Featured Image

The Many Branches of Ecology Majors

"Ecology" as a general major is just the beginning. A little bit of digging reveals tons of education and career possibilities.

Imagine an anthill. You only see the entrance, one little ant door. But you know underneath is a huge network of tunnels . . . probably lots of little ant condos. That’s kind of what it’s like with ecology. You start with ecology as a “general” major, but a little bit of digging reveals tons of education and career possibilities. Just like these:

In some colleges and universities, ecology is considered a concentration of another major, like biology. Other schools might have ecology as a standalone major, or there may be several different majors that have to do with ecology. But however you get into the study of ecology, the options are vast and varied!

Ecology + biology

Combining the study of ecology with various aspects of biology is a very common move. You might see ecology along with evolutionary biology, biochemistry, biophysics, or molecular biology. Ecology may also be studied with biomedical sciences, which include studying animal behavior (ethology), how humans interact with the animals and plants around them (ethnobiology), or the effect of low temperatures on various organisms (chronobiology). If you also enjoy mathematics, biomathematics or bioinformatics, which cover the mathematics required for biology, might tie into your ecology studies. Another major related to both biology and ecology is biotechnology, which centers on using information from various fields to improve biological products.

Ecology + environmental science

Not so surprisingly, there are also many majors related to both ecology and environmental science. An environmental science major in itself may require you to study a certain amount of ecology. Or ecology could be combined with a major like environmental science and ecosystem sciences to study the impact humans have on various ecosystems. A major in environmental and resource economics—the study of the management of key resources that allow both humans and ecosystems to survive—requires some knowledge of ecology as well.

Related: Environmental Science Majors and Potential Jobs

Ecology + agriculture

The study of ecology could also be combined with several topics within the study of agriculture, from the growing of fruits, veggies, and grains to raising domestic animals. Livestock husbandry is the study of how to breed, process, and care for livestock, and because of the involvement with animals it could require some knowledge of ecology. Aquaculture is similar to livestock husbandry but for marine animals, so it requires knowledge of marine ecology.

If you prefer working with plants to animals, you could study crop production to learn how to best grow specific crops. Some schools also have majors in agricultural production, which studies the more general process of crop production and could easily be combined with the study of ecology. If you’re a wine snob (or aspiring wine snob, since you might have to decide before you’re 21!), you could consider viticulture and enology, which is the study grape production for wine.

Ecology + the outdoors

To use ecology to study plants outside an agricultural context, you could pursue forestry or botany. Or to work with animals outside an agricultural setting, consider wildlife ecology directed studies, which entails the study and implementation of conservation strategies for endangered species and their habitat. Other options include zoology, the general study of animals, or (pre-)veterinary medicine.

Ecology + lab work

Finally, if you enjoy getting to the nitty gritty foundations of science in the lab, there are a number of ways to use ecology on a microscopic level. Cell biology, microbiological sciences and immunology, and neurobiology are just a few ways you could work with different aspects of microogranisms and ecology. Another way to do this would be through the study of genetics. If you are interested in tiny infectious microbes and ecology, you could study pharmacology and toxicology to help develop new drugs to combat diseases. There’s also physiology to learn about one human body part in depth or pathology sciences to study disease and how it works directly.

To learn more about these many different facets of ecology, take a look at look at this handy guide from My Majors.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Yuhlani Patterson

Yuhlani Patterson

High School Student

CollegeXpress has helped me find so many scholarships that fit me. They match me to colleges I have specific interest in to make searching for colleges way easier and more efficient. CollegeXpress refers me to schools that have my major of interest and backup schools if I want to change my mind. CollegeXpress also gives out their own scholarships, so you have even more of a chance at gaining multiple scholarships. This website has helped me de-stress from the pressure of not being able to afford college, [of finding] what schools are right for me, and how to find easy access to scholarships that most people never knew existed.

Ana Sophia Garcia-Cubas Assemat

Ana Sophia Garcia-Cubas Assemat

$10,000 Scholarship Winner, 2020

CollegeXpress has been an instrumental resource for my scholarship search and has given me the opportunity to try my best so I can graduate from college debt-free.

Rhiannon Teeter

Rhiannon Teeter

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2012

I have spent a lot of time aggressively searching for scholarships. It was a long and frustrating process until I found the CollegeXpress network. This site made my search so much easier. With the simple check of a few boxes, the site sorted out scholarships I was eligible for and led me directly to the correct websites. Winning this scholarship has definitely given me and my family some financial relief, and CollegeXpress has allowed me to improve my chances of winning further financial aid. Thank you so much!



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me greatly during my college search. I used their college search feature often and it helped in comparing schools I was looking at. Now that I’ve found a college the scholarship search feature is helping me find a way to find my college experience. CollegeXpress has many helpful features and resources for anyones college search, it truly is a wonderful tool for anyone entering college level!



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress is a multi-maneuver platform that has been helping students in their college applications and scholarship hunt process. For me, CollegeXpress has been a boon. I've been able to find my dream university via CX, and I've also been able to apply to thousands of scholarships through it. All the thanks to CollegeXpress for doing such a great job for free. I express my sincere gratitude to you for doing such a wonderful job. I recommend CollegeXpress without any reservations.

College Matches