General Biology Overview

Are you interested in the study of life? A major in General Biology will allow you to study life in all forms: animals, plants, bacteria, and fungi. This includes in-depth research on different organisms, their communities, and their systems, cells, and processes that permit life.

Biology is a hands-on subject that will allow you to learn through experiments and doing. Students participate in labs and write reports on their findings. Biology will also cover how different organisms have survived and evolved over time. This major will allow you to study biology generally or biomedical sciences.

Courses may include: biochemistry, evolutionary biology, general biology, genetics, invertebrate biology, marine biology, microbiology, plant anatomy, and zoology.

Required Skills

Biology students are often first attracted to the subject due to a love of nature, plants and animals. You will spend a great deal of time exploring and learning about life and the behaviors that go along with it. Working in the field as well as working with animals should not intimidate you. You will also have the opportunity to work with advanced science tools like microscopes.

Studying biology is exciting and invigorating, but can include long hours in the lab performing repetitive tasks. Math and science will make up a large part of your course work. Even though your first love is science, don't forgo English. Clearly communicating scientific concepts through writing is an essential skill that can set you apart from others.

Working with others is important in this major. You will frequently work in study groups and with a lab partner. Critical thinking and a sharp memory will be necessary for your success. Students will be required to take copious notes of their experiments and faithfully record outcomes.


With a degree in general biology you have number of different career opportunities available to you. You can become a biological scientist, clinical laboratory technologist, biology teacher, forensic scientist, medical scientist, or science technician. Some students whill also choose to continue their education in graduate school. Biology majors can go on to become veterinary or medical professionals with additional education.

There is expected to be job growth in the field of biological scientists, but there will be competition for funding to perform research. As older biologists retire or become promoted, positions will open up for younger and less experienced workers.

Graduates with a degree in general biology average $37,488 as a starting salary with a mid-career salary of $68,696.

Add to Notebook

Search Colleges

Find your best fit major

Major at a Glance

Top statistics for this major

College Ranking by Major

Click rankings below to view the top colleges in this Major
Yearly Graduations
Average Starting Salary
Average Mid-Career Salary

Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in General Biology might open up.

Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary
Biological Scientists, All Other
Life Scientists, All Other
Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists
Natural Sciences Managers
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
We can help you make the best choice of a college major
Apply for Scholarships