Zoology Training Programs and Requirements

Zoologists, also known as animal biologists or animal scientists, study animals in their natural habitats and in laboratory settings. Most zoologists spend a large portion of their time performing research and laboratory work of some kind.

Training Requirements and Recommendations

A bachelor's degree in zoology is generally required for most positions in the field. Some students may pursue a more advanced degree in zoology or a related field, like biology, ecology or wildlife sciences. Most students perform extensive lab and field research both during their study and after securing a position.

Formal Education

Most students begin their career by pursuing a bachelor's degree in zoology or a related science field. Master's and doctoral programs are also available and may qualify students for more advanced research and scholarly positions.

Bachelor of Science

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Zoology is a 4-year, undergraduate degree program that is designed to introduce students to the basics of animal science and biology. Students may complete courses in a variety of subjects like animal behavior, invertebrate biology and evolution. General education courses, including basic composition and psychology, are generally required.

Master of Science

A Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Zoology is a graduate degree program that builds upon the animal science knowledge gained in an undergraduate degree program. Students spend a large portion of their time conducting research and may take classes in topics that include animal diversity, paleontology and ornithology.

Doctor of Philosophy

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Zoology is a research-based, advanced degree that is geared towards students who wish to pursue an academic or scholarly career in zoology. Comprehensive examinations and a doctoral thesis are generally required for graduation. Students study advanced animal science topics and dedicate a great deal of time to independent research projects, including their doctoral dissertation.

Job Experience

Most zoology students engage in hands-on, laboratory experience during completion of their degree programs. Students may also have the opportunity to pursue an internship with a local animal science laboratory. This provides them with the practical animal research experience necessary for entry into the field.

Workshops and Seminars

A number of online and on-site workshops are available to zoologists and related scientists on topics, such as conservation genetics and ecosystem studies. Advances in zoology research tools and techniques are common and seminars are often designed to address these advances. Often, zoologists will share their research findings with colleagues for discussion and debate, during these workshops and seminars.

Additional Professional Development

Graduates of zoology degree programs may choose to specialize in a particular area of the field. Students may pursue advanced degrees or additional courses in areas like comparative morphology, herpetology and protozoology. Courses may be available through local colleges or animal science organizations. Some zoologists may even pursue a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine.

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