What to Expect when Pursuing a Bioscience Major

Choosing to pursue a major in bioscience allows you to not only be eligible for a wide variety of professions; it also enables you to explore a field in which you can make a difference in whichever path you choose to concentrate in. As with choosing any major, there have to be a lot of questions swirling around in that undergraduate head of yours, so let’s address a few:

What does being a bioscience major mean?

Bioscience is an umbrella term for majors pertaining to the biological field. Concentrations you can pursue within bioscience often include animal science, biology, marine biology, biomedical engineering, agricultural studies, and anthropology. Contact your college to see what other majors they offer relating to bioscience.

What type of jobs can bioscience majors pursue?

Bioscience majors will be well prepared for a variety of jobs in STEM. Some fields that bioscience majors can enter span everything from animal and healthcare professions to engineering and microbiology. You can take an animal science degree in veterinary medicine, or use a degree in genetics to enter a career in genetic counselling. A good way to find more specific examples of careers is your specific major’s office. Because the bioscience field is so diverse, your career route is pretty flexible. Once you have a specific interest in bioscience, narrowing your focus will make finding a career in bioscience a more concrete process. Payscale.com is a good resource for finding different salaries for specific majors and weighing the benefits of one major vs another. For example, a typical biology degree earner with a job in research can have a starting salary ranging from $39,000–$139,000.

What type of clubs or groups can I join to learn more?

Check around your campus to see if there are any clubs that concentrate specifically on your interest (like an insect enthusiasts group if you find entomology to be your calling, or a botany club if you are passionate about plants). These clubs are a useful way to get exposure to the subject matter before fully diving into your major’s track. When you are affiliated with your major of choice, definitely join in with classmates for group study sessions. Many courses in bioscience have been finding success in making group work mandatory for students as it allows students to fill in the gaps of each other’s understanding of the topics. Another way to be involved in your major is to be a TA for a course; you will not only gain course credit or pay for your time working, but also a better understanding of the course and a professional relationship with a professor/researcher in your field.

What type of technical skills will I have to learn while I’m pursuing the major?

What you learn will depend on the specific major you choose to pursue, but all bioscience majors will have to have chemical and biological lab experience. In biological labs, you will learn techniques such as DNA extraction and electrophoresis. In chemistry labs, you will learn how to separate organic and inorganic solutions, how to manoeuvre acid/base chemistry, and how to use lab equipment.

Wait, so if I have to do all these things in a lab, what kinds of tools would I work with?

Your labs will likely look like spaceships at first with all the new equipment you’ll be using. You will be using everything from microscopes to special ovens for Petri dishes. An important, and underrated, part of any lab are the mixers. When you need to have a nice homogenous mixture, don’t trust just a hand-stirring; every tool in the lab, just like the affordable laboratory mixers, serves a purpose meant to elevate the accuracy and dependability of your lab results. Moral of the story: learn to use all the lab equipment.

Hopefully, this answered some of your burning questions about entering into the bioscience field. If you have further questions, contact either your advisor, an advisor in one of the bioscience majors, or an upperclassman to guide you along in your pursuit. Good luck!

Article submitted by Dixie Somers. Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for family, home, and business niches. Dixie is the proud mother of three girls and wife to a wonderful husband.