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:

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.