• DACA/Undocumented
  • First Generation, Low Income
  • International Students
  • Students of Color
  • Students with disabilities
  • Undergraduate Students
  • Master’s Students
  • PhD Students
  • Faculty/Staff
  • Family/Supporters
  • Career Fairs
  • Post Jobs, Internships, Fellowships
  • Build your Brand at MIT
  • Recruiting Guidelines and Resources
  • Connect with Us
  • Career Advising
  • Distinguished Fellowships
  • Employer Relations
  • Graduate Student Professional Development
  • Prehealth Advising
  • Student Leadership Opportunities
  • Academia & Education
  • Architecture, Planning, & Design
  • Arts, Communications, & Media
  • Business, Finance, & Fintech
  • Computing & Computer Technology
  • Data Science
  • Energy, Environment, & Sustainability
  • Life Sciences, Biotech, & Pharma
  • Manufacturing & Transportation
  • Health & Medical Professions
  • Social Impact, Policy, & Law
  • Getting Started & Handshake 101
  • Exploring careers
  • Networking & Informational Interviews
  • Connecting with employers
  • Resumes, cover letters, portfolios, & CVs
  • Finding a Job or Internship
  • Post-Graduate and Summer Outcomes
  • Professional Development Competencies
  • Preparing for Graduate & Professional Schools
  • Preparing for Medical / Health Profession Schools
  • Interviewing
  • New jobs & career transitions
  • Career Prep and Development Programs
  • Employer Events
  • Outside Events for Career and Professional Development
  • Events Calendar
  • Career Services Workshop Requests
  • Early Career Advisory Board
  • Peer Career Advisors
  • Student Staff
  • Mission, Vision, Values and Diversity Commitments
  • News and Reports

10 Great Jobs for People With Biology Degrees—Because You Don’t Have to Be a Biologist

  • Share This: Share 10 Great Jobs for People With Biology Degrees—Because You Don’t Have to Be a Biologist on Facebook Share 10 Great Jobs for People With Biology Degrees—Because You Don’t Have to Be a Biologist on LinkedIn Share 10 Great Jobs for People With Biology Degrees—Because You Don’t Have to Be a Biologist on X

biology phd jobs reddit

10 Great Jobs for People With Biology Degrees—Because You Don’t Have to Be a Biologist was originally published on The Muse , a great place to research companies and careers. Click here to search for great jobs and companies near you.

If you have a biology degree—or you’re about to get one—you may feel like there are only a few jobs that you’re suited for, and almost all of them require further schooling. But as a biology major, you’re qualified for a number of jobs both inside and outside of a lab or a hospital—even if you don’t want to attend professional or graduate school.

When you think of yourself strictly as a biologist, you might be unnecessarily limiting what careers you can have, says Josh Henkin, PhD, founder of STEM Career Services . Apart from scientific knowledge and background, “students in the biological sciences have unique skills that make them great employees in any work setting,” says Kasey Johnson, Employer Engagement Coordinator for Career Services at the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences.

In addition to the traditional lecture classes most majors require, biology majors must take a number of laboratory-based classes. They have experience researching and forming plans, following protocols, troubleshooting problems, working with groups, and analyzing the results of their work in order to successfully perform experiments. This translates into a number of transferable skills , or skills that are valuable across a number of workplaces and employment scenarios, including:

  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Adaptability
  • Developing, testing, and iterating on a hypothesis
  • Literature review
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Laboratory research and safety techniques
  • Understanding and communicating complex scientific and medical topics

What jobs are biology majors qualified for with these skills? Here are 10—and many don’t require any graduate school to land an entry-level role.

Average research associate salary : $53,790

Research associates—also called lab technicians, research assistants, and clinical technicians, among many other titles—conduct tests and experiments in a laboratory setting, often as assistants to research scientists. They can work in academic labs at universities and in medical labs in hospitals, clinics, or other testing facilities. Or they might work for research and pharmaceutical companies; biological, chemical, and food manufacturers; or any other organization that has a laboratory.

