Job Description:

Biologists study living things, including people, animals and plants.

Job Category:
Environmental Industry

What you will do:

You could specialise in an area like:

  • biotechnology
  • ecology
  • immunology
  • marine biology
  • microbiology
  • molecular biology

You could use your skills in a variety of ways:

  • in agriculture, to improve productivity in livestock or crops
  • in the environment, to clean polluted rivers
  • in conservation, to protect plants and animals
  • in medicine, to develop new methods to diagnose, monitor and treat illness or disease
  • in industry, to prevent food contamination or create ways to dispose of waste safely

You may also:

  • design and carry out experiments, make observations, write reports and publish scientific papers
  • teach students, if you’re based at a university or teaching hospital
  • supervise support staff (leadership skills)


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of biology
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent written communication skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a biologist, you typically need to have a strong foundation in science subjects at the GCSE level. While the specific requirements can vary depending on your educational institution and career goals, the following GCSE subjects are generally recommended for aspiring biologists:

  1. Biology: This is the most obvious and important subject. A good understanding of biology at the GCSE level will provide you with the foundational knowledge needed to pursue further studies in biology.
  2. Chemistry: Chemistry is closely related to biology, and a solid foundation in chemistry is important for understanding biochemical processes, molecular biology, and more advanced topics in biology.
  3. Mathematics: Mathematics is essential for data analysis, statistics, and understanding quantitative aspects of biology. It’s recommended to take at least GCSE-level mathematics and potentially further mathematics if available.
  4. Physics: Physics can be beneficial, especially if you plan to pursue certain specialized fields within biology, such as biophysics or biomechanics. It also provides a strong scientific background.
  5. English: Strong communication skills are vital for any scientist, including biologists. English language and literature courses can help you develop your writing and communication skills.
  6. Additional Science Subjects: Depending on your interests and career goals within biology, you might consider taking other science subjects such as environmental science, geology, or psychology.

Post School

You’ll usually need a relevant degree and a MSc or PhD in a biological science. Employers may also want you to have experience in your area of interest and, if you don’t already have one, be working towards a PhD.

Relevant subjects include:

  • biology
  • biological science
  • plant biology
  • microbiology
  • conservation biology

In the UK, you may be able to become a biologist through a Higher Apprenticeship for Life Sciences and Chemical Science Professionals.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, with occasional evening and weekend shifts. You could be based in a laboratory, a classroom, in industry or on a research ship at sea.

Fieldwork can sometimes take place in challenging conditions.

Career Path & Progression:

You could move into management, teaching, the media, administration and scientific journalism.