This major investigates how organisms interact with their physical environment and other organisms, from an evolutionary perspective. Ecologists' work includes research and/or teaching involving population genetics and evolution, adaptive strategies for survival, the nature of populations, and community ecology. Ecologists also offer technical services in connection with environmental impact decisions and regional planning, and environmental education at various levels as teacher, naturalist, or journalist. Common career paths for undergraduate students include graduate study leading to academic positions (research and teaching in small colleges and major universities), technical positions in industry (mostly dealing with environmental assessment), and employment in state and federal environmental agencies.
Approximately 25% of biology students proceed directly to graduate school in biology or biology-related fields. About 45% go on to schools of medicine, veterinary medicine, or dentistry. Still others go directly to work in a broad variety of fields. These include research or applied science positions in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries. Some become high school teachers, go into sales, or work for governmental regulatory agencies, zoos, or parks.