Biology majors are well suited for these jobs because of the laboratory experience required by your coursework and the knowledge of research techniques and data analysis skills you gained as a result. You’ll also use your problem solving abilities and communication skills to navigate work within a lab since you’re typically working as part of a team and often trying to find new solutions or troubleshoot problems.

Research associates might choose to go back to school and get a PhD or master’s degree so that they can conduct their own research or hold a higher position within a lab, or they might become a lab manager who coordinates the work, maintains supplies and equipment, and sets procedures within a research laboratory.

Find research associate or lab technician jobs on The Muse

Average quality control inspector salary : $54,204 Average quality control analyst salary : $55,336

Quality control inspectors and analysts monitor the manufacturing of products and make sure that procedures and safety regulations are being followed. Biology majors are especially qualified to do this work at companies producing drugs, vaccines, or any other product where the manufacturing process involves chemicals or requires an aseptic environment. Quality control professionals might also be in charge of monitoring and maintaining the equipment needed for the manufacturing or testing processes.

As a bio major, you’re well versed in basic laboratory procedures and “understand the importance of reviewing the regulations which govern the industry,” says DeNea R. Conner, founder of Advice Tank and a former biology major who has worked in operations, quality control, and management for several leading pharmaceutical corporations and who has hired biology majors for a number of positions. While some quality control jobs only require a high school diploma, those that deal with biology or chemistry usually call for a biology, chemistry, or similar degree.

Find quality control inspector or quality control analyst jobs on The Muse

Average manufacturing technician salary : $49,616

In addition to monitoring the production of biological and chemical products such as medications, vaccines, and food components, biology majors are also especially suited to manufacturing them. Biological and chemical items—especially those that go into the human body—often need to be produced in a laboratory and/or a sterile setting, a type of process biology majors are familiar with from their lab classes. Putting together these products—or a chemical component of one—typically involves following laboratory protocols and using a number of experimental techniques biology majors likely learned to do in school.

A biology major can also prepare you to work in the assembly of other products, including cars, tech gadgets, or almost any item you can think of. Right now, manufacturing jobs are some of the hardest jobs for companies to fill, Henkin says. The field is becoming more and more technical, and many assembly workers don’t have the required training, but biology majors do. There are also a number of other jobs in the pharmaceutical and biologic manufacturing industry that you’re suited for as a bio major, such as supply chain management and logistics.

Find manufacturing technician jobs on The Muse

Average medical writer salary : $72,850

Medical and science writers write about healthcare and other scientific topics in advertisements, training manuals, informational pamphlets, articles, and more. They could be writing for a number of audiences, such as doctors and pharmacists, marketers and advertisers, salespeople, manufacturers, or the general public.

For example, as a medical writer, you might write instructions for a piece of laboratory equipment for those who will be using it or a description of the effects of a new drug for a pamphlet for patients. You might work for a pharmaceutical company, a healthcare provider, or a nonprofit organization looking to educate people about a health or science topic. Or you might report and write about health and science for a newspaper, magazine, or another publication (online or in print).

Science and medical writers need to understand complex concepts and communicate them clearly to their intended audience, making this a great job for a bio major with some writing chops.

Find medical writer or science writer jobs on The Muse

Average salary for policy analysts : $59,733

Science and health policy analysts research, analyze, and evaluate outcomes of possible or existing laws or government programs related to health, medicine, the environment, or any other scientific issue, such as a new environmental regulation or a proposed Medicaid expansion. As a policy analyst, you can work for a nonprofit; a science society or other membership-driven organization; the federal, state, or local government; or any organization involved in lobbying. If you’re interested in federal policy, most jobs are in Washington, DC and the surrounding areas.

You may be able to find an entry-level policy position with just a bachelor’s degree in biology (and the federal government and many state and city governments have special programs and fellowships to allow you to do just that), but to move up in your career you might need further schooling.

