Biological science as a gateway to STEM - Engineering & Natural Sciences

Biological science as a gateway to STEM

Why should I get a degree in biological science? 

Jobs in STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—are hot. Of the 10 jobs expected to grow the fastest by 2029, all 10 are in STEM-related fields.  

A lot of majors will lead you to one of these careers, but biological science is the most versatile way to go. Here’s what a degree in biology can do for you. 

What will I study?  

As a student at The University of Tulsa, you’ll study the fundamental processes that govern all life — human, animal and plant. But you’ll also take courses in chemistry, genetics, math, ecology and evolution, and other topics that provide a gateway to a wide variety of STEM careers. 

woman looking through a microscope in a laboratoryYou can enroll in two basic types of biology degree at TU: a bachelor of arts (BA) or a bachelor of science (BS). A BA degree gives you more room to take classes in the arts and humanities, while a BS degree drills in deeply on science and math. 

Majoring in biology gives you an advantage when applying to medical or veterinary school. The biological science curriculum includes all the classes you’ll need to impress admission committees. As a student in the pre-med track, you’ll work closely with advisers to be sure your courses and grades are dialed in before applying. (You’re joining an elite group of students: In 2020, med schools accepted 85% of TU students who applied.) 

What career paths does a biological science degree lead to?  

  • Animal behavior. As an animal behaviorist, you’ll study the relationship of animals to their environment and other animals. Most animal behaviorists work in academia, but you might also work in a zoo to improve the health of the animals there. Some are employed by drug companies to study the effects of certain pharmaceuticals on behavior. Or you may work with pet owners to understand why their pets are acting a certain way. 
  • Development and evolution. How did life originate on Earth? What factors influenced it? By understanding how organisms and microorganisms developed, you’ll gain deeper insight into biology itself — and put those lessons to work as we study disease, protect species against climate change and more. 
  • Ecology. Ecologists study the complex relationships between organisms and their environment. Some ecologists work in universities, but others address environmental problems such as pollution and climate change while employed by state or federal agencies. If you want to become a conservationist to help protect habitats and biodiversity, ecology is a career you’ll want to consider. 
  • Population and reproductive genetics. As a geneticist, you may try to identify why certain populations are more or less susceptible to particular diseases. Or you may work with parents-to-be to help them understand hereditary risks their children may face. 
  • Microbiology. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae — these microorganisms are literally everywhere. Even though they can’t be seen by the naked eye, they influence the food we eat, our health and the environment. 
  • Virology. In the age of COVID-19, the importance of studying viruses is obvious. Viruses pose countless other threats to animals and plants alike, however, as HIV, Ebola, influenza and even the common cold are infectious pathogens that cause human suffering and death. 
  • Plant biology. To say “plant scientists study plants” doesn’t do justice to the far-reaching influence of their work. Some plant scientists study how plants can be used as medicine. Others study how climate change affects plant life. In agriculture, plant scientists identify crops that resist the effects of drought, disease and pests.  
  • Sensory biology/sensory ecology. Organisms rely on a mind-bending amount of information to respond to the world around them. Sharks, for example, can sense fluctuations in electrical fields. Other creatures can detect pain. By understanding these inputs, scientists can get deeper insight into animal behavior. And they can also develop conservation strategies that reduce the impact of certain human behavior may inadvertently cause. 

Study biological science at The University of Tulsa 

At The University of Tulsa, biological science courses will introduce you to a lot of these topics. And extensive research opportunities in field sites such as the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, the Oklahoma Cross Timbers, the Ozark Mountains and La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica will give you experience to build on.