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What is Biological and Life Sciences?
Biological and life sciences refers to the study of living organisms including their structure, function and growth, and how they interact with their environment. This discipline contains a number of different subfields. Recent technological advances are facilitating breakthroughs in various areas of biological and life sciences, and knowledge acquisition in this field has never been easier, or more exciting.
Who Should Study Biological and Life Sciences?
If you’re considering a degree in biological and life sciences, you should ideally answer “yes” to the following questions:
- Do I have a solid background in the sciences?
- Am I committed to making science my career path?
- Am I interested in conducting research?
- Would I like working in a laboratory or classroom setting, or in the field?
- Do I have basic math skills?
- Am I comfortable with using cutting-edge technology?
In addition, you should ideally answer “no” to the following questions:
- Am I disorganized?
- Do numbers confuse me?
- Do I believe evolution is a myth?
Sample Biological and Life Sciences Classes
Biological and life sciences classes differ depending upon the specific subfield and whether the class is offered at the undergraduate or graduate level. Here are some of the more commonly-known subfields of this discipline as well as some of the classes that might be offered to students pursuing a degree in them:
- Biochemistry – the use of chemistry to study biological processes at the molecular level. Classes might include biochemical research, metabolic biochemistry, medical biochemistry, research methods and laboratory techniques.
- Biophysics – the application of the laws of physics to biology. Classes might include computational biology, proteins and nucleic acids, methods in molecular biophysics, and spectroscopy.
- Botany – the study of plant life. Classes might include ethnobotany, prairie ecology, local flora, and plant physiology.
- Cellular biology – the study of the entire cell. Classes might include molecules to systems, cellular basis of disease, systems cell biology and cellular function.
- Genetics – the study of inherited characteristics. Classes might include parametric analysis, genetic epidemiology, family history and mendelian inheritance.
- Molecular biology – the study of biology at a molecular level. Classes might include the world of microbes, human biology, human health, microbiology and pathology and medical terminology.
- Neuroscience – the sciences dealing with the nervous system and brain. Classes might include psychological research, learning, behavioral pharmacology and developmental biology.
- Zoology – the study of animal life. Classes might include ecology, fundamental genetics, ecosystems and population biology.
Types of Biological and Life Sciences Careers
Biological and life sciences careers differ drastically. You can choose to explore dynamics as small-scale as intra-cellular behavior or as large-scale as ecosystems. You can work in a laboratory, in front of a computer, in a classroom, or in the field. While many scientists focus on research, others can work as writers, teachers, consultants and administrators. Here is a brief list describing a few of the many options available to those holding a degree in biological and life sciences.
- Animal scientist. Animal scientists work with the care and breeding of domesticated animals, such as livestock.
- Biochemist. Biochemists study the chemistry of biology and research everything from disease to pharmaceuticals to genetic modification of crops.
- Developmental biologist. Developmental biologists study the birthing process of an animal from fertilization through birth.
- Epidemiologist. Epidemiologists study the occurrence and transmission of disease within a population.
- Forester. Foresters work with forest areas to best manage their resources.
- Horticulturist. Horticulturists work with garden and orchard plants to improve quality and increase yields.
- Marine biologist. Marine biologists study plant and animal life in the ocean.
- Mycologist. Mycologists study fungi to determine which are harmful, and which are helpful, to humans and other animals.
- Nutritionist. Nutritionists advise individuals, families, and communities on healthy eating.
- Pharmacologist. Pharmacologists develop or improve drugs and medicine.