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    Hi guys!

    I'm new to student room, and having read several useful threads, I joined so that I could ask for some help making a decision of my own.

    Just for some background information, I am a current Lower 6th student at Peter Symonds college. I am taking Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths at AS level, and received full marks in each of my four exams in January. I got 7 A*s, including the three sciences, English language and maths, and three As at GCSE, and sat AS level PE one year early, getting an A.

    The reason I am on here is because I am finding it hard deciding which course I would like to apply to when University applications come around. The two courses I am considering are Natural Sciences (Biological route) and Medicine.

    Since the beginning of this school year, I have been volunteering weekly on the wards at my local hospital, and have been to several extension lectures connected to medicine. I have loved this volunteering, feeling I have gained much from the caring environment, and certainly feel it would be a good thing to dedicate my working life to. I certainly find it interesting, and can see how choosing to study that at University can lead into a well respected, secure, fulfilling and well paid job, and for those reasons I am strongly considering it as a choice.

    However, in my classes at college, the topics we have covered connected to wildlife biology, such as evolution and the anatomy of different organisms' respiratory and circulatory systems, have greatly interested me. I have always found this area intriguing, and have recently found myself drawn towards this area, enjoying learning about wildlife from a scientific point of view in my own time as well as in college. I almost feel as if this would be my dream area to work in, as I find it innately fascinating. However, I know that jobs beyond a degree in this subject are very hard to come by, especially my dream job in field research and conservation work.

    I was wandering if anyone had any advice at all on which would be the better choice, or if anyone had any information to do with jobs in biological research as this seems to be an area with little information readily available. Also, if anyone had any advice on which Universities might be worth looking at for the courses I am considering, that would be fantastic, as I really need to start making decisions as to where I want to continue studying after college.

    If anyone has been in my position, unsure as to whether to commit to the more concrete but highly demanding profession of medicine, or whether to follow a particular personal interest, I would appreciate any advice you could give me.

    Also if anyone is taking a either of these courses, could they say how they are finding them, and which areas in particular they are enjoying the most.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this!


    Jonny
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    If you're going to do a biology based course I would chose one that is fairly broad so you can develop your interests as you go along. You will need at least a masters if not a PhD to make it in biological research. The hours are long, the pay not very high but the work is very interesting and rewarding. Funding is probably the biggest problem in science. Having said that though you can do pretty much anything with a biology degree.
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    I don't know if I made it clear earlier, but my reasons for wanting to do a Natural Sciences course is that I would like to work as a Zoologist in the future. I don't know if that makes any difference, but it would be the study of wild animals, both in the lab and out doing field research, that would be my dream job. It is only really the idea of spending a lifetime working to understand and conserve my passion that makes this decision difficult.
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    What I said above applies to a career in zoology as well. Like with professional courses like medicine there is no straightforward career path with degrees like this. It's not as simple as do a degree in zoology and become a zoologist. But yes passion should be a big driver because like I said before you won't be earning bucketloads of money, the work is hard, hours long but the work is also very rewarding.
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    (Original post by jhitman)
    I don't know if I made it clear earlier, but my reasons for wanting to do a Natural Sciences course is that I would like to work as a Zoologist in the future. I don't know if that makes any difference, but it would be the study of wild animals, both in the lab and out doing field research, that would be my dream job. It is only really the idea of spending a lifetime working to understand and conserve my passion that makes this decision difficult.
    Ecology, evolutionary ecology, behavioural ecology, and conservation research are four fields that involve studying wild animals in the field. Evolution and evolutionary ecology are fields that involve lab work, although this would often be on invertebrates, and even on microbes as the principles of evolution apply to all life.

    All the above would fall under a zoology degree, or a general biology degree. You're were talking about the natural sciences course at Cambridge, right? I had a look at that a while back and it seemed to have a lot of choice for biology, but didn't seem to have much on conservation.

    There isn't much info on jobs in research for prospective undergrads, you're right. When you're an undergrad, there are plenty of opportunities to do some part-time research work with lecturers in your department; they are happy to take people on at 2nd year upwards. Also, there are grants for undergrads to do research projects over summer with there university.
 
 
 
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