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Graduating with a Biology Degree

 

  • How do I apply for graduation?
    • Two terms before you plan to graduate, make sure you begin completing these steps:
    • 1. Meet with with the Biology adviser. Leah will be able to help you go over your DARS report to make sure you will have completed all your course requirements in time to graduate.
    • 2. Submit your degree application form. For undergraduates, degree application forms are due two quarters before the term you plan to graduate. Your degree application form, along with the $20 application fee, should be returned to the Degree Requirements office in Neuberger Hall 104. Click here for a copy of the degree application form.
    • 3. Register for commencement. You are not required to attend the commencement ceremony in order to graduate, but earning a college degree is an important achievement, and you may want to celebrate what you've accomplished with your family or friends. Click here to find out more information about commencement dates, registering for commencement, buying tickets for loved ones, and renting a cap and gown.
    • 4. Deal with any outstanding grade issues. As you wrap up your last term at PSU, you should make sure that all your coursework has been completed and that your final grades have been recorded so that your degree application can be processed.
  • How do I plan for a career with my Biology degree?
    • PSU's Career Center is a great resource for helping you explore possible career options and figure out the steps you need to take to achieve your professional goals. Making an appointment with a career counselor early on will help you strategize effectively for launching your career and save you a lot of time and anxiety during your senior year.
    • * Click here to make an appointment with a career counselor.
    • * Click here to view the Career Center's page of resources for Biology majors.
    • Completing a practicum or internship is a very important part of your professional development as an undergraduate-- this kind of experience often makes the difference between the recent college graduate who lands the job she wants and the one who doesn't. In addition to helping you explore possible careers and giving you valuable experience to put on your resume, completing a practicum or internship gives you an opportunity to cultivate professional references and network with possible employers. PSU will often give you academic credit for completing practica or internships. *Where can students get information about Biology internships? The Career Center can also help you find internship opportunities. Click here to search their job and internship database and click here to find a list of Biology Internships.
    • Maybe you decided to major in Biology because you already have some idea of the career you want to pursue. If this is the case, make sure you have done your research and know whether you will need to go on to graduate school after completing your bachelor's degree. Many of the careers that Biology majors go into require a professional or academic degree, and admission to those programs can be quite competitive, so it's important that you know what you need to do over the next few years to be a successful applicant.
  • How do I plan for graduate school?
    • Many professional careers require degrees beyond the basic four-year bachelor's degree. In other careers, a graduate degree is not strictly required, but having a master's degree will greatly improve your employment and promotion prospects. Biology majors often go on to a variety of graduate programs, which fall into two broad categories:
    • Professional programs
      Professional programs give you the credentials to enter specific careers that generally have strict requirements for certification or licensure. Biology majors often go on to professional programs in areas like:
      • Medicine
      • Nursing
      • Physician Assistance
      • Dentistry
      • Pharmacy
      • Optometry
      • Podiatry
      • Physical Therapy
      • Audiology
      • Veterinary medicine
      • Forestry
      • K-12 Teacher Certification 

    • Other careers that require a professional degree include law, social work, counseling, library science, engineering, urban planning, and architecture. 

    • If you are interested in entering a professional program after completing your bachelor's degree, it is important to start planning early, since these programs often have prerequisite coursework, and because the application process can be long and involved, sometimes including competitive national examinations. The pre-professional advisers in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Advising Center are very knowledgeable about these application processes, and can help you plan your coursework and find the practicum experiences, job-shadowing, and networking opportunities that will make you an attractive applicant to professional programs. Click here to find out more about pre-professional programs offered through the CLAS Advising Center at PSU. 

      Academic programs
      Academic programs in Biology prepare students to undertake the kind of scientific research that Biology professors and other biological researchers conduct. These master's and Ph.D. programs train students for careers as researchers and/or college-level Biology professors or instructors. Full-time positions in academia are very competitive, and new Ph.D.'s usually need to be willing to move around the country when they enter the job market. If you think you might be interested in this career path, make sure you talk to many faculty so that you fully understand the nature of the work they do and the personal and professional challenges of this career field. Even if you do not go into academia, however, trained biological researchers are in demand in both private industry (for instance, at pharmaceutical or cosmetic companies) and the public sector (such as environmental conservation or health and safety offices). Consulting early and often with Biology faculty are familiar with your work and who specialize in the areas that interest you is the best way to choose the best graduate programs for your goals and to assemble a successful application.
    • We offer a guide for students thinking about applying to graduate school. Click here to download a copy. The PSU Career Center also offers many resources for applying to graduate or professional programs, including financial planning and the opportunity to do a mock interview. Click here to view their graduate and professional school resource page.