Find policy analyst jobs on The Muse

Average salary for marketing coordinators : $45,028

Marketing coordinators create or assist in the creation of marketing campaigns. They also conduct market research and analyze results of different marketing initiatives.

Biology majors have the research and analysis skills needed for these positions, but they also have the background knowledge needed to work in marketing specifically in the science, health, and biotechnology spaces. You can work for a marketing agency or for a company that does its own marketing such as a nonprofit, pharmaceutical company, biotech company, telehealth organization, or a health tech startup.

As a biology major, you already “speak their language,” Henkin says. And if you have strong communication skills, you’ll be able to break down complex science topics in a way that makes the company’s products marketable and easy to understand.

Find marketing coordinator jobs on The Muse

Approximate average salary for public health program managers : $67,000 (based on salary info for this similar role, according to a public health careers expert )

Public health program managers design, implement, coordinate, oversee, and evaluate health programs that may seek to increase public awareness of a health topic, provide access to social and community services, or strengthen the overall health of the public. You might work for a government agency, hospital, university, nonprofit, or other NGO (non-governmental organization) to implement programs locally, or if you’d like to help people around the world, you can work for an international health or international development organization.

Program managers need to have good analytical, interpersonal, and organizational skills as well as background knowledge in the subject their programs cover, making this a good fit for biology majors. You might be able to find entry-level program management positions with just a bachelor’s degree in biology, but many entry- or higher-level jobs will require a master’s degree in public health, biology, or similar.

Find public health program manager jobs on The Muse

Average salary for medical device sales representatives : $58,591 Average salary for pharmaceutical sales representatives : $85,394

Pharmaceutical and medical device sales representatives go into doctors’ offices, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities to sell their products to medical professionals.

Biology majors are especially suited to these sales professions because “they understand the science behind the product being sold,” Conner says, which helps them make a stronger case for what they’re selling—for example, a new medication or a type of MRI machine—and ensures that the information they’re sharing with medical professionals is accurate.

If you’re a biology major who wants a job where you get to interact with a lot of people, this is a great choice. Plus, pharmaceutical and medical device sales are two of the highest-paying sales jobs , partially due to the potential to earn commissions and bonuses .

Find pharmaceutical sales and medical device sales jobs on The Muse

Average salary for research scientists : $81,378

Research scientists review past and current research, formulate and test hypotheses, conduct tests and experiments, and analyze and present their findings. Research scientists are responsible for everything from developing new medications and vaccines to combating climate change to tracking and preserving endangered species to creating new technologies. Most research scientists—including biologists, chemists, and pharmacologists—work in a laboratory setting, but for some specialities, such as wildlife biology, ecology, or atmospheric chemistry, large amounts of research happen “in the field.”

Biology majors are especially suited for these careers by design—their classes provide the background knowledge and their lab work teaches them the techniques and procedures they’ll use and build on throughout their careers. However, to become a research scientist, biology majors need to obtain a master’s degree (approximately two years) and a PhD (approximately four to six years) or just a PhD in their chosen area of specialization—for example, neurobiology, instrumental chemistry, biochemistry, or computational biology. To work for a university, post-doctorate programs are usually required and can last from one to five years. Research scientists can also work for private research companies (known as “in industry); for the government; or for museums, zoos, and other educational facilities.

Find research scientist jobs on The Muse

Average salary for doctors in general practice : $154,220 (general practice is just one example; salaries are highly variable based on specialty)

It should come as no surprise that medicine is a top career choice for biology majors. Doctors diagnose and treat patients, perform tests and medical procedures, and stay on top of the latest research in their fields. Depending on their specialties, doctors might also perform surgery, administer anesthesiology and other drugs, or read and interpret scans and test results, among many other responsibilities. Doctors often work long hours, and the job can be extremely stressful.

A biology major provides the background knowledge and most or all of the prerequisite courses needed to take the MCAT and attend medical school. After four years of medical school, doctors must also complete a residency in their desired specialty, which can last from three to seven years, and some choose to do an additional fellowship after residency to further specialize. If you’d like to do clinical research as a medical doctor, you may have to also obtain a PhD or attend a specific MD/PhD program.

