Biology Future Prospects
Having an ‘A’ level in Biology opens the door to a wide range of job opportunities and university courses. It reflects an ability to not only learn and understand complex biological facts, but to think logically and be able to apply this detailed knowledge to unfamiliar situations. The ‘A’ level is well respected and a valuable asset to any curriculum vitae.
At A Level Science we expect you to do some wider reading. This is extremely important. It can help you to improve your grades as it can deepen your understanding and interest of the syllabus. To achieve top marks in the A level Biology essays, there must be evidence of ‘reading beyond specification requirements’. Hopefully it will be an enjoyable activitiy – a personal exploration of the subject(s) you enjoy the most.
Wider reading will also prove to University admissions tutors that you are genuinely passionate and informed about your chosen subject, and that you’re therefore likely to succeed at university.
Here are some suggestions:
Richard Dawkins: The Selfish Gene
The Blind Watchmaker.
In the Blood: God, Genes and Destiny
Almost Like a Whale: The ‘Origin of Species’ Updated
The Language of the genes
Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters
The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
Francis Crick: Discoverer of the Genetic Code
Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience and What Makes Us Human
DNA: The Secret of Life
The Double Helix: Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA
Charles Darwin: The origin of species
Ernst Mayr: This Is Biology: The Science of the Living World
George C. Williams: Plan and Purpose in Nature
Steve Pinker: The Language Instinct
Edward O Wilson: The Diversity of Life
Richard Leaky: The Origin of Humankind
Bill Bryson: A Short History of Nearly Everything
- http://www.ibiblio.org/virtualcell/index.htm – An interactive cell biology site
- http://www.uq.oz.au/nanoworld – Visit the world of electron-microscopy
- http://www.dnai.org/a/index.html – Explore the genetic code
- http://nature.com – The site of the scientific journal
If you would like further information on any aspect of AS or A Level Biology, then please contact the Science Department.
A biology degree will equip you with many transferable skills that are sought-after in the workplace, whether that workplace is within a scientific industry or not. Below is a selection of possible career pathways:
* Research scientist within the medical and life sciences, covering areas such as health and disease, neurology, genomics, microbiology and pharmacology.
* Working in healthcare as a biologist will see you developing campaigns to help treat and cure illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis, heart disease, and many lesser-known illnesses and diseases.
* Healthcare biologists with the necessary qualifications and experience also work as veterinarians, doctors, nurses, dentists and other healthcare professionals.
* As an environmental biologist you’ll be interested in solving environmental problems and helping to protect natural resources and plant and animal wildlife to conserve and sustain them for future generations. Careers with a biology degree which fall under this remit include marine and/or aquatic biologist, zoo biologist, conservation biologist, ecologist and environmental manager. Biologists in these roles carry out recovery programs for endangered species and provide education for the general public.
* With a biology degree and a teaching qualification you’ll be equipped to work within education. You’ll enjoy working with young people and encouraging them to learn about the world, be that in a classroom, a lecture theatre, a laboratory or a museum.
* Biotechnology is the use of scientific principles to develop and enhance technology within a number of sectors, including the consumer goods market, the technology market and business and industry. Focuses are often within agriculture, food science and medicine, where biotechnologists can be involved with genetic engineering, drug development and advancing medical technologies such as nanotechnology.
* As a forensic scientist you’ll be working within the legal sector, alongside police departments or law enforcement agencies, in order to test and process evidence gathered in criminal investigations. Many forensic scientists specialise in specific areas such as forensic odontology (dental evidence), forensic anthropology (the examination human of decomposition), crime scene examination and medical examiner roles (requiring further study).
* Biology careers in government will involve working closely with government officials and policy makers in order to advise on and create new legislation for growing topics such as biomedical research and environmental regulation. Your role will be to ensure that changes to the legal system are made based on solid science.
* The pharmaceutical sector is a multi-billion dollar industry and is in constant need of biologists to work in research and development and to test new products and prepare them for the marketplace. Other commercial industries where biologists may find roles include scientific services companies, marketing, sales and public relations.
* If you have a strong numerical brain, you may want to go pursue a career in biological economics. This will require you to work within government or other organisations to examine the economic impact of biological problems on society, including such problems as extinction, deforestation and pollution.
* If you’re interested in publishing or journalism you may want to use your biology degree to enter the industry as a science writer or working on a science publication such as a journal, magazine, website, TV program or film. Within these roles you’ll be able to play a role in informing and educating the general public about biological issues that are becoming relevant in contemporary society.