Biology Careers in Science

Biology | Chemistry | Geology | IST | Math | Physics


Majors in the life sciences provide preparation which can lead directly to a variety of careers in industry, government agencies, and the basic and applied health fields. A major in biological science also provides excellent preparation for pursuing graduate studies leading to professions in the biological and health sciences. Biology, Cellular, Molecular and Medical Biology, Ecological and Evolutionary Biology, and Microbiology majors are offered within the biological sciences degree program.

Biology Major

The major in Biology prepares a student for a variety of jobs requiring a broad background in the biological sciences. A well-rounded program, it also provides an excellent background for graduate studies in life sciences or medicine.

Cellular, Molecular, and Medical Biology Major

Students who wish to pursue careers in medicine or biomedical research, the major in CMMB focuses on theoretical and experiential training in life processes at the cellular and molecular level. This degree provides coursework on animal processes from molecular structures to organic evolution. Also this major introduces students to organisms, both prokaryotic and eukaryotic, that are involved in human diseases. Students who complete this major will be well prepared for careers or graduate programs in biotechnology, molecular biology, immunology, cellular physiology, and medicine.

Ecological and Evolutionary Biology Major

The major in EEB offers opportunities for careers in government and private sectors, as well as for further graduate work. Some career areas would include environmental health, resource management, and basic and applied ecological research.

Microbiology Major

Students completing the major in Microbiology will be prepared for career opportunities in environmental, pharmaceutical, and industrial microbiology. Students will also be prepared to continue specialization at the graduate level in clinical, food and dairy, soil and sanitary bacteriology, or industrial microbiology.

General Career Information


Majors in chemistry receive professional training that may lead to careers in a variety of science related areas. Our graduates have worked in the chemistry industry both locally and nationally. Many have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in chemistry and allied fields. Some have obtained second degrees in fields such as engineering and business. A large number of our graduates have used the degree as a vehicle for entry into health related fields, including medicine, dentistry and pharmacy. The major is also an excellent for beginning a teaching career in the sciences.


This degree is designed to give students a solid background in the study of chemistry that may be applied to a variety of careers. While students receive all the training required to pursue opportunities in the chemical industry, this is only a small part of what the degree has to offer. Students often choose this major to begin a career in health related fields. The degree is a spring board to many different and varied careers in science related fields. It has also become popular to double major in conjunction with a degree in the biological sciences.

BS in Chemistry, ACS certified

This major provides a more intense study of chemistry. In addition to all the career alternatives provided by the BS in chemistry degree, this degree is the choice of students who wish to do graduate work in the sciences, or simply desire a deeper understanding and more experience in the subject. Recently students have used this degree to attain doctorates from distinguished universities including Virginia Tech and Penn State. Graduates also receive a certificate recognizing their accomplishments from the American Chemical Society.


Biochemistry is the fastest growing field in chemistry, offering many opportunities for graduates. The degree in Biochemistry provides all the opportunities of the BS in chemistry degree with specialized training in the biological aspects of chemistry. We have several expertly qualified faculty who specialize in all the important areas of biochemistry, such as proteins, DNA, and genetics. This degree is an excellent choice for students wishing to pursue careers in any chemistry related or health related area.

Environmental Chemistry

Students completing the environmental chemistry degree will be prepared for career opportunities in environmental chemistry, toxicology, environmental policy, and consulting. Additionally, Environmental Chemistry is an excellent choice for students desiring to attend professional training in law, safety, or industrial hygiene.

Forensic Chemistry

The program is the result of a cooperative effort of many different departments on and off campus. The result provides students with training in all the various aspects of forensic science. Students not only attain a thorough understanding of the science behind the common procedures used in a forensic laboratory, but receive training in the law and medicinal aspects as well. There are many careers for which this degree may be used. Students are qualified to work as a forensic scientist or to begin a career in law or law enforcement. We also work closely with the School of Medicine in providing the students accesses to both medical and forensic research.

