What is Zoology?

Zoology faculty organize and present their teaching and research efforts in a variety of ways: by level of biological organization (from cell to individual to population), type of interaction (competition, predation, parasitism), and kind, or classification, of animal (insects, birds, fishes). All students interested in any area of the biological sciences, including Zoology, enter UCSB as pre-biological sciences majors. Pre-biology majors share a common core curriculum, typically completed during the freshman and sophomore years, consisting of introductory biology with laboratory, general chemistry with laboratory, mathematics (calculus and statistics), physics with laboratory, and for many of the majors, an additional 2-3 terms of organic chemistry with laboratory.

The zoology major does not require organic chemistry in preparation for the major, however, upper division organic chemistry courses can be used to satisfy part of the upper division major coursework. After completion of key preparatory coursework, students may petition to declare the full major. The Zoology major requires completion of 48 upper-division quarter units in biological sciences including: courses in genetics, physiology, diversity and systematics; one course in either developmental biology, evolution or ecology; plus electives from the disciplines of botany, organic chemistry, anthropology, geography and geology. In practice, most students enroll in both laboratory and field courses. In addition to these major requirements, students choose electives in consultation with faculty advisors.

General Major Information

How Can I Tell If I Would Like Zoology?

Students who like to work with and around animals will enjoy this major. There are many opportunities for scientific research, management, and sales which to be conducted indoors. Zoology majors should be strong in the sciences, especially in biology.

What Are Potential Topics Within This Major?

Although the following list can provide students with topics that may be covered in this major, look at the UCSB catalog and consult with the undergraduate advisor for more detailed information about requirements and course offerings.

diversity and systematics
developmental biology
organic chemistry

To learn more about whether you might enjoy this major, check with a peer in the Career Resource Room for details on:

- Focus 2 to explore college majors and careers.

- The Strong Interest Inventory®, an assessment that compares your interests against six broad categories of work. This assessment helps match your interests and suggests potential careers to explore.

What Can I Do To Make My Major More Marketable?

  • Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
  • Choose a complementary minor.
  • Specialize in an area; take courses in related fields.
  • Develop your computer skills.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Study abroad.
  • Join professional associations.
  • Get involved in student clubs.
  • Participate in community organizations.
  • Seek out leadership positions.
  • Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
  • Network with others in fields that interest you.


General Career Information

What Are Some Possible Career Options?

Note: On its own, your major does not dictate what your job will be.  The following list provides only a handful of possibilities.  Zoology majors with strong liberal arts background may pursue career options in many fields.  Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study options include:

Animal Nutrition 
Genetic Prediction 
Wildlife Biologists
Fish and Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Manager
Aquatic Biologist
Assistant Research Scientist
Conservation Resources Management Biologist
Environmental Specialist

The Zoology major prepares students for graduate studies in biology at any major university. It is excellent preparation for professional study in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary science. The department offers an outstanding health science advisory system. The system advises and supports students interested in the biomedical sciences from the beginning of their undergraduate careers to their entrance into graduate and professional schools.

Students desiring immediate career entry often seek employment with local, state, or federally-funded government agencies or with the private sector. Such students obtain positions in wildlife management and environmental assessment, and with zoos and environmental impact firms.

Students interested in teaching biological sciences or conducting research at a university should plan to complete the PhD degree. Students interested in teaching at a community college should pursue graduate work at least through the master's degree. Teaching at the junior high or high school (secondary) level requires the California single subject teaching credential. Students considering this last option should discuss their plans with the credential advisor in UCSB's Graduate School of Education early in their academic careers.


Graduate and Professional Schools

Click “Graduate School” for information on how to choose a grad school, how to pay for grad school, how to survive and flourish in grad school.

This is a comprehensive website that provides information about where graduate programs are offered throughout the nation.

This is a database to help find where graduate programs are offered throughout the U.S.

Come to the Career Resources Room to view the CHOICES lab version of graduate schools.

Experience Search Strategies

Association of Zoo’s & Aquariums
Job Listings in Zoo’s & Aquariums.

New Scientist Jobs
All types of biology jobs categorized by field, location, government/private, etc.

Lists biotech jobs, biology teaching jobs and bioscience jobs

UCSB Career Services “Job Links” section
Check out job links in the following categories: Local/CA, National, International, Industry Specific, UCSB Careers by Majors and Diversity.

When you join LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.

Professional Associations

The American Institute of Biological Sciences
The American Institute of Biological Sciences is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) scientific association dedicated to advancing biological research and education for the welfare of society.

Scholarly Societies Project  
The penultimate site for professional biology associations, national and international.

Animal Behavior Society
The Animal Behavior Society that helps promote and encourage those interested in the study of animal behavior.

Zoology Professional Associations
This is a website which lists several links to organizations related to zoology.

Zoologist Association of America
The Zoological Association of America promotes responsible ownership, management, conservation, and propagation of animals in both privately funded and publicly funded facilities through professional standards in husbandry, animal care, safety and ethics.

Association of Zoos and Aquariums



UCSB Resources