning define a set of abilities and skills that undergraduate students are expected to master. They reflect the expertise that graduate and professional schools and the workforce are seeking.

Why Study Biology?

Geneticists, molecular biologists and physiologists have provided valuable insight into how cells and systems function. Biologists have helped improve human life in many ways, including the discovery of antibiotics and other medicines, a better understanding of the cellular processes leading to cancer, and the development of new crops. Information from the Human Genome Project is being used to identify genes and proteins involved in many disease processes. However, there are still many unknowns. Studying biology provides a background for students to evaluate and understand new discoveries and to make informed decisions in the use of scientific knowledge to benefit all living organisms.

The habits developed through the study of biology are ones that will serve you for a lifetime. Scientific research requires not only evidence and logic, but also honesty, creativity, patience, and openness to new ideas. The problem-solving and reasoning skills you develop, as well as an increased understanding of science, will provide a great foundation for approaching any type of work and engaging your community.

What Can You Do with a Degree in Biology?

Many career opportunities exist for biology majors, especially now, with the rise of the biotechnology industry and the sequencing of the human genome. Jobs are available directly after the bachelor's degree (B.A. or B.S.) as entry-level careers in gene sequencing, drug testing and development, immunology, agriculture, and in all molecular, cellular and developmental areas.

Here's what our 2014 graduates are doing with their degrees:

  • Analyst for Covance (BS)
  • Analytical Chemist for Polaris Labs (BA)
  • Bacteriology Lab Technician for Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (BS)
  • Genetic Toxicologist for Covance (BA)
  • Lab Assistant and Mid America Clinical Lab (BS)
  • Lead Biostatistician for Biogen Idec (PhD)
  • Medical Sales Representative for Hiossen, Inc. (BA)
  • Microbiologist for Indiana State Department of Health (BA)
  • Molecular Biologist for DowAgroSciences (MS)
  • Operations Technician for Biostorage (BA)
  • Clinical Study Coordinator for Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism (MS)
  • Research Associate for Dow AgroSciences (BS)
  • Research Biologist for Cook Scientific (BS)
  • Scientist for Eli Lilly (PhD)
  • Tissue Coordinator for Indiana Organ Procurement Organization (BA)
  • Technician for Vitero-Retinal Center (BA)

38% of 2014 graduates went on to graduate or professional school and are currently attending the following universities:

  • Creighton University School of Medicine (MD)
  • Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
  • Indiana University School of Medicine (MD)
  • Indiana University Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD)
  • IUPUI School of Public Health (MPH)
  • Lincoln Memorial University Biomedical Sciences Program (MS)
  • Marian University School of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
  • Michigan State University Forensic Science Program (MS)
  • Midwestern University Cardiovascular Program (MS)

Occupational Outlook + Average Salary

Employment for biologists is expected to grow much faster than the average compared to all other occupations for the 2008-2018 decade.  Employment of biologists is projected to increase by 21% partly due to the growth in the biotechnology industry. (2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Salaries earned by biologists are dependent on degree level and whether they are employed by industry, government, or academia.  According to the May 2012 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for Indiana, average salaries for biologists were as follows:

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Visit the Science career website