Find doctor jobs on The Muse

If none of the jobs on this list speak to you as a biology major, keep in mind that this is just a small sampling and by no means everything you’re qualified for. “We see biology majors graduating and going on to great careers in many different fields,” Johnson says. In addition to these jobs, students also go on to work in “scientific education (at an environmental learning center or science museum), park services, healthcare, forestry, biotechnology, genetic counseling, and more.” You might also choose to attend a professional school to become a physical or occupational therapist, a dentist, or a pharmacist. But really, whatever interests you, Johnson says, you’ll be able to learn the new skills you need on the job or through training because bio majors are adaptable, critical thinkers.

Receive job alerts that match your preferences.

85 PhD jobs in Biology

Find PhD jobs in Biology here. To have new jobs sent to you the day they're posted, sign up for job alerts.

  • PhD positions in Molecular Biology (33)
  • PhD positions in Cell Biology (28)
  • PhD positions in Bioinformatics (22)
  • PhD positions in Computational Biology (22)
  • PhD positions in Genetics (21)

Other main fields

  • PhD positions in Engineering (224)
  • PhD positions in Computer Science (153)
  • PhD positions in Physics (141)
  • PhD positions in Chemistry (100)
  • PhD positions in Mathematics (81)

Search results (85)


Biozentrum PhD Fellowships – Summer Call 2024

The Biozentrum of the University of Basel is one of the leading life sciences institutes in the world. Its fundamental research embraces a wide range of topics such as biochemistry, biophysics, phy...


PhD student causal artificial intelligence

BackgroundThe Data Science Institute (est. 2019) brings together over 150 researchers working in the broad field of data science across faculties and research groups at Hasselt University. DSI's ma...


Metal-Complexing Peptides-based Hydrogels for Preventing and Treating Oxidation

KEYWORDSHydrolysate, Peptide, Metal Complexation, Bacteria siderophore, HydrogelSUBJECT DETAILSThe PLASTER project aims to biosynthesize metal-complexing peptides-based hydrogels for preventing and treating oxidation and will be a fruitful collabo...


Fully Funded PhD Positions

The International Max Planck Research School on Cellular Biophysics (IMPRS-CBP) invites excellent graduate students in life sciences to apply forFully Funded PhD PositionsThe IMPRS-CBP is an international doctoral training program hosted by the Ma...


Upcoming fully funded PhD Positions in Neurosciences and Translational Psychiatry research, including a residency/PhD track option for medical doctors

There are no tuition fees for this PhD program.We welcome applications through our online application portal starting on August 15, 2023 for a start in fall 2024. The application deadline will be on October 31, 2023. The International Max Planck R...


Upcoming PhD Positions at the International Max Planck Research School for Molecules of Life in Autumn 2023

More information for the new call-out will come up during Autumn 2023. Stay tuned!The International Max Planck Research School for Molecules of Life (IMPRS-ML) will have an open call for fully-funded PhD student positions in the areas of biochemis...


Upcoming PhD positions at the CGA

Call for applications for up to 12 PhD positions at the Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research opens soon! The Cologne Graduate School of Ageing Research (CGA) in Germany is a joint venture of the University of Cologne Excellence Cluster on St...


Doctoral (PhD) student position in DNA-based digital data storage

Do you want to contribute to top quality medical research? To be a doctoral student means to devote oneself to a research project under supervision of experienced researchers and following an indiv...


International Fully Funded PhD Positions in the Life Sciences in Switzerland

*New application deadlines for two open calls per year: November 1 and May 1!Life Science Zurich Graduate School offers more than 100 funded PhD positions. With around 500 research groups and more than 1600 Ph.D. students, the Life Science Zurich ...

