Areas of Study in the Life Sciences

Student researching life science careers in the library.The life sciences (encompassing the field of health science) are focused on the study of all aspects of living systems, from the so-called molecules of life (such as proteins or DNA) to the dynamic behavior of whole environmental systems. If life is the subject, then we could say that each and every field within this domain is part of what we call biology, literally (from the Greek roots) “an account of life.” The fields that make up the life sciences domain are usually the educational foundation for those who want to head to graduate or professional study in medicine, movement science, rehabilitation science, public health, or mental health.

There are a variety of approaches that you can take in studying living systems. For instance, molecular and cell biology, plant biology, and neuroscience are all concerned with understanding how living systems work and develop. Conservation biology as well as ecology and evolution are concerned with the origin, perpetuation, and maintenance of biological systems. These two approaches are largely research-oriented, geared towards experimental and observational investigation and construction of explanatory theories.

On the other hand, some life sciences are interested in understanding not only how living systems operate but also how these systems can be healed when things go wrong — or even enhanced when there is a need. Some of these fields are geared directly towards health as in exercise science, nursing and communicative science. These areas aim at applying the knowledge gained in research to enhance people’s lives through health maintenance, healing, and rehabilitation. Other fields, like agricultural science, focus on applying basic knowledge to maintaining and enhancing systems we rely on to survive, such as farms and ranches. In both of these areas, the approach to life is also applied, building on underlying research and practical experience.

For those who like research and investigation, the research-oriented fields may be more suitable. For those who like to get their hands dirty, the applied fields may be what makes you happy. In either case, if you have an interest in living things, whether in understanding their workings or applying knowledge to help others, then you might want to pursue studies in one of the following fields:

For Prospective Exercise Science Students and Graduates

For All Students and Graduates Researching Health-Related Careers