To find the best colleges for zoology, think about your career goals and what you want to accomplish as an undergrad or a graduate student. Not many schools offer undergraduate degrees in zoology, so if you choose to go somewhere that doesn't, you may have to take more general biological science courses and then begin a graduate program in zoology after earning your degree.
As an undergraduate, where you go to school and what you choose to study matters, and your grades are important as well. However, most research, fieldwork and specialization opportunities are available to graduate students rather than undergrads, so try to have a strong, demonstrated interest and background in zoology at the time when you apply for grad schools and Ph.D. programs.
Obtaining Undergraduate Degrees
Michigan State University
The Department of Zoology at MSU offers three different zoology programs for undergraduates:
- B.S. in Zoology
- B.A. in Zoology
- B.S. in Environmental Biology/Zoology
The program builds a strong foundation in biology and focuses on offering courses that address the diversity of animal life on the planet and the many different specializations that students could choose if they decide to go on to graduate programs in zoology.
University of Wisconsin
UW-Madison offers an undergraduate biology program from the department of zoology that concentrates heavily on science and emphasizes genetics, ecology, animal behavior, and several branches of biology. In addition to preparing students to apply for graduate degrees in zoology, this program would be a good fit for those who are interested in finding positions in law, public health, or environmental relations.
If you can't find a school that offers an undergraduate zoology degree, or you're not interested in any of those that do, you can still design a curriculum for yourself that will help you get into a good zoology grad school. Declare a major in biology, and make sure to take courses in chemistry, physics, and advanced math as well. Consider completing an independent research project related to zoology.
Earning Your Graduate Degree
Most grad students seeking a degree in zoology are already interested in specializing in a particular area of animal biology or a specific group of animals. When conducting your search for grad schools, take into account research and fieldwork opportunities, the work of the faculty members, and how well you feel the programs will prepare you for a career.
University of Wyoming
The University of Wyoming offers an excellent program for grad students through the department of zoology and physiology, which includes both Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in zoology and physiology. This program places a strong emphasis on research work and offers state-of-the-art facilities to support that effort.
Cornell divides its zoology program into different fields of specialization and recruits students who are particularly interested in vertebrate morphological sciences. The curriculum in the graduate program here is closely tied with molecular biology, evolution, and genetics. Students earn a Ph.D in Zoology and Wildlife Conservation.
Explore Your Options and Make Wise Choices
Regardless of the school you choose, make sure to take advantage of all of the opportunities available to advance your education. This is the best way to help build a successful career in zoology.