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Chemistry Degree > Zoological Career?

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by sealion, 22 Mar 2010.

  1. sealion

    sealion Well-Known Member

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    I am considering taking either a joint zoology + chemistry degree/straight zoology or possibly a straight chemistry degree and would like to know whether it is still possible to move into zoological careers with either only half a degree in biology/zoology or a whole one in chemistry?

    Anyone got any experience in studying at university before moving into either zoological research/conservation/animal-related careers? (especially if you didn't study zoology)

    I've heard that it's easier to move from the chemical side of science into the biological rather than vice versa.
     
  2. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

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    Doing a joint honors would enable you to get a taste of both and therefore put you in a better position to choose a future career. However, my real advice is to do what you enjoy, you’ll be studying it for three years. Go with your gut feeling, if it excites you do it. Don’t worry too much about your future career; there are plenty of zoology graduates out there who are now accountants. It may be harder to follow a career if you not suitably qualified but energy and enthusiasm count for a lot more the right degree.
     
  3. JerseyLotte

    JerseyLotte Well-Known Member

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    Hiya Sealion :D

    I did Biology and Geology joint honours, one of the most valuable things you can have in a team working with animals is an assortment of different perspectives. Challenges can be solved when you've got a bunch of different heads working together so I certainly think a joint degree could be to your advantage.

    I've gone on to work as a Herps keeper in an internationally reknowned conservation organisation, but the main thing to remember is that your degree will be the icing on the cake, your experience and knowledge is what will ultimately get you the jobs. :D
     
  4. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    I think you've already gotten some excellent advice.

    I'll add this: do you want to be working directly with animals all day or in the lab?

    I can't speak for the situation in the UK, but in North America there is a growing interest in the nutritional aspects of forage (we call it "browse"), forage palatability, as well as plant toxicity. That's one area where zoology meets chemistry that comes to mind.
     
  5. Hix

    Hix Wildlife Enthusiast and Lover of Islands Premium Member

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    Also in keeping aquatic/marine animals - water chemistry, the animal's ability to cope with pollutants, salinity, osmotic pressures etc.

    :p

    Hix
     
  6. sealion

    sealion Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the help guys! I'd been worried that doing a joint degree would mean that I wouldn't have "proper" expertise in either area so would be less desirable to employers, particularly because there are few areas where they overlap. The suggestions of plant toxicity and water chemistry are interesting- I hadn't not really thought of them before! I could possibly be doing biology + chemistry rather than zoology and chemistry, it all depends so they relate a bit better with the biochem etc.

    I'm not really sure whether I'd like to actually work with animals or be in the lab, really, depends I guess. Unless I was working on some training/behavioural aspects with the animals I was looking after I think I would get bored of working in a zoo environment. Wildlife/Conservation projects would be different though, i'd guess. I'm particularly interested in marine mammals (as you may have guessed), which is a pain living in the UK and is quite a competitive field elsewhere. I'm not particularly one of those "My dream job is a dolphin trainer" types, but I am interested in Seals/Sealions/Dolphins Whales etc.

    If anyone can recommend any books that I can read to try and make up my mind about exactly where my interests lie in Biology/Zoology/Chemistry, please say. I've only got a about a month to decide!