Studies & Degrees in Zoology
Choose where you would like to study Zoology:ArgentinaAustraliaBangladeshBrazilCanadaColombiaCosta RicaCubaCzech RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEthiopiaFinlandGhanaIndiaIrelandLithuaniaMexicoNigeriaPeruPolandPortugalRussiaSaudi ArabiaSouth AfricaSpainTanzaniaThe United KingdomThe United StatesUgandaZimbabwe
Zoology Study Programs
Zoology is the branch of biology that deals with the science of animals. It covers everything from cell structure and genetics to physiology, behavior, evolutionary history, and ecology. Naturally, it is closely related to the other life sciences, including botany and biochemistry, and is of importance to people who hope to pursue careers as veterinarians. Most programs in zoology, however, are oriented more towards aspiring scientists and researchers than aspiring veterinarians.
The majority of professional zoologists focus on a particular kind of animal or animal function – such as social interaction, rearing young, or cognition – but it is also possible to focus more broadly. Some zoology majors go on to become high school biology teachers. It is worth noting that zoology is rarely available as an undergraduate major. Instead, it is usually a concentration option within the biology major.
(Many people do not realize that the correct pronunciation of zoology is not ZOO-ology but ZO-ology - rhymes with "no-ology".)
- Love of animals and interest in learning about them
- Attention to detail, good analytic reasoning, and ability to memorize
- Patience and excellent work ethic
- Some mathematical ability may be necessary
Zoology is one of the oldest of the natural sciences–indeed, some would say the oldest since it was Aristotle's favorite area of inquiry. Over thousands of years, it has developed a complexity and an intricacy matched by few other scientific disciplines. The result of this is that there are countless specializations and areas of concentration within the field of zoology. These generally fall into 2 categories: taxonomic and thematic. A taxonomic subfield is one that focuses on a specific branch of the animal kingdom. Such areas include ornithology (birds), herpetology (reptiles and amphibians), entomology (insects), primatology, and marine biology to name only a few. Thematic subfields, on the other hand, cover broader topics that may span multiple taxonomic categories–these include topics such as neuroscience, evolution, and cell biology.
Of course, at the high school and undergraduate levels no specialization is necessary. People interested in zoology, regardless of their specific interests within that field, can all major in biology more generally and go on to specialize in graduate school.
Career options for people with expertise in zoology are numerous. While students of zoology frequently aspire to become professional scientists, many others have different dreams and goals. One of the most interesting nonscientific options is to become a park ranger, private tour guide, or zookeeper. People in these jobs get to work with animals every day–often including rare and exotic animals that others may wait a lifetime simply to glimpse in the wild.
In most cases, some graduate school is necessary for any of these jobs. This is particularly true for jobs in academia, which typically require a doctoral degree.