What is a Life Science Degree?

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A Brief History

Deciding on what major to study when going to university has been an issue since ages ago. The issue that most students have is that they are not exposed to a lot of options that they would have opted for, if they had discovered it during the time that they needed to decide which degree to pursue. This article will talk about one of the most commonly missed opportunities of going into a life science degree. Given the vagueness of the name of the degree, a lot of students dismiss it completely before knowing what it has and what careers you can manifest from having a life science degree. All of those frequently missed questions will be answered along with giving you a quick and informative lesson in what the life science degree is.

Digging Deeper: The Life Science Degree

A life science degree is as rich in the branches as the trees found in forests, as you can delve into so many different paths from this one umbrella of a label called the life sciences. This degree can take you anywhere that a living organism is as you can study any living organism on the planet. These living organisms include any animals, plants or even microscopic bacteria which means that the possibilities of studies are near endless. Given the vastness of life on the planet, you can delve into any type of life that interests you and study the smallest details of their life-cycle or the biological tendencies behind why they do certain things.

The Possible Fields of a Life Science Degree

Informing you of all the possible fields in a life science degree might take a while, as there are over 30 possible fields you can choose from once you’ve decided to pursue this field. According to https://artifacts.ai/what-is-life-science/, picking a focus should begin by  doing a personal assessment to which lifeform you are most fascinated with. You should not rush into it because as simple as it may seem, it is rarely an easy thing to do. This is one of the richest scientific fields to look into. Just to pique your interest, we are going to have a little look into the main branches of Life Sciences.

  • Marine Biology

From its name, you can already tell that this branch of the life science degree strictly studies the life found in oceans and this span from the tiniest fish to the largest whales. As humans, we’ve discovered more about space than we have about our oceans and seas. This leaves room for countless possible discoveries, especially since more methods of exploring the depths of the oceans are being invented every year. If you love working with different marine animals, even if it is just observing them from afar, you’ll love working in a field that requires you to do a lot of hands-on work along with a fair amount of research. This field is extremely large, so you can take your pick from what type of job you want to pursue as you can sit in a research facility or you can work with the marine animals directly.

  • Paleontology

If you have ever watched the TV show Friends, you will recognize this one instantly. Your fascination with dinosaurs does not have to be limited to something you do in your free time as this particular field can be very interesting to go into as you work with fossils to discover the different types of dinosaurs that lived and how they used to behave. This field requires working with a lot of fossils as you have to figure out how the dinosaurs looked like and what could have caused their death. It’s a lot like a detective working a case, but with dinosaurs.

  • Genetics

If there is one field that might find the cure for cancer, it is this one. Studying genetics as your field in a life science degree can be extremely enlightening as working with DNA allows you to figure out the core reasons behind certain things like eye color, genetic inheritance, and even addiction. It’s an extremely rich field that will definitely be the source of countless new discoveries in the future as we have yet to uncover many secrets behind our DNA.

  • Botany

If you do not fancy working with animals on land or in the ocean, you might find yourself more interested in working with plants. This field is so vast that it has its own little fields underneath it as it is impossible to cover everything related to plants within one field. Whether you are studying their life-cycle, anatomy, evolution or even just their genetics, you’ll find that there’s an entire world revolving around and within every single one of those plants. 

  • Biochemistry

This particular field is one of the most important fields that you could go into as a life scientist as it has helped discover and invent countless new ways to counter any issues that we face in our everyday lives. Biochemists work on the processing of food, medicine, healthcare products and much more. Ranging from makeup and hair products all the way to helping out farmers yield better produce this season, biochemistry has a hand in the vast majority of things that we rely on to live comfortably. You can study the core reason of why molecules act the way they do and then use that to your advantage to create a new product or resolve a recurring problem that people face. This also happens to be one of the highest paying fields in the life sciences as the potential from it is huge.

