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Ecology & Systematics Biology Major

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Ecology & Systematics Biology

2,138 Master's Degrees Annually
801 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#67 in Popularity (Master's)
$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
Master’s Degree 2,138
Doctor’s Degree 801
Graduate Certificate 159

What Ecology & Systematics Biology Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to ecology and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were 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:

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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

When studying ecology, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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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

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a ecology student include the following:

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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?

Below is a list of occupations associated with ecology:

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 Master’s Degree in Ecology & Systematics Biology?

2,138 Master's Degrees Annually
69% Percent Women
28% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
The major attracts more women than men. About 69% 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 Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 227
Black or African American 111
Hispanic or Latino 194
White 1,058
International Students 354
Other Races/Ethnicities 194

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Ecology, too. About 16.6% 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?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that ecology, evolution and systematics biology students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $53,500 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $44,900 (25th percentile) and $56,150 (75th percentile).

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Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a ecology degree.

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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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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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 2018-2019, 349 schools offered a ecology program of some type. 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

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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