Biology, as rightly stated, is the science of life. Derived from the Greek words: “bios”= life and “logos”= study, it is a branch of science that deals with living organisms and their vital processes. It includes many fields like botany, conservation, ecology, evolution, genetics, marine biology, medicine, microbiology, molecular biology, physiology and zoology.
After 10+2, biology offers many courses in various disciplines such as Bachelor of Medicine (MBBS), Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine (BAMS), Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS), Dental, Nursing, Pharmacy, Home Science, Veterinary Science, Physiotherapy, Bachelor in Botany, Bachelor in Zoology and many others.
We shall stick to the subjects of our concern i.e. Botany and Zoology.
Botany is the branch of biology that deals with the study of plants (algae, fungi, lichens, mosses, ferns, conifers and flowering plants), their structure, properties and biochemical processes.
One can opt for Bachelor of Science course in Botany and thereby can have many options at the higher level, including Master of Science in Botany, Master of Science in Forestry, Master of Science in Applied Botany, Master of Science in Herbal Science, etc. after which one can then pursue Ph. D. The world of Botany is a very vast field where some of the specializations available are: Cytology, Genetics, Lichenology, Palaeobotany, Forestry, Plant anatomy and morphology, Agronomy, Horticulture, Plant systematics, to name a few. This diverse field of Botany allows one to choose their specializations as per their choice, aptitude and interest.
There is huge scope in Botany and therefore, a career in it is one of the most preferred careers in India and abroad. The number of professions botanists can go into is endless. A person who works in this field is called a botanist, whose job is to study plant life and finding solutions to problems related to, for e.g. forests and agriculture. Botanists are required by different organisations ranging from research to hospitality and tourism bodies, depending upon the nature of their activities.
After completing B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph. D. in Botany, one can work as a Lecturer at a school, college or university. One can also choose to work with some big industries or companies (e.g. chemicals, seeds, biotechnology firms, fruit growers, food companies, oil industry, pharmaceutical, etc.) or being a part of good research teams both in public and government sectors. Also, as Plant taxonomists, Weed scientists, Pathologists, Plant ecologists, Plant explorer (photographer, writer, etc), Conservationist, Environment consultant, Horticulturist, Plant biochemist, Nursery farms technician, etc.
Further, Plant Biotechnology offers many job opportunities. One can work as a technician in fields like Genomics, Agricultural and food science, Environmental health & safety and many more. Moreover, plant sciences improves the yield and supply of medicines, foods, fibres, building materials and other plant products and therefore, its knowledge is essential for the development and management of forests, parks, waste lands, etc.
Now, let us see what Zoology offers us. Zoology is one of the most popular branches in Science. It is a branch of biology which deals with the animal kingdom, including their structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct, and how they interact with their ecosystems. In simple terms, it means Animal Biology.
One can opt for Zoology courses at the graduate and post graduate levels and can thereby pursue Ph.D. There are several specializations that the students pursuing this field can venture into, some of which are Animal physiology, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Conservation, Developmental biology, Genetics, Ecology, Evolution, Taxonomy, etc.
A person specializing in this field is referred to as a zoologist. They study various animals, both in their natural habitats and in captivity in zoos and aquariums. One has to carefully study the behaviour, characteristics, evolutionary trends of the different species of animals and those factors having a direct impact on them. Efforts of a zoologist are also critical in protecting vulnerable and endangered species and other wildlife from habitat loss, disease, invasive species and climate change.
Career options after pursuing a B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Zoology are varied in both public and private sectors. Job opportunities can be found in schools, colleges, universities, government departments, environmental agencies, biotechnological, pharmaceutical and many others. Channels like National Geographic, Animal Planet and Discovery are in constant need of zoologists for research and documentaries. Zoologists are also hired for zoos (Zoo keeper, Zoo curator), wildlife services (Animal behaviourists, Animal breeders, Animal trainers, Animal caretakers, Animal and Wildlife Educators, Conservationists), national parks, reserved forests, laboratories (Forensic experts, Lab technicians, Researcher), fisheries and aquaculture, museums, veterinary hospitals (Veterinarians) and many more.
In conclusion, we can say that both courses have good opportunities and great scope. Botany has different subjects to study while Zoology has an entirely different curriculum. Therefore, one can choose between them as per his/her interests (i.e. flora or fauna) and capabilities.