General Career Information


The greatest number of geologists are employed by the natural resources industries including the petroleum, natural gas, coal, non-metallic and metallic companies. The majority of Marshal University geology graduates have found employment in environmental and engineering /geotechnical companies.

What is a Geoscientist?

A geologist, or geoscientist, is concerned with the physical and chemical makeup and history of the Earth. Many of the natural resources upon which human society is built, are found by geologists. Geologists provide fundamental data and knowledge for policies that affect the environment, public safety, health and welfare of societies.

What do Geologists do?

Geology is a discipline with many areas of specialization. Some of these include:

  • Geophysicists - use physics to study the interior structure and dynamics of the Earth.
  • Geochemists - investigate the chemical aspects of rocks, minerals, soils and water.
  • Petroleum Geologists - explore for oil and natural gas.
  • Hydrologists - study the movement of surface waters.
  • Hydrogeologists - investigate the occurrence, movement and quality of ground water.
  • Engineering Geologists - study the factors relevant to construction of buildings, dams, bridges and other structures.
  • Environmental Geologists - work on solving and preventing problems that degrade our environment such as pollution, waste disposal, urban development, and geologic hazards.
  • Sedimentologists - investigates the processes of transport, deposition and formation of sedimentary rock.

Where do Geologists Work?

Geologists work in the field, laboratory, and the office. Duties commonly take the geologist to the field to gather data and samples that are returned to the laboratory for analysis. Data are compiled and tabulated, plots and maps are drawn, and the results are evaluated--all leading to the writing of reports. The tools used by geologists vary from the simple rock hammer and hand lens in the field to the most sophisticated and high tech electron microscope, chemical/elemental analysis instruments, and computer software used in the laboratory.

The largest number of geologists are employed in the fossil fuels industry. State and Federal governments hire many geologists performing duties in research, regulatory functions and teaching. After gaining experience and a good reputation, many geologists go into private practice as consultants. Dwindling energy, mineral and water resources, increased environmental concerns present challenging careers for geologists. At the present, employment opportunities are the best in the environmental and geotechnical areas.

Integrated Science and Technology


A concentration in Biotechnology prepares you to enter the work force in medical, industrial, and environmental applications of biotechnology. You will be employed in fields such as molecular biology, plant and animal biology, microbiology, genetics, and forensic science. You will be trained in biological laboratories and develop the techniques used in laboratory settings of hospitals, universities, private pharmaceutical companies, and federal or state forensic laboratories.

Employment Opportunities:

  • Apply modern techniques of DNA analysis
  • Experimental design and data analysis
  • Develop laboratory applications for hospitals, universities, private
  • Biotechnological or pharmaceutical companies, federal, or state forensic laboratories

Computer & Information Technology

The Computer and Information Technology major of the IST program is for those students interested in creating and managing software, software systems, and/or integrating and managing computer systems; working in computer network systems integration; managing and implementing database management systems; developing multimedia-rich web-based applications; or participating in criminal investigations through computer forensics. The major in Computer and Information Technology will prepare you to contribute to industrial, governmental, and educational computing in areas of communications and networking infrastructures, software systems, user interfaces for web applications, and data asset management. Students in Computer and Information Technology obtain a broad background during their first two years and then choose a specialty in one of the following areas based on their aptitude, preferences, and desired career path:

Computer Application Development

Students will learn the software development process. They will have the ability to specify, design, and build software systems with an understanding of the development process steps and be able to develop applications with an understanding of project management and development issues. Students will learn at least two computer programming languages that support application development, allowing them to develop applications for stand-alone usage or web usage, while integrating multimedia.

Game Development

Students will learn to develop gaming applications. Graphics design and style are also taught.

Web Application Development

Students will learn to develop web-based applications using software such as ASP.Net and PHP. Students will also be prepared to develop web compliant applications for e-commerce and integrate multimedia into such applications while integrating distributed databases, such as Oracle and mySQL. Graphics design and style are also taught.