Jobs in Life Sciences

As you can already tell, all the fields that were previously mentioned have their own different job descriptions. It is important to know what the job labels are before heading into a specific field, though as it helps you visualize what you will be doing exactly. Some of the possible jobs that you can land in this field are:

-Biomedical Scientist, an average of $65,900 yearly

-Microbiologist, an average of $66,260 yearly

-Biochemist, an average of $93,280 yearly

-Biotechnologist, an average of $73,205 yearly

-Biomedical Engineer, an average of $88,550 yearly

-Toxicologist, an average of $50,000 yearly

-Embryologist, an average of $66,238 yearly 

-Cytogeneticist, an average of $72,038 yearly

-Immunologist, an average of $111,440 yearly

From the jobs listed above and the hundreds of others that you can find in this field, the pay always remains relatively high in comparison to other fields of study. The starting salary for a person working in any field of life sciences varies from country to country, they are usually paid the most around the North America region as the average was around $94,894 yearly. Working in a life sciences field in North America will take the burden of any financial situation away as the numbers talk for themselves.

There are a lot of other potential jobs that you could find as a life scientist and getting a very good idea about what field you want to go to and what are the possible job opportunities for you in that specific field helps you get fixated on a specific goal. A lot of people applying to universities are not clear on what job they would want in the future and that can complicate things later on if they discover that the job they want is not in the field that they have studied. That is why you should make sure that you have a clear vision of what you want before rushing into a specific field of life science.

Universities Offering Life Science Degrees

You can study life sciences in so many different universities and amongst them are the top universities in the world, including Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge and hundreds of other universities that have extremely good programs for this degree. It is advisable that you really get down to some thorough research to find which location and university would be best suited for your circumstances. Make sure to keep a close eye on the syllabus so that the degree offers what you are looking for.

The Work-Life of a Life Scientist 

If you picture yourself in a lab coat, experimenting on a specimen and living the classic laboratory work-life, then you are in luck because that’s one of the main things that you can do if you pursue a career in life sciences. If you are more of a practical person who loves to get outdoors and check out different plants or animals then you are also in luck because that is the other part of the job that you can easily go into if you feel like you are more of a hands-on type of worker. There are lots of different fields that you can go to that have lots of different fields within them. This means that you have the option to choose which direction you want to take your knowledge and expertise as the world is a vast place that still requires a lot of exploration from so many angles so you’re free to pick whichever one you feel more inclined to do. 

Reasons to go into a Life Science Degree

We discover hundreds of new species of plants and animals every year on planet earth. When we add in the different types of microbes discovered, that number rises up to thousands. There are so many things that we’ve yet to explore in our oceans and so many different species that remain undiscovered within our rainforests. Studying life sciences get us one step closer to being able to understand the things in our planet on a physical and microscopic level. Whether its plants, animals, or microbes, these things all roam around the earth in so many different shapes and forms. Understanding their physical nature and their genetic traits helps us identify more about the giant tree of life on earth. Many researchers point towards the ocean being the first place that life sprouted on earth, so finding out the different types of genetic traits that are present within both an animal/plant and the human species can clarify so many things about human nature and why we do certain things.

This field gives you the ability to learn about the different chemicals that can cause us harm or vice versa, it can help understand how a tiny fish digests its food and it can help understand how an alligator’s digestive system works. It is filled with mysteries that are yet to be uncovered as this field covers the entirety of life itself. With all the different angles life can be tackled, going into this field can be a never-ending adventure of knowledge that takes you to the tips of mountains and to the depths of the ocean. It can take you all over the world and it can take you all the way to the beginning of life, it is an absolutely great field that is expanding in every direction.

A life science degree is precisely what the name it entails to be, and while it is extremely vague, it is also true. It covers life in all its forms, which is a large field to study so it has to be broken down into dozens of smaller fields. That is where a lot of the people lose interest in the entire field as the name of the field is far too obscure for the general reader to understand as they are never going to be able to tell how many other fields are under it at first glance. If you think of other fields like engineering, law, and medicine, they are easily understood as one word is all you need to understand what they are all about, however, when the label life sciences are brought up, people don’t have the same reaction. Most of the people do not know what it is until they read an article like this and find out and that’s why going into such a field can be so exhilarating. Once you learn about it, hundreds of potential doors start to form in front of you to give you the ability to choose a path in life that you never knew existed before you read on the subject. If you are interested in discovering a new species or inventing something using plant DNA, this is the field for you.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

McGraw-Hill.  Life iScience, Student Edition (INTEGRATED SCIENCE).  McGraw-Hill Education, 2016.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by PublicDomainPictures, is licensed under the Pixabay License.

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About Author

Abdul Alhazred

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland