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Ecology & Systematics Biology

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Ecology & Systematics Biology Major

6,535 yearly degrees
#130 in popularity
$89,000 median salary

Ecology, evolution and systematics biology is a major that typically falls into the Biological & Biomedical Sciences category.

There are 7 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in ecology, 262 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 176 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 144 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting an Ecology Degree?

Ecology, evolution and systematics biology is one of the least chosen majors in the country, ranked #98 in popularity. About 3,500 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in the field in 2017. The major attracts more women than men. About 64.5% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial Distribution

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

  • Asian: 5.8%
  • Black or African American: 2.4%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 10.7%
  • White: 70.5%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 2.4%
  • Other Races: 8.1%
Ecology & Systematics Biology Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in ecology. About 2.4% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending ecology majors to the U.S. are China, India and Canada.

What Will You Learn as an Ecology & Systematics Biology Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to ecology to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Ecology Majors

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

Important Knowledge Areas for Ecology & Systematics Biology Majors

Skills for Ecology Majors

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

Important Skills for Ecology & Systematics Biology Majors

Abilities for Ecology Majors

Ecology majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

Important Abilities for ecology Majors

What Can You Do With an Ecology Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with ecology:

Careers Related to Ecology & Systematics Biology
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Health Specialties Professors



Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists



Life Scientists



Natural Sciences Managers



Clinical Research Coordinators



Water Resource Specialists



Bioinformatics Scientists



Biological Science Professors



Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists



Molecular and Cellular Biologists



Ecology & Systematics Biology Major Salary

Ecology majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $76,000 to $97,000. 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, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for an Ecology Major  ( 76000 to 97000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Ecology & Systematics Biology Major Jobs

Some careers associated with ecology may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much education 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.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Ecology & Systematics Biology
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Ecology & Systematics Biology Programs

There are 262 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in ecology, evolution and systematics biology, with 0 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Many learners are drawn to online programs due to the ease of use and flexibility. Students should be warned that those who enroll in online programs can take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to drop out.

Is an Ecology & Systematics Biology Major Worth It?

The median salary for an ecology grad is $89,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 129% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,005,000 after 20 years!

ecology, evolution and systematics biology salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Ernst Haeckel via License

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