Should I study zoology or biochemistry? Watch

emalnewt
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I'm going to be applying to university this year but I'm really struggling to decide between zoology and biochemistry. My heart lies with zoology, but I worry a lot about the prospects afterwards, I'd want to go into research, but there seems to be so few jobs available and a lot of them end up being volunteer work, which I can't see myself being financially able to do.

I enjoy the genetics and oncology side of biochemistry a lot, so it wouldn't be a degree I dislike, but I feel like I probably wouldn't like it as much as zoology. Biochemistry appears to have much better research prospects after university and a higher probability of getting a job in a related field is something that is important to me, I just don't want to not enjoy it.

I have the most experience in zoology as that seems to be what I'm naturally drawn towards, but at the same time I have enjoyed the biochemistry that I've experienced. Has anyone been in a similar position able to give some advice about how to decide?
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PQ
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(Original post by emalnewt)
I'm going to be applying to university this year but I'm really struggling to decide between zoology and biochemistry. My heart lies with zoology, but I worry a lot about the prospects afterwards, I'd want to go into research, but there seems to be so few jobs available and a lot of them end up being volunteer work, which I can't see myself being financially able to do.

I enjoy the genetics and oncology side of biochemistry a lot, so it wouldn't be a degree I dislike, but I feel like I probably wouldn't like it as much as zoology. Biochemistry appears to have much better research prospects after university and a higher probability of getting a job in a related field is something that is important to me, I just don't want to not enjoy it.

I have the most experience in zoology as that seems to be what I'm naturally drawn towards, but at the same time I have enjoyed the biochemistry that I've experienced. Has anyone been in a similar position able to give some advice about how to decide?
Do some research. The majority of universities will offer a common first year for all life sciences degrees which would make it simple to swap after studying the subjects at degree level.
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HopefulAgony37
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Go with your heart.. what calls to you? Where do your passions lie? What’s gets you off at night? What can hold your interest for 45 plus years? Before you invest time effort and money into this, go with your gut and do some serious soul searching..
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morc13
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They can be quite similar courses depending on the university. Both good to get involved in Cancer research.
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artful_lounger
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It's worth bearing in mind a lot of "fundamental" bioscience research (which usually gets clustered under the umbrella term of biochemistry or molecular biology) involves animal models, and so a zoological background may be suitable for this; additionally many zoology courses will include core content in the fundamental bioscience topics (in e.g. biochemistry, genetics, molecular/cell/developmental biology), just not to the same depth as in a biochemistry (or related) course. So between the additional specific background in animal biology and the more general background in those areas, you are quite likely you will have a suitable background for e.g. a range of PhD projects, or various lab/technician roles in such research laboratories.

I would note though that some zoology courses tend to have more of an ecological/conservation focus which would be less ideal preparation for such areas. But there are certainly courses which would be (more than) suitable out there. You may however also want to consider a more general Biology/Life Science/Bioscience degree, which may cover both sides more equally and so be a good compromise (particularly if at the grade ranges you're looking at, there are fewer zoology courses with suitable amounts of the fundamental bioscience/physiology content and focus more on the ecology and conservation side).

It does depend on the uni though; for example at Southampton, the (then) director of studies for (non-biochem/biomedical science) biosciences basically described the difference between their Biology and Zoology degrees as "in Biology you also study plants, in Zoology you don't have to" and otherwise they have a lot of content overlap (and some overlap with the biochemistry/BMS courses there in the cell/molecular biology content, and some of the physiology content). He noted there tended to be quite a number of Biology students who changed into the Zoology course saying they hated plants, and a few slightly more sheepish individuals who went the other way on the basis that plants "aren't so bad"
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SarcAndSpark
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I think there are jobs out there for people with zoology degrees, but there is less specifically funded research (although there are organizations that fund research e.g. into animal welfare). As others have said, a lot of labs still use animals for various purposes, and of course there are jobs available looking after these animals in a technician type role as well as roles for people conducting the research.

Personally, at this stage, I would go with what you think you will enjoy most for the next three years. It may very well be that you change your mind about what you want to in the next three years. I did a similar type of degree (not zoology but very similar) and also thought I wanted to go into research. However, after spending 6 months working in labs, I realised it wasn't for me for all sorts of reasons and moved on to a very different job.

There are lots of areas that people want to go into from this sort of degree where work can be a bit insecure (often temporary contracts for the length of a grant) or low paid (zoo keepers for example get terrible pay given their experience and expertise) or both. However, there are also some great opportunities out there and I know some people from my degree who have amazing jobs a lot of people would be jealous of!

