If you are deciding between majoring in finance or biology, you might want to know more about what each major has to offer. This post will show you the key facts about each major and help you to decide which would be a better degree for you.
At a glance:
|Types of jobs
you can qualify for
High school teacher
|Difficulty of the
|Key things to note
It can be difficult to find
a job with just a bachelor’s
degree in biology. A
master’s degree or
PhD is often required.
Other easier majors
can be better for
The major can become
more employable if
combined with a more
It is a major that can
give good job satisfaction
once you can find a job.
Most finance jobs
require long working
hours and can be high-stress.
Can qualify for a lot
of jobs with just a bachelor’s
High potential pay at the
Source for biology pay and jobs
There are many things to consider when deciding between the two degrees. Also, there are other things to consider if you do decide to major in either of them such as what classes you should take.
Details about a biology degree
Below are some of the key details about a degree in biology.
According to Payscale, the average pay for a person with a degree in biology is $71,112. This is better than the average across all majors. However, something to consider, is that the average will be being increased considerably by people with master’s degrees and PhDs in biology.
Biology can be a somewhat general degree that is not specialized towards specific job roles. As a result, it is often necessary to combine biology with a more applied minor or to get an advanced degree after graduating, in order to make the major more employable.
In a ZipRecruiter survey, it was found that 35% of biology graduates regret choosing the major due to difficulty finding a job without an advanced degree.
With that being said, the major can be a gateway towards jobs in a number of different fields, but it will often require some extra studying to become employable in those fields.
According to Payscale, people with a degree in biology often get jobs as:
- Lab assistant
- Physician assistant
- Biomedical engineer
- Physical therapist
- High school teacher
Note that many of these jobs will require at least a master’s degree.
Something to be aware of is that many of the jobs that require advanced degrees do have strong predicted job growth (source). This is encouraging if you are set on getting an advanced degree in biology. However, something to be aware of is that if you change your mind halfway through, it could be difficult to find a job with just a bachelor’s degree in biology.
Biology is a difficult major. The biology classes themselves can be difficult and the major will usually require math, statistics, physics, and chemistry classes. Overall, you should expect to have to put a lot of time into the major. When compared with a finance degree you can expect biology to be slightly harder.
Classes you can expect to take in a biology major can include:
- Introduction to physics
- Introduction to biology
- Molecular biology
You can look here to see an example degree sequence.
Things to consider
Alternative majors can allow you to enter medical school but also have good job opportunities. In fact, because it can be difficult to get a high GPA in biology, alternative majors can actually be better for medical school because having a high GPA can help a lot.
To get the more desirable jobs, in biology, it is often necessary to get a PhD. If you do choose the major, it would help a lot to consider combining it with a more employable minor in order to improve your job prospects after graduation.
When deciding on whether or not you should major in biology, it would help to consider whether or not you are set on going to graduate school as well and the types of jobs you want. If you are set on going to graduate school and you want a job that will require a master’s or PhD then a biology major would become more worthwhile.
Details about a finance major
Below are some details about the finance major.
According to payscale, the average pay of someone with a finance degree is $71,737 and the hourly rate is $20.64 dollars.
When compared with most degrees, a finance degree usually comes out on top in terms of pay. A finance degree also has a high ceiling in terms of potential pay for senior-level positions.
Types of jobs you can qualify for
A finance degree can qualify you for a number of different types of jobs that are available to people with just a bachelor’s degree. This is not something that can be said for many other degrees where a master’s degree is often required to be competitive in the job market.
With that being said, some jobs, such as investment banking, will be very hard to get into if you do not have a degree from an ivy league university or an ivy league equivalent university.
Jobs that you can qualify for with a finance degree can include:
- Financial analyst
- Data analyst
- Investment analyst
- Financial advisor
- Credit analyst
- Budget analyst
Something to consider about the jobs you will qualify for is that they are often reported as being stressful jobs. This is likely to be due to high working hours, high levels of competition, some of them being commission-based and the fact that you will be dealing with other people’s money.
With that being said, the major does have a below-average unemployment rate, so you should not have too much difficulty finding a job, there is good pay and finance jobs are expected to grow by more than the average across all jobs.
Difficulty of the major
A finance undergraduate degree can have some moderately difficult classes. However, there will not be many math-heavy classes. With that being the case, a degree in finance will usually be less difficult than a biology degree which will involve more math-heavy classes.
Classes you can expect to take in the major can include:
- Micro and macro economics
- Personal finance concepts
- Project management
- Fundamentals of marketing
- Principles of business
- Corporate finance
- Managerial accounting
- Other upper-level finance courses as available
Things to consider
If you choose to get a degree in finance, it would help a lot to consider what types of finance jobs you are most interested in so that you can optimize your classes accordingly.
Many people that are able to get a high paying job immediately after graduating with a finance degree, usually will have completed internships during the summer breaks. So, it would help a lot to try to get one or two internships completed while you are in the major during the summers.
It could also help to get a minor in a field that is related to the types of jobs that you are interested in. Often, finance majors find themselves in roles that involve a lot of accounting, so getting a minor in accounting could be very useful.
Reasons to choose a finance major
A finance degree can give good job prospects and there is a large number of jobs available in finance. When compared with a biology degree, you can expect to have better job prospects with a finance degree at the bachelor’s degree level.
If you enjoy competitive environments, a finance degree could suit you well. Also, finance does have very high potential pay in the long run since senior-level positions can pay very well. However, finance jobs can require long working hours and can be highly stressful.
Reasons to choose biology
While it can be difficult to find jobs with just a bachelor’s degree in biology, there are still some reasons why you might want to get a biology degree.
The first reason is if you want to get a job that requires a master’s or doctoral degree in biology. If you do, then a bachelor’s degree in biology would be more worthwhile.
Also, if you have a very strong interest in the subject, it would also make it more worthwhile for you to major in biology. However, it would also help to minor in something that is employable at the bachelor’s degree level.