What does a Biology Professor do?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 26 February 2020
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A biology professor teaches biology courses to students who are in college or graduate school. A person in this field has typically completed many years of training and acquired extensive knowledge of biology. As such, he is typically qualified to teach not only individuals who are just beginning to pursue an undergraduate biology degree or complete course requirements for another major, but also those who are seeking credits in advanced biology.

Many people think a biology professor’s job is only to teach biology. It can be much more complex than that, however. For example, he may teach not only basic biology courses, but also in-depth courses in such subjects as microbiology, cell biology, genetics, animal behavior, or cancer biology. A person in this field may also spend a good deal of time creating lesson plans for each of his courses, preparing lecture materials, planning class assignments, and organizing lab work. He also typically spends time creating tests and quizzes for his students.

A biology professor typically spends a significant amount of time grading students enrolled in each of his courses. He may grade students on classroom participation, test and quiz answers, homework assignments, and lab and demonstration work. In some cases, however, a biology professor may seek the help of graduate students in grading his undergraduate students.


Biology professors typically spend part of their time interacting with students outside the classroom. They answer questions about assignments and grading, for example, and provide more detailed information for students who are having trouble with a topic or are interested in learning more. They may also provide extra-credit opportunities for motivated or struggling students.

Often, a biology professor spends at least some of his time on research related to his field. He may also write biology textbooks in any of his areas of expertise. Some biology professors strive to get published in various journals and scientific publications as well. In addition to teaching, researching, and writing, a biology professor may be called on to serve as a department head or to help run the biology department. He may also participate in on-campus activities important to the biology department.

An individual who wants to become a biology professor usually spends a great deal of time pursuing his own education in preparation for this career. Most colleges and universities require full-time, tenured biology professors to hold doctoral degrees. Some community colleges may allow professors to teach with master’s degrees, however.


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