What Are the Main Fields of Biology?

Biology is broadly defined as the science of living beings. Some of the main fields of biology involve studying microscopic organisms, animals, or the relationship between biology and other sciences. This article describes the main fields of biology. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

The Main Fields of Biology

For this article, the top fields in biology are defined as those employing the highest number of people, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Each of the main fields of biology contains several subfields, and there is some overlap in the research conducted in the main fields. The list below contains the main fields of biology, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov):

  • Biochemistry and biophysics
  • Microbiology
  • Zoology

Important Facts About Careers in Biology

Biochemists and Biophysicists Microbiologists Zoologists
Median Salary (2014) $84,940 per year $67,790 per year $58,270 per year
Entry-level Education bachelor's degree doctoral degree bachelor's degree
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 8% 4% 4%
Concentrations anatomy; physiology & biomechanics genetics; ecology animal behavior; marine biology

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Fields of Biology: Biochemistry and Biophysics

The BLS combines the fields of biochemistry and biophysics in its employment projections report. These fields are similar in that they involve applying principles of other sciences to biology. Biochemistry is concerned with the chemical makeup of different types of living organisms. Biochemistry involves studying the chemical processes carried out by all forms of life. Biophysics is the application of physics principles to living beings. Biophysics explores physical aspects of items ranging from cells to whole ecosystems.

Fields of Biology: Microbiology

Another main field of biology is microbiology. Microbiology deals with microscopic organisms, some of which consist of only one cell. Some life forms commonly studied in microbiology include bacteria, fungi, prokaryotes and protists. Microbiologists also study the properties and structure of viruses, though they are considered to be biological agents and aren't technically living organisms.

Fields of Biology: Zoology

Zoology is the branch of biology concerned with studying all types of characteristics of all types of animals. Zoologists study features like animals' behavior, physical appearance, physiology and habitat. Zoology is also concerned with classifying newly discovered animals based on their characteristics.

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