Zoology is the study of animals. As a branch of biology, zoology studies structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of any and all animals, regardless of whether they are living or extinct. Zoology degrees are conferred at the baccalaureate, master’s and PhD levels. Collecting, analyzing, and studying data in and outside of lab environments is often required, as well as a certain amount of traveling depending on focus.
While studying zoology at a bachelor’s degree level, the curriculum will focus on physical sciences, introductory biology, ecology and genetics. It will also include calculus, statistics, or computer science. The heavy focus will be on laboratory work, and will likely also require a specialization.
Options for specialization are many and the need for each varies. Cetologists study marine mammals, while Ichthyologists specifically work specifically with wild fish. Herpetologists work with amphibians and reptiles while Parasitologists focus on ticks, fleas, and other parasites. Entomologists study insects, while Mammalogists study mammals. Ornithologists study birds, Paleozoologists study fossils, and Ethologists specifically research general animal behavior.
Zoologists often find work at zoos, wildlife centers, parks, or reserves, or at aquariums. Animal care, research, and breeding programs are standard areas of focus. Entry-level salaries for zoologists are at $40,000 per year.
A master’s degree in zoology typically furthers a specific focus. For instance, to study or research farm animals, a master’s degree is a requirement. More advanced scientific work in zoology often requires a master’s degree, as well. Natural positions for zoology majors with graduate degrees include higher-level Zoologists or Wildlife Biologists, Natural Sciences Managers, Animal Scientists, and Conservation Scientists.
Average salaries for zoologists with graduate education begins around $60,000.