Doctoral thesis (M/F) - Elucidation of the electrochemical activity of biochar in bioprocesses

General informationTo apply: http://doctorat.univ-lorraine.fr/fr/les-ecoles-doctorales/c2mp/offres-de-these/lue-decryptage-de-lactivite-electrochimique-du-biocharPlace of work: LCPME and LRGP at Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France. Collaboration...

PhD student position in Blood Cancer Research

The Department of Biomedicine (DBM) is a joint effort between the University of Basel and the University Hospitals Basel. It unites basic and clinical scientists to advance our understanding of hea...


PhD student in vascular cell biology/immunology

Vacancy number 14718Job type PhD positionsHours (in fte) 1,0External/ internal ExternalLocation LeidenPlaced on 2 April 2024Closing date 21 April 2024 18 more days to applyThe Faculty of Science and the Institute for Biology Leiden are looking for...

PhD candidate - biodiversity & society: the Dutch home as a multispecies space

Vacancy number 14709Job type PhD positionsHours (in fte) 1,0External/ internal ExternalLocation LeidenPlaced on 2 April 2024Closing date 16 May 2024 43 more days to applyThe Faculty of Science is looking for a:PhD candidate - biodiversity & societ...


PhD Positions in Cancer Research

Are you looking for excellent research opportunities for your PhD studies at the forefront of cancer research? The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg invites international students holding a Master’s degree in (molecular) biology, ...


Doctoral education pilot / Six (6) Doctoral Researchers in PREIN

We are seeking to recruit six (6) Doctoral Researchers for a fixed term of three years to the PREIN Doctoral education pilot at the Faculty of Mathematics and Science. The positions are filled to o...


The role of calcium in trophoblast differentiation

Our laboratory is a young and vibrant research group embedded in the Department of Development and Regeneration, focusing on calcium signalling during reproduction, and more specifically placental ...


PhD position on Development of a BioArtificial Kidney device consisting of living membranes for improved kidney replacement therapy.

Job descriptionThe department of Advanced Organ bioengineering and Therapeutics AOT of the Faculty of Science and Technology (TNW), has an opening of a 4-year PhD position on the “Development of a ...


PhD position: "Applying novel particle and zooplankton imaging technologies to support the development of sustainable Blue Energy "

We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD candidate (4 years) within the Blue Energy project to apply novel imaging technologies for the monitoring of zooplankton to minimize environmental impacts on ...


PhD Student (f/m/d) stem cell and organoid models for pediatric cancer research

Are you interested in deciphering the developmental origins of childhood cancers?Do you already have experience in genetic engineering / cell culture and want to complement your skills with bioinformatics? Then this position is ideal for you!The H...

Towards an innovative strategy to bioprint a tooth

The succesful candidate will conduct PhD research under the supervision of Prof. Heidi Declercq (KU Leuven) and Prof. Annelies Bronckaers (UHasselt). You will play an active role in the research te...

Jobs by field

  • Machine Learning 176
  • Electrical Engineering 165
  • Artificial Intelligence 160
  • Programming Languages 129
  • Molecular Biology 107
  • Engineering Physics 96
  • Electronics 91
  • Materials Chemistry 89
  • Algorithms 89
  • Cell Biology 87

Jobs by type

  • Postdoc 301
  • Assistant / Associate Professor 187
  • Professor 114
  • Research assistant 96
  • Researcher 93
  • Lecturer / Senior Lecturer 85
  • Tenure Track 66
  • Engineer 57
  • Management / Leadership 51

Jobs by country

  • Belgium 254
  • Netherlands 164
  • Switzerland 110
  • Luxembourg 56

Jobs by employer

  • Mohammed VI Polytechnic Unive... 91
  • KU Leuven 81
  • Ghent University 67
  • Eindhoven University of Techn... 57
  • ETH Zürich 55
  • University of Luxembourg 54
  • University of Twente 44
  • KTH Royal Institute of Techno... 44
  • Wenzhou-Kean University 35

This website uses cookies

biology phd jobs reddit

Jobs You Can Do With a Science Ph.D., Beyond Academia

Policy analyst and museum educator are among jobs outside higher education for people with a Ph.D. in a science field.