Zoology degrees vary a lot in what they cover. Some will definitely cover genetics etc so if you look for a degree with these sorts of modules, then you should be able to to look at similar lab roles to the ones you would be interested in with biochemistry anyway.
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University of Lincoln
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(Original post by emalnewt)
I'm going to be applying to university this year but I'm really struggling to decide between zoology and biochemistry. My heart lies with zoology, but I worry a lot about the prospects afterwards, I'd want to go into research, but there seems to be so few jobs available and a lot of them end up being volunteer work, which I can't see myself being financially able to do.

I enjoy the genetics and oncology side of biochemistry a lot, so it wouldn't be a degree I dislike, but I feel like I probably wouldn't like it as much as zoology. Biochemistry appears to have much better research prospects after university and a higher probability of getting a job in a related field is something that is important to me, I just don't want to not enjoy it.

I have the most experience in zoology as that seems to be what I'm naturally drawn towards, but at the same time I have enjoyed the biochemistry that I've experienced. Has anyone been in a similar position able to give some advice about how to decide?
If its Zoology you're interested in, why not give our friendly clearing hotline a call on 0808 164 4444 or visit our clearing website - https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/clear...rsevacancies/? After all Zoology at Lincoln is 3rd overall in the UK for student satisfaction.











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Interrobang
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(Original post by emalnewt)
I'm going to be applying to university this year but I'm really struggling to decide between zoology and biochemistry. My heart lies with zoology, but I worry a lot about the prospects afterwards, I'd want to go into research, but there seems to be so few jobs available and a lot of them end up being volunteer work, which I can't see myself being financially able to do.

I enjoy the genetics and oncology side of biochemistry a lot, so it wouldn't be a degree I dislike, but I feel like I probably wouldn't like it as much as zoology. Biochemistry appears to have much better research prospects after university and a higher probability of getting a job in a related field is something that is important to me, I just don't want to not enjoy it.

I have the most experience in zoology as that seems to be what I'm naturally drawn towards, but at the same time I have enjoyed the biochemistry that I've experienced. Has anyone been in a similar position able to give some advice about how to decide?
Moved this to the bio sciences forum
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davidguhu
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(Original post by PQ)
Do some research. The majority of universities will offer a common first year for all life sciences degrees which would make it simple to swap after studying the subjects at degree level.
If you can only choose one of the two options, you can choose the interdisciplinary subjects of the two subjects, or you can choose the one you prefer over the other, and focus on it over the long term, and eventually you'll get what you want.
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davidguhu
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(Original post by emalnewt)
I'm going to be applying to university this year but I'm really struggling to decide between zoology and biochemistry. My heart lies with zoology, but I worry a lot about the prospects afterwards, I'd want to go into research, but there seems to be so few jobs available and a lot of them end up being volunteer work, which I can't see myself being financially able to do.If you can only choose one of the two options, you can choose the interdisciplinary subjects of the two subjects, or you can choose the one you prefer over the other, and focus on it over the long term, and eventually you'll get what you want.

I enjoy the genetics and oncology side of biochemistry a lot, so it wouldn't be a degree I dislike, but I feel like I probably wouldn't like it as much as zoology. Biochemistry appears to have much better research prospects after university and a higher probability of getting a job in a related field is something that is important to me, I just don't want to not enjoy it.

I have the most experience in zoology as that seems to be what I'm naturally drawn towards, but at the same time I have enjoyed the biochemistry that I've experienced. Has anyone been in a similar position able to give some advice about how to decide?
If you can only choose one of the two options, you can choose the interdisciplinary subjects of the two subjects, or you can choose the one you prefer over the other, and focus on it over the long term, and eventually you'll get what you want.
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HopefulAgony37
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(Original post by UniLincolnRep)
If its Zoology you're interested in, why not give our friendly clearing hotline a call on 0808 164 4444 or visit our clearing website - https://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/clear...rsevacancies/? After all Zoology at Lincoln is 3rd overall in the UK for student satisfaction.


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Scotney
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(Original post by davidguhu)
If you can only choose one of the two options, you can choose the interdisciplinary subjects of the two subjects, or you can choose the one you prefer over the other, and focus on it over the long term, and eventually you'll get what you want.
Why not apply for a biology degree as it covers both areas if you pick the right course.You can specialise after Year1 in most programmes and will give you more to base your decision on.Son thought he wanted to do genetics but a year in the lab sent him running back to ecology/ animal behaviour.He then thought he wanted to do field research but 2 years on he is headed for conservation initiatives for Phd based firmly in an office.Stay broad based and look carefully at course specs. I think he managed to avoid plants fairly sucessfully!
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