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Bonnie Ripley
Home » People » Bonnie Ripley » Bio Majors

Information for Biology Majors

OK, so you like science, maybe even LOVE biology and know you want to transfer to a university as a Biology Major and complete your bachelor's degree. What's next? What does it mean to "be a scientist"? What other job titles or career options are there? How much money do they make?

Check out the Learn How to Become: Biology Degrees and Careers web site for a ton of info. 

In general for Biology majors, there are three major career pathways to typically enter. One is a medical practitioner such as a doctor (vet, pharmacist, etc) where a "professional school" is required after completing a bachelor's degree. One is a career in research science, where typically you work at a university as a professor (and also teach), at a private company in Research and Development (drug discovery at a pharmaceutical company), or work for a government agency (the CDC for example as an epidemic investigator). With a bachelor's degree in these areas, you would work as a technician (doing bench or field work). With a master's degree, you will be more involved in the experimental design, but you won't be running a lab where you are in control of the direction of the projects unless you have a Ph. D. The third career pathway is K-12/community college teacher. A teaching credential or master's degree are required for these jobs, respectively. 

Tons of useful information about any of these options is available at Grossmont's Transfer Center page Pre-Professional Counseling. Scroll all the way down to find documents relevant to various professions and further information on what "graduate school" is all about. Make sure to check the "chart" of recommended courses for pre-med and pre-pharmacy preparation. Also check out the schedule for Workshops and Events, especially when it becomes time to apply to your transfer school. 

If you are a biology, chemistry or biochemistry major because you plan to go to medical, dental, pharmacy, veterinary or other professional school (physician's assistant, etc) the information available from the Transfer Center is especially important. Sue McPhatter is the "pre-med" advisor and you should schedule an appointment with her to review your educational plan.

In preparation for applying to graduate school and/or getting a job after you complete your bachelor's degree, you need to start accumulating work experience (in any area), leadership experience, and if possible research experience.  If you have never had a job before, volunteer work is also valuable. Become a tutor or teacher's assistant here at Grossmont as soon as possible if you have no work experience at all.  Leadership experience can be in any area--club officer, coach for your little sister's soccer team, organizing other volunteers for Surfrider, etc.  You can get research experience once you transfer to the university by volunteering (or possibly getting a paid job) in the lab of one of your professors. You can also apply for summer research experience fellowships, or work on a project on campus if any are available. Ask your Grossmont professors what you can do and check out the Internships and Jobs page for links to programs. 

Finally, you will need letters of recommendation. Cultivate relationships with your professors so that when the time comes, they know who you are.  Go to their office hours, ask to be their TA or helper, join the Science Club, volunteer at an on-campus event, whatever opportunities present themselves. 

If you are planning on transferring to UCSD...

  • Make sure to attend application workshops offered by the transfer center in the fall you are applying.
  • Want to know what GPA is needed to get admitted? It varies by year, but the data are available via the UC Infocenter Transfers by Major page
  • If you are accepted and are planning on a research science career (not a medical career) apply for the START program. Find more info here:

If you are planning on transferring to SDSU...

  • Make sure to attend application workshops offered by the transfer center in the fall you are applying.
  • Contact Prof. Michele Perchez ( about the Bridges program on the Grossmont campus.  It is a program that helps prepare students for transfer to SDSU including a summer internship for qualifying students. 

If you are applying to any other university...

  • Check your intended major at to see what Grossmont courses meet the preparation-for-major requirements. 
Last Updated: 01/29/2019
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