Science Ph.D. Jobs Beyond Academia

Girl standing in gallery space looking at large scale projection of planet earth on the wall behind her

Getty Images

Museum scientists may also be responsible for public outreach. Volunteering at a science museum is a good way for STEM Ph.D. recipients to explore this career path. 

While earning a Ph.D. in cellular neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Maryland, Rebecca Alvania loved the considerable amount of time she spent working in the lab with her hands to carry out experiments. But after graduating, something in her shifted.

“I did not actually want to have my own lab,” says Alvania, CEO of the American Society for Cell Biology, a Maryland-based international membership organization. “The things that I loved doing in the lab or as a scientist are not necessarily the things that meant I was going to be happy running my own lab.”

Now, she works to serve a population that reflects herself back then in many ways – doctorate of science students looking for guidance on careers outside of academia.

Academia once was the largest employer of science Ph.D. graduates, but that has changed. According to data from the U.S. National Science Foundation's NCSES Survey of Earned Doctorates , academia represented only 26% of the employment sector of research doctorate recipients in science and engineering in 2021, continuing a trend.

From industry-based jobs to career paths outside of industry and academia, experts say nonacademic careers can be just as fulfilling as working within educational institutions.

Industry-Based Careers for Scientists

Industry-based jobs can be positions within laboratories, or non-lab roles such as a business development analyst. Here are a few industry-based careers that experts say science Ph.D. recipients are also hired in.

Business Development Managers

In these careers, science Ph.D. graduates are valued for their ability to understand complex research in business, which can help in decision making, notes Kim Petrie, assistant dean for biomedical career development and associate professor of medical education and administration at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine  in Tennessee.

“Those are people that sometimes do well in their careers," Petrie says. "They can make decisions and act without all the information. Quantitative thinkers often do well in these types of roles, and scientific training often fosters that skill set.”

Key responsibilities for business development managers range from managing existing products and services to developing new ones. These positions also involve devising market strategies using scientific and analytical skills.

The average salary for a business development manager in the U.S. is nearly $71,000 a year, ranging as high as $128,500, according to ZipRecruiter . Experts say there are many opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location and years of experience.

Medical Science Liaisons

Medical science liaisons can be employed by pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and managed care companies. Part of their job is to make sure products are being used efficiently, along with acting as scientific experts who advise on advances in clinical treatments or provide input on relevant science and clinical data. 

The role is “very communication heavy, translating science and sometimes technical science for non-technical people and sort of management of clinical research or clinical research projects,” Petrie says.

According to the 2022 annual salary and compensation survey by the Medical Science Liaison Society, 82% of current MSLs in the U.S. across all company types and therapeutic areas had a doctorate degree, excluding M.D. , with 34% of total respondents having a Ph.D. The average annual salary nationwide for those with a Ph.D. was nearly $182,940.

Data Scientists

Data scientist is one of the fastest growing occupations in the science industry. The employment of data scientists is projected to grow 36% from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, much faster than the average occupation. 

“Everybody, every company and health care companies are using data science, so quite a number of our alumni have transitioned into that,” Petrie says. "Some of them have gone out pretty far from the field and are not necessarily working for scientific companies anymore, because they've been able to parlay that programming ... skill set that way.”

As data scientists , science Ph.D.s typically use their skills for gathering or identifying relevant data to make business recommendations based on their analysis. They often present their findings by using data visualizations.

“Nashville actually has a lot of health care companies, so we've had a couple of alumni transition to those organizations, working with their medical records, just doing some interesting things like looking for anything predictive, for example, in medical records that might suggest an earlier diagnosis of cancer,” Petrie says.

Careers Beyond Academia and Industry-Based Positions

Research findings that led to the Harvard University Press book “Next Gen PhD: A Guide to Career Paths in Science” – written by Melanie Sinche, assistant dean for academic affairs at the University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut – indicate that career paths for science Ph.D. graduates also exist outside of academia and industry positions. Here are some.

