If you are pursuing a degree in zoology, you're probably driven by a genuine passion for science and a love of animals. Preparing for a career as a zoologist can take years of school – and most biological scientists don't get into their field for the money.
If you're headed for a career in the life sciences and looking for a way to lower your education costs, you should apply for these scholarships.
As is true with any academic majors or programs of study, students should always research the scholarship and research programs available directly from their school. Many colleges and universities offer dedicated scholarships for graduate and undergraduate zoology and biology majors.
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Weber State University in Utah offers three different memorial scholarships for zoology and biology majors. These scholarships were established as a way to memorialize professors at the university who were passionate about the life sciences and to recognize the importance of financial support in encouraging young people to pursue their studies.
Elsewhere, the University of Oklahoma offers the M. Blanche Adams and M. Frances Adams Scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students studying biology or zoology. Multiple awards ranging from $600 to $2,500 are granted for tuition and research.
The Udall Scholarship is available for students pursuing careers related to environmental preservation. This includes two categories of awards reserved for Native American and Alaska Native students.
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program is open to scientists, including zoologists, who are in their sophomore or junior year of college and helps pay for tuition and fees.
[Find information on STEM scholarships for science students.]
Research is often an integral part of a zoology degree program. In addition to the college scholarships above, the research grants are also available to help fund zoological research projects.
The American Museum of Natural History offers Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Grants to support research on North American fauna, wildlife conservation and natural history. The museum also offers the Lerner Gray Fund for Marine Research. More information can be found on their graduate school website.
The Smithsonian Institution offers stipends to support students participating in its fellowship programs.
These programs are available at major research hubs, including the National Zoological Park, where there is a collection of more than 380 species; the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, which is the world's leading research center on environmental studies of the coastal zone; and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, where you can study alongside young scientists in diverse fields related to tropical biology.
Zoology majors who are focusing their studies on ornithology are in luck. There are plenty of scholarships available to fund research in this highly appreciated field.
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The Wilson Ornithological Society offers several research grants to students with a focus on ornithological research. One of them, the George A. Hall/Harold F. Mayfield Award, grants $1,000 to an independent researcher and is even open to high school students. The American Museum of Natural History also awards grants for ornithological research.
Last but not least, you can let your research take you abroad with scholarships to study internationally, like the International Ph.D. Fellowships at Zoological Station Anton Dohrn of Naples, Italy or through the range of zoology research scholarships offered for study at the University of Tasmania in Australia.
If you do what you love, maybe money will follow – but it can sure be helpful to save that money from the beginning. There is plenty of funding out there for zoology students if you know where to look, so use this information as a jumping-off point to find funding for your tuition, fees and research expenses.
Angela Frisk holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities and is a former scholarship recipient. She joined Scholarship America in 2012.