Major Explorations: Zoology

students work in a dissection lab

When you’re trying to decide which academic program is right for you, knowledge is power. That’s why we want to give you a deeper look into our majors, explain how you can tailor CSU academics to fit your passions and goals, and connect you to resources to ensure you’re getting what you need once you’re here.

In this installment of Major Explorations, we’re going to introduce you to the Zoology major, a popular Colorado State major that explores the life processes of animals and boasts a rigorous science-based education.

What is Zoology?

Zoology is a deep look into the behavior, structures, functions, classifications, and distribution of animals. Zoology majors study vertebrates (animals distinguished by the possession of a backbone or spinal column, such as mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish) and invertebrates (animals lacking a backbone, such as an arthropod, mollusk, insects, and more) through a scientific lens, using lots of hands-on learning like labs and field work to enhance understanding.

The Zoology major at CSU

At Colorado State, the Zoology major gives you general training in animal biology and the opportunity to take courses in the following areas: animal behavior, aquatic biology, ecology, genetics and evolution, cellular/molecular biology and physiology, systematics and morphology, and invertebrate/vertebrate organisms. Lab- and field-based classes provide ample opportunity for hands-on learning, and you will work with both live animals and dissection specimens throughout the program. One class that Zoology majors really like is Ornithology, where students learn about the unique behavior and physiology of birds, and spend time bird watching in town and the nearby foothills.

You also have the option of joining the CSU Zoology Club, where you can form study groups, share experiences, and connect with peers in other animal-focused majors.

What kinds of career options does a Zoology degree offer?

Many CSU students come to the Zoology major in the hope of continuing on to veterinary school or biological research graduate studies after their undergrad studies. However, there are many more options in the field, ranging from actual zoo work to animal research to animal sanctuary and refuge work. Here are some of the top career options that CSU Zoology students can look into:

  1. Wildlife conservationist
  2. Medical biotechnologist or research technician
  3. Exotic animal specialist
  4. Animal trainer/instructor
  5. Park ranger
  6. Humane society director
  7. Vet tech
  8. Science librarian
  9. Museum curator/educator
  10. Wildlife photographer

See yourself in the Zoology major?

Explore the Zoology major, see the classes you’ll take, and learn about your options after graduation.


Prairie Smallwood

Prairie Smallwood is a writer and content creator for the Office of Admissions at Colorado State University. She is passionate about education and exploration, and knows that going to college can be both an adventure and an overwhelming experience. She aims to create content that helps students through that journey — the wonderful, the scary, and everything in between.