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Ecology & Systematics Biology Major

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Ecology & Systematics Biology

3,824 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
2,138 Master's Degrees Annually
#90 in Popularity
$89,150 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Ecology & Systematics Biology Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many ecology, evolution and systematics biology graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 3,824
Master’s Degree 2,138
Doctor’s Degree 801
Graduate Certificate 159
Associate’s Degree 48
Basic Certificate 10
Undergraduate Certificate 7

What Ecology & Systematics Biology Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, ecology majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Ecology Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills for Ecology Majors

A major in ecology prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Abilities for Ecology Majors

A major in ecology will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a Ecology & Systematics Biology Major?

People with a ecology degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Bioinformatics Scientists 8.0% $79,590
Biological Science Professors 15.1% $82,550
Clinical Research Coordinators 9.9% $123,860
Epidemiologists 8.2% $69,660
Health Specialties Professors 25.9% $97,370
Life Scientists 9.0% $78,190
Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists 13.4% $84,810
Molecular and Cellular Biologists 8.0% $79,590
Natural Sciences Managers 9.9% $123,860
Water Resource Specialists 9.9% $123,860
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists 7.7% $63,420

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Ecology & Systematics Biology?

3,824 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
65% Percent Women
24% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 3,824 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ecology, evolution and systematics biology in 2019, making it rank #90 in popularity. The major attracts more women than men. About 65% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of ecology majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Ecology Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 208
Black or African American 82
Hispanic or Latino 425
White 2,698
International Students 111
Other Races/Ethnicities 300

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Ecology, too. About 2.9% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • Canada
  • Nigeria
  • Taiwan

How Much Do Ecology & Systematics Biology Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median early-career salary of ecology, evolution and systematics biology students with a bachelor’s degree is $23,150 a year according to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $21,275 (25th percentile) and $25,025 (75th percentile).

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It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to ecology.

Salaries According to BLS

Ecology majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $75,690 to $97,340 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for an Ecology & Systematics Biology Major  ( 75690 to 97340 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with ecology may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to ecology have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.3%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 1.0%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 1.0%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 1.5%
Bachelor’s Degree 28.9%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 1.8%
Master’s Degree 26.4%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.4%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.0%
Doctoral Degree 19.8%
Post-Doctoral Training 18.1%

Online Ecology & Systematics Biology Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 349 schools offered some type of ecology, evolution and systematics biology program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 7 1
Certificate (1-2 years) 5 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 8 0
Bachelor’s Degree 32 4
Post-Baccalaureate 7 1
Master’s Degree 179 6
Post-Master’s 12 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 149 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Ecology & Systematics Biology Worth It?

The median salary for a ecology grad is $89,150 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 123% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $985,000 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to ecology.

Major Number of Grads
General Biology 98,638
Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology 14,004
Neurobiology & Neurosciences 9,504
Physiology & Pathology Sciences 7,844
Cell Biology & Anatomical Sciences 5,671
Microbiological Sciences & Immunology 4,469
Biological & Biomedical Sciences (Other) 3,646
Biotechnology 3,591
Zoology 2,974
Biomathematics & Bioinformatics 2,404
Genetics 1,326
Pharmacology & Toxicology 1,148
Botany/Plant Biology 684
Molecular Medicine 71

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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