What Should I Look For In A Biology Program?
A career as a biologist is ideal for individuals who have always wanted to study about life, do research and even teach in the academe. If this is the field you want to work in for the long-term, you’ll have to start by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in biology. Deciding that you want to major in biology is just the first step. The next step entails choosing the right biology program to enroll in. This is where it gets pretty confusing because of the sheer number of schools that offer biology degrees.
You don’t have to get overwhelmed, however. The guidelines given below will help you narrow down your search as to what program to choose. By keeping these tips in mind, you should find it easier to choose the right biology program to enroll in. Before you start the process of selecting a biology school, you should first decide on the specific biology specialization beforehand. While you can become a general biology major and choose a specialization later on in your postgraduate studies, it is better to decide on a specialization before entering a bachelor’s degree program because this will inevitably affect your choice of a biology program.
Once you have decided what your biology major is then you should look for a biology program that is strong in your chosen specialization. Some schools have a strong animal biology program while others can boast of their molecular biology program, just to name two. If you want to major in the relatively new field of computational biology, you should also look for schools who are equipped to offer this kind of program. Strength in a course can be measured in a variety of ways, including the qualifications of the faculty, the research papers the university has published on that field and the feedback graduates have of its program.
The next criterion you want to look for has to do with the first. You need to find a biology program that has a stellar line up of faculty. You want a school that has teachers who have completed their doctoral degrees and have already done research and published papers in their particular fields of expertise. In some schools, teaching assistants or doctoral-level students are allowed to handle classes. While their expertise should not be belittled, learning from experienced researchers in the field is definitely more advantageous. Aside from the knowledge they can share, they may also have more connections in the industry which will help you when you’re looking for internships.
Another thing that you want to look for in a biology program is its laboratory facilities. You will be spending a lot of time in the laboratory so you want the equipment to be top notch. Now it may not be possible to check out all the labs in the schools you are planning to attend but it is possible for you to ask present and former students of the school or read student reviews. This will give you an idea of the quality of a particular school’s laboratory.
Finally, the cost of a biology program is also something that you should include in your checklist. If a biology degree is offered in a public school in your state of residence then you should be able to save substantially on tuition because of the discount given to in-state students. However, even if you’re planning to attend a private school, you may still lower your overall college costs by applying for financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants.