What Can I Do with My Biology Major?
What is it like to study biology at Georgetown University?
Biology is the study of life. The discipline examines the science behind how the world, and its inhabitants, came into existence, and how the many forms of life continue to interact with one another. The major takes an extensive look at the biological world, including ecology, evolutionary systems, genetics, molecular and cellular biology, immunology, developmental biology and neurobiology, and is research-intensive in both coursework and labs. Biology majors may choose to narrow their studies within one of two concentrations – biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, or ecology, evolution and behavioral biology – through coursework and a senior thesis, or they may choose to keep a broader focus.
As a biology major, you will be able to engage in meaningful and productive interactions and engage in innovative research and collaborative education. With close ties to the research-oriented Georgetown Medical School, the NIH, and other universities in the DC area, the biology department provides an exceptional environment for learning and scholarship.
Majoring in biology can serve as a gateway to professions in a variety of fields, including health care, drug development, law, science policy, scientific writing, and government; the rigorous program also provides a strong background for graduate or medical school.
What skills will I gain from studying biology at Georgetown?
Biology students learn the fundamentals of the life sciences, gain skills in communication, obtain knowledge of experimental design, and learn how to critically analyze data that will benefit them throughout their lives. Throughout your experience in the program, you will obtain the following skills:
Critical Thinking Skills
- Interpret and critique scientific text, presentations, and primary literature
- Structure and place understanding with appropriate references to literature
- Speculate on meanings of data and on possible future directions
- Ability to relate biology to other disciplines
Effective Communication Skills
- Present scientific understanding to both scientific and general audiences
- Speak and write precisely
- Present scientific ideas arguing from evidence
- Stimulate interest of audience
- Design and perform experiments
- Construct mathematical models in order to test scientific hypotheses
- Use a variety of sources to develop questions and hypotheses
- Collection and presentation of data
- Construct, evaluate, and interpret both qualitative and quantitative data
How can I use these skills to build out my resume?
You can use the examples above, and experiences from classes or research projects to enhance your resume. Try plugging in some of your experiences or skills gained into this formula: Accomplished (X) as measured by (Y) by doing (Z).
Sample Resume Class 1, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Member of Class, taught by Prof. ______
- Conducted an individual research paper, known as the Engelhard Project, connecting academic principles to issues experienced by peers; personal research was conducted on the role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and acetyl-L-carnitine (LAC) levels in the modern day epidemic of major depressive disorder (MDD)
- Developed understanding of applications of genomics to biomedical and biological research by performing computational exercises such as (insert course lab work/assignments/projects) using genomic databases in BIOL 379 Genomics & Bioinformatics course
- Participated in Research Intensive Senior Experience (RISE) to conduct research on (insert topic area) by (insert methods of research) and presented findings to panel of faculty and students for Biology Department Research Symposium
What have previous Georgetown students done with a biology degree?
Georgetown Alumni have taken their biology degree across multiple different industries and have applied the skills they learned in biology across multiple disciplines.
Sample Internships & Possible Keywords to Help Explore
Helpful Keywords to Improve Searches
There are lots of ways to find good keywords to help your job or internship search process, or even just to learn more about the types of jobs you can do within a specific major. One way to explore this is by checking out the job search tool on Google.
Once you are in, type in something generic like your major and the world internship afterward. Once you hit enter, it will give you lots of options to explore, but if you want to explore titles, possible career paths, or keywords, hover your mouse over the ‘Title’ tab on the top of the page. This will give you a ton of ideas and options to explore possible keywords.
Sample Internship Opportunities
- Government agencies/government relations (e.g., National Institutes of Health, Institute of Biotechnology, Environmental Science, and Computing)
- Nonprofit agencies (e.g., Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History)
- Health care (e.g., Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy)
- Biotechnology (e.g., Millennium Pharmaceuticals)
Where can I go to learn more?
The Georgetown Biology Department Website is rich with additional information on studying Biology.
Professional Associations are a great place to go to dive deeper into the field of biology and learn more about what post grad life might look like.
- American Institute of Biological Sciences
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Society for Cell Biology
- American Society for Microbiology
- Society for the Study of Evolution
Vault is a fantastic resource to learn more about specific career fields in biology. Vault has information such as salary information, work environment, education and training requirements, outlooks, and specific tips for entering into the field.
Who can I go to to learn more?
Professors & Academic Deans
Georgetown professors and faculty members can be a wonderful resource for Georgetown students. If you are still curious to learn more about the disciplines of a specific major, we’d encourage you to connect with your professors! Outside of office hours, Georgetown has an online interface called GU360 where students can explore and connect with faculty members that are eager to mentor and support students. You can use this interface to learn more about specific department research, specialties, and areas of study within a major.
You can also connect with your academic dean or counselor to further discuss opportunities within a given major.
Lastly, each department has a dedicated Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). This is the individual in charge of coordinating the major program or department as a whole. You can find the Director of Undergraduate Studies by exploring the faculty and staff pages of individual departments websites.
Connecting with alumni is a fantastic way to explore a day in the life of any given major student. There are several different ways to connect with Georgetown Alums. Hoya Gateway is Georgetown’s premier networking platform which connects alumni and students to have meaningful conversations and build a strong network of support. This is a platform alumni opt into with the sole purpose of supporting current students, which means there is an extremely high response rate.
You can also utilize LinkedIn to connect with Georgetown Alum. A simple alumni search on Georgetown’s LinkedIn profile will help you get connected to approximately 130 thousand alumni, which you can then filter to meet the location, major, industry, or skills that you are interested in exploring.
You can also check out our Post Graduation Outcomes to learn more about what Georgetown alumni in specific majors are up to after graduation. We survey our seniors at the end of each year and into the following year to learn about jobs they secured, service opportunities they committed to, or graduate schools they decided to attend. You can filter by first major to get an idea of what life after Georgetown looks like. You’ll see in many cases that alums are using majors in a wide variety of ways, and your major doesn’t always equal your career path.
Career Center Staff
You can also connect with career center staff to talk through the possible outcomes of one major over another. In short, there are endless opportunities no matter what major you choose. However, connecting with someone might help you navigate your decision making process a little bit easier.
At the career center, you have the opportunity to meet with either a Career Exploration Counselor or an Industry Advisor. Career Exploration Counselors can help you talk through concerns, goals, the big picture, and strategies to move forward. You can think of them as generalists and a great place to get started. Industry Advisors can help you think through specific questions about a given career path and provide specific industry information and trends. You can think of them as specialists for once you start to narrow down your possible path. If you think an appointment with one of these individuals would benefit you, you can make an appointment on Handshake.