floppyfish
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Anyone here doing zoology or ecology? What’s the degree like? What opportunities do zoology/ecology degrees open up?
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UniofReading
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(Original post by floppyfish)
Anyone here doing zoology or ecology? What’s the degree like? What opportunities do zoology/ecology degrees open up?
Hey,
I am doing Biological Sciences but am taking predominantly zoology and ecology based modules.
In terms of where the degree may take you, it is incredibly diverse, I know people who have become zoo keepers, and some who have become accountants!
Prospects have a site where you can see jobs commonly taken by people graduating with a particular degree. This is the one for zoology: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-...degree/zoology
Personally I will be using my degree to access a masters and then am hoping to work in conservation. Although I am not sure what that looks like yet!

I hope this helps
Zoe
Second year Biological sciences and student ambassador
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OxFossil
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They will both give you a pretty general grounding in Biology, as the first 1-2 years of most biological science degrees tend to be similar. If you are looking to specialise in professional/research zoology or ecology, you may have to do a Masters.

Here's cut and paste of an answer I gave to a similar question a little while back:

"One particular thing you might see is a lot of jobs advertised for "Ecologists" these days, but this is usually means quite a narrow role doing survey work and advising on planning and development applications. People doing that often have a first degree in biology, plus specialist postgrad courses in survey wotrk. Other conservation jobs are pretty competitive these days. So many people want to go out in inflatable dinghies monitoring dolphins, sit in the Serengeti radiotracking cheetahs, reintroducing wolves to wild places! Whatever first degree you do, you'll probably need additional experience, like survey work or campaigning with an NGO.

Zoology is more general and will include a big chunk of stuff that will sorely test your patience - learning to run statistical analysis programmes, basic biochemistry, gaining a familiarity with the classification of animal groups etc. But most will also give you options in later years to focus on ecology or conservation issues. However, even the more specific courses of Ecology and Conservation will give you only a very limited insight into what most "field" conservationists deal with irl - the practical manual skills like how to crop a reedbed or manage a grazing regime. Even more important, most UG courses will give you only a vague idea of the politics and policy environment that really drives what gets done.

My daughter did a degree in Zoology, then a Masters in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management. She got an (office) policy job with a countryside NGO, before her current role in "real" conservation.

Based on that, I'd say the choice of first degree subject isnt as important as being determined, hard-working and get busy making contacts in the "real world" while you are there. "


Hope that helps.
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floppyfish
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(Original post by OxFossil)
They will both give you a pretty general grounding in Biology, as the first 1-2 years of most biological science degrees tend to be similar. If you are looking to specialise in professional/research zoology or ecology, you may have to do a Masters.

Here's cut and paste of an answer I gave to a similar question a little while back:

"One particular thing you might see is a lot of jobs advertised for "Ecologists" these days, but this is usually means quite a narrow role doing survey work and advising on planning and development applications. People doing that often have a first degree in biology, plus specialist postgrad courses in survey wotrk. Other conservation jobs are pretty competitive these days. So many people want to go out in inflatable dinghies monitoring dolphins, sit in the Serengeti radiotracking cheetahs, reintroducing wolves to wild places! Whatever first degree you do, you'll probably need additional experience, like survey work or campaigning with an NGO.

Zoology is more general and will include a big chunk of stuff that will sorely test your patience - learning to run statistical analysis programmes, basic biochemistry, gaining a familiarity with the classification of animal groups etc. But most will also give you options in later years to focus on ecology or conservation issues. However, even the more specific courses of Ecology and Conservation will give you only a very limited insight into what most "field" conservationists deal with irl - the practical manual skills like how to crop a reedbed or manage a grazing regime. Even more important, most UG courses will give you only a vague idea of the politics and policy environment that really drives what gets done.

My daughter did a degree in Zoology, then a Masters in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management. She got an (office) policy job with a countryside NGO, before her current role in "real" conservation.

Based on that, I'd say the choice of first degree subject isnt as important as being determined, hard-working and get busy making contacts in the "real world" while you are there. "


Hope that helps.
Thanks so much for this answer. I’d love to work in conservation in the UK so a job with WWT or RSPB would be nice. It’d be nice to have a job where you see the impact of your labour everyday and you feel as if you’re actually doing something worthwhile
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OxFossil
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(Original post by floppyfish)
Thanks so much for this answer. I’d love to work in conservation in the UK so a job with WWT or RSPB would be nice. It’d be nice to have a job where you see the impact of your labour everyday and you feel as if you’re actually doing something worthwhile
Its certainly a worthwhile and important thing to do. A first degree alone is unlikely to be enough for a job - but thats true for virtually any degree. Depending on how your interest develops, you might want to think about (for example) practical estate management skills like chainsaw licenses, or summer volunteer as a RSPB warden, or help a postdoc with research or whatever. I dont think your 1st degree subject will be a major difference, so I'd go with whatever course most appeals.
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