Digital Forensics and Information Assurance

Prepares students to meet the challenges of today’s cyber threats. Digital forensic and information assurance skills are in high demand in law enforcement, business, government, defense, intelligence and the private sector. Digital Forensics and information assurance allows a student to focus on cyber crime solutions in criminal justice, ethics, political science, cyberspace policies, business IT, and law enforcement fields. The investigation of digital evidenceis a new and growing multidisciplinary field.

Employment Opportunities:

A small sample of jobs available to CIT graduates include

  • Software Engineer
  • Software Tester
  • Software Programmer
  • Database Administrator
  • Certified Network Engineer
  • Network Administrator
  • Telecommunications Analyst/Manager
  • Web-based Application Developer

Criminal Justice and Criminology

With both an undergraduate and graduate program, students are provided a thorough understanding of the criminal justice system and its interrelation with society.  Graduate program prepares pre-service students for criminal justice careers.

Environmental Science

Graduates of the Environmental Science program will take advantage of the widespread opportunities provided by our society’s preservation and regulatory interests. Environmental Science students learn to use the most current technology and procedures to assess the environmental quality of a wide range of ecosystems. Field experiences range from assessing water quality of local streams and wetlands to producing videos of coral reef fishes. Recent graduates have been accepted into prestigious graduate programs or found employment in the environmental divisions of state, federal, or private environmental agencies.

Employment Opportunities:
  • Work for a Federal, State or municipal agency with responsibility for environmental monitoring and regulation
  • Work for a commercial environmental consulting company
  • Start your own business as an environmental consultant
  • Work for a public interest organization with a mission in environmental protection
  • Work in the legal system assessing environmental damage and potential threats to the environment

Natural Resource & Recreation Management

Professional degree for those interested in natural resources management, natural resources recreation/ education, eco/sustainable tourism or park administration.


Mathematics and Applied Mathematics majors prepare students for a vast variety of careers in the mathematical sciences and in numerous related disciplines. Graduating students will have a solid foundation that enables them to perform successfully in industry, business, government, and further studies. Graduates may pursue advanced degrees in mathematics, applied mathematics, and related areas such as engineering and economics. They may also prepare for secondary mathematics certification or for professional degree programs such as law and medicine.

General Career Information

Major Employers of Mathematicians and Statisticians


Physics will give you a powerful and beautiful way to observe and understand the world around you. If you like science and mathematics, "physics also offers challenging, exciting, and productive careers. As a career, physics covers many specialized fields - from acoustics, astronomy, and astrophysics to medical physics, geophysics, microelectronics, and vacuum sciences. Physics also offers a variety of work activities - lab supervisor, researcher, technician, teacher, manager. Physics opens doors to employment opportunities throughout the world in government, industry, schools, and private organizations.

You should have taken algebra, trigonometry, and pre-calculus (if it was available) in high school. In college you need to take more mathematics. After you have taken general physics, with laboratory work, you will typically study some of the fields within physics such as classical mechanics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, relativity, astrophysics, optics, and geophysics. Also, as in other fields, computers are important tools for physicists. Computer programming classes will teach you the skills necessary for the modeling and analysis that are important in physics.

A major in physics also provides an excellent foundation for pursuing a graduate degree. The masters program usually takes two years and may require a research topic. An additional two to four years may be needed to earn a Ph.D. One of the most important parts of the Ph.D. program is a piece of original research (either theoretical or experimental) conducted with the guidance of a faculty advisor. You will write up the results of your thesis and perhaps publish it in a scientific journal."

Other fields of science are heavily indebted to physics. For instance, the quantum theory is used by chemists to understand molecular bonding at a quantitative level. Civil and mechanical engineering use classical mechanics at their core. Physicians routinely make use of x-ray, ultrasound, and nuclear magnetic resonance for imaging, as well as the radiation from isotopes or linear accelerators for treating cancers. More recently, Wall Street has even hired physicists to perform quantitative modeling of stock and bond trends. So you see, an undergraduate degree in physics may be the best training for pursuing advanced degrees in many of the sciences.

The Department of Physics and Physical Science at Marshall University would very much like to help you obtain the B.S. degree in physics.

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