Science Publishing

In science communications, you must have excellent written communication skills and a strong understanding of the ethical and regulatory guidelines in the field. Science Ph.D.s develop such skills just by the nature of doctoral training and postdoctoral work , Sinche says.

“One of the key pieces for science Ph.D.s and postdocs," she says, "is to know themselves and to know their skills and to recognize that they have a concrete set of employable skills that are attractive to employers across all industries, across all sectors.”

Science publishing provides many career opportunities such as science journalist or writer, journal editor, medical writer and science illustrator.

Museum Educator

Often, scientists who work at a museum hold a science Ph.D. of some sort, according to the American Society for Cell Biology. Museum scientists may also be responsible for public outreach. Volunteering at a science museum is a good way for STEM Ph.D. recipients to explore this career path. 

“I recommend for all Ph.D.s to experiment, to develop collaborations maybe with industry partners and to go through internships and volunteer in different settings,” Sinche says. “Those activities will generate more information for them in order for them to make an informed career decision.”

Policy Analyst

In this position, science Ph.D.s observe and influence policy at the local, state and national level by working with government offices. Gaining experience through internships or fellowships, combined with the ability to learn quickly that Sinche says they’ve already developed, can help Ph.D.s prepare for a career in policymaking. 

“I think one of the most important skills that you can argue that most Ph.D.s develop over time is the ability to learn quickly, and that skill, you better believe, it's attractive to all employers,” Sinche says.

30 Fully Funded Ph.D. Programs

Two women standing in the modern library

Tags: science , STEM , colleges , graduate schools , education , students

2024 Best Colleges

biology phd jobs reddit

Search for your perfect fit with the U.S. News rankings of colleges and universities.


Ph.D. Program

The training for a Ph.D. in Biology is focused on helping students achieve their goals of being a successful research scientist and teacher, at the highest level. Students work closely with an established advisor and meet regularly with a committee of faculty members to facilitate their progress. The Biology Ph.D. program is part of the larger Biosciences community at Stanford, which includes doctorate programs in the basic science departments at Stanford Medical School. 

There are two tracks within the Biology Ph.D. program:

  • Cell, Molecular and Organismal Biology
  • Ecology and Evolution

(Previously a part of the Department of Biology Hopkins Marine Station is now a part of the Oceans Department within  Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability )

All  tracks are focused on excellence in research and teaching in their respective areas; where there are differences between the tracks, they are indicated in the links below. 

Requirements & Forms

Dissertation defense, cellular and molecular biology training program, stanford biology ph.d. preview program, career development resources.

Alternative Careers For Scientists

Resume and pen on a table to represent someone applying for alternative careers for scientists

What happens when you finally get the life sciences degree you worked so long for and then realize you really don’t want to spend the rest of your life in the lab?

Or you get tired of working long hours with few results and low pay, or you succumb to any of the other reasons that might put you off being a scientist.

You may well decide to hang up your lab coat and move into something else… and there are a lot of great options for people with a science background and postgraduate degrees that lead to rewarding and lucrative careers.

15 Alternative Careers for Scientists

In order to help you decide on an alternative career choice, we’ve compiled a list of  15 alternative careers for scientists that might be worth considering if you ever decide it’s time to leave the lab. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it might give you a few ideas.

1. Technical Services

Technical Services support involves interacting with scientists over the phone to troubleshoot problems with products or even to provide a scientific consultation on general experimental strategy and design. As this isn’t a face-to-face role, it makes for an easy transition for an introverted scientist to a more outgoing profession.

Many opportunities exist to grow your career within a company if you want to move up the corporate ladder. Just be prepared to answer the phone 30–40 times a day and, once in a while, be berated by a customer.

2. Product Manager/Marketing

Product managers are responsible for a product from launch to discontinuation. The job has many responsibilities so fits best with people who are highly organized, and can multi-task, and lead teams. The main goal of a product manