If you've been exploring different career options in natural science, animal biology or related subjects, you may have asked yourself, what is zoology? Zoology is the study of animals, species and their behaviors. It is actually a branch of biological science that focuses entirely on the study of animals. Students enrolled in zoology degree programs typically take a variety of classes that include studying the structure of different organisms, subcellular units of life, genetics and the significance of the behavior of animals. It is both a descriptive and analytical science, and you will need to complete a doctoral degree if you want to pursue a career in research or teach after your college education.

What is Zoology?

Workers in the zoology field have a strong working knowledge of dozens of different species, but may also choose to specialize in a particular type of animal or species. If you look at a zoology description in a college handbook or on job boards, you'll find that the nature of the work is less on the treatment of medical diseases or problems, and more on just studying the nature of animals and species itself. Zoologists are ultimately biological scientists and researchers, and often make significant contributions in the field of research throughout their careers.

If you've wondered, what is zoology, here are some highlights and characteristics of the field:

  • Zoology is a major division of biology and fairly broad
  • Includes the study of animal life including animal's internal functions and cells
  • Study in this field typically requires performing a variety of experiments with animals, in both lab and non-lab environments
  • May include breeding, raising animals in controlled conditions, and testing the effects of different types of drugs on different types of species
  • Zoologists may use computerized information to test scientific methods
  • May include the study of just one group of animals
  • Specializations include animal taxonomy, animal physiology and embryology

Zoology Description

The general zoology description is defined as a branch of biology that focuses entirely on the study of animals. The field of zoology dates back to the Ancient Greeks when zoologists made attempts to classify different types of animals based on certain criteria. Modern-day zoology is based on the works of Charles Darwin and other scientists who developed theories after using a microscope and other scientific instruments to draw more accurate conclusions. The field of zoology and the standard zoology description continues to evolve and become more complex over time.

If you are interested in declaring a zoology major during college, you will need to enroll in a Bachelor of Science program with a concentration in biology, natural science, chemistry, cell biology and microbiology. You will then need to complete graduate studies where you can declare a zoology major, and/or take a number of courses in a specialized field. It won't be until your doctoral level work that you can start doing more in-depth research products and fulfill many of the requirements listed on a zoology description for a job or career in the field. Keep in mind that your career prospects will be better when you do decide to specialize in a certain field.