Postgraduate Courses in Biology

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The study of biology encapsulates all biological life, both animal and plant life. Therefore, biology is a good choice of subject from which to specialise in a further subject, such as marine biology. If you study biology at postgraduate level, you will equip yourself with the basic skills needed to pursue any of the biological sciences.

Postgraduate Courses in Biology Trends

Biology comes under the grouping of topics that are encapsulated within the biological sciences for statistics purposes. In 2015-2016 in Ireland, almost 450 students enrolled in courses related to biological sciences. Biological sciences (including biology) were the 3rd most popular subject for postgraduate study in Ireland in 2015-2016.

Studying Postgraduate Courses in Biology for Professional Reasons

Receiving a qualification in biology demonstrates that you have the skill set required to undertake general biological work. However, if you are studying pure biology, you no doubt see it as a stepping stone to one of the more specialised forms of biology.

Research Subjects for Postgraduate Courses in Biology

The actual research subject you choose, and the eventual thesis you write, is driven by those available as part of the curriculum. Typical examples of available avenues research are:

  • Advanced neuroscience – this would cover both theory and actual lab work. Study Involving the physical structure and operation of the human central nervous system.
  • Biostatistics – the study of biostatistics and probability distributions in biology. This would include topics such as hypothesis testing, analysis of variance and nonlinear and linear regression.
  • Advanced human gross anatomy – the study of human anatomy at a cellular level. It would include facets such as cadaver dissection, the reproductive system, neuromuscular, gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal.

Specializations for Postgraduate Courses in Biology

At postgraduate level, it is possible to begin branching into specialisations, studying for an advanced qualification in a more focus branch of biology. For example, the following biological subjects would have a number of relevant specialisations.

  • Human immunology – how the human immune system works, how it can be affected by external factors.
  • Animal behaviour – how animal behaviour is driven by ecological effectors, and why behaviour evolves.
  • Vertebrate biology – specific specialisation in vertebrate.
  • Plant diversity and conservation – the study of how plant diversity is driven by ecology, and how an ecosystem can be maintained to preserve plants.
  • Medical microbiology – microbiology as a treatment method for both humans and animals.

These are just a number of the specialisations that a student studying biology will find available. There are many more, and which ones are available will depend entirely on course curriculum.

Job Roles Which Completing Postgraduate Courses in Biology Will Open Up

Depending upon the specialisation of your postgraduate in biology, a number of potential fields of work will open up. Typical careers that are based on an education in biology are:

  • Biotechnologist – working as a lab technician for biotechnology research or development.
  • Marine biologist – specialising in marine biology, and the conservation of the ecosystem which supports it.
  • Microbiologist – research and development into the applications of microbiology such as viruses.
    Alongside the pure science jobs, are many job roles which require a basic understanding of biology. Some of these include:
  • Dentist – biology is a core component of dental medicine.
  • General practice doctor – as a GP, a firm grounding in basic biology is required.
  • Science writer – as an eclectic science writer, you will need to understand basic biology.
  • Zookeeper – biology and ecology are extremely important in caring for exotic species.

In Conclusion

Receiving a professional qualification in biology provides two key benefits. Firstly, as the basis for further specialisation. Secondly, as a prerequisite for job roles which encapsulate some biology skills and knowledge.


Kevin Branigan

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