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What college classes are tailored to/recommended for a career in zoology or wildlife biology

Throughout my academic life I have always taken an interest in the sciences and the study of the natural world. For my junior year in high school I have enrolled in advanced placement environmental science, but the animal world has always captured my attention and I am curious what curriculum I should pursue. #biology #zoology #earth-science #animal-work

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Catherine’s Answer

Some larger universities may offer majors in Zoology, so look to those programs, and definitely research what kinds of opportunities they have for you to actually work with animals either on campus or at an affiliate institution. At other universities, your best bet might be to major in biology, and get a concentration in zoology (meaning that in addition to your basic biology classes, you will take electives that focus on animals and wildlife). Again, also look at what opportunities they have to work with animals. For example, I went to Duke University. It did not have a zoology major, but the students who were interested in working with animals majored in biology and did concentrations in "animal behavior," "evolutionary biology," or "marine biology" (http://biology.duke.edu/undergraduate/major/concentrations). They also looked for opportunities to do things like spend a summer or a semester at the Duke Univeristy Marine Lab to study marine wildlife, and others worked at the Duke Lemur Center. You can also think about studying something like neuroscience or psychology, where a lot of research is done with animal models. You can work in those labs, help take care of the research animals, and run experiments. If taking care of animals is more your thing, then I would also encourage you to look at schools that also have a veterinarian degree, which is a graduate degree that you can pursue after your undergraduate degree, but going to one of these schools would definitely increase your chances of having the opportunity to work with animals. Texas A&M is a good example.

Thank you comment icon Thanks for the great advice! I'll definitely keep an out for hands-on research oppurtunities and other means of working with actual animals. Dylan
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Janine’s Answer

There are universities that offer majors in wildlife biology or zoology. Don't let that deter you when choosing a college, even if that is not offered as a major, many universities offer some specialization when majoring in the biological sciences. My major (marine biology) fell under the heading of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and the classes that I took focused more on ecology, animal behavior, and the environment. Look at what types of classes universities offer as well as volunteer, research, and internship opportunities. Are you volunteering anywhere now in an area of interest to you? If so, talk to some of the adults there and find out about their college experiences. This information can help guide you in your search for majors, colleges, and experiences.

Thank you comment icon The point about volunteering is a great one. Volunteering is a huge networking opportunity for young people. Jared Chung, Admin
Thank you comment icon I'm glad to hear I won't be pressured to follow a specific field of biology immediately upon entering the college. Being able to pursue a broader topic and then apply it to a specific field will certainly reduce the academic pressure! I am already looking into volunteer oppurtunities in which I can become involved in the local scientific community. Thanks for the helpful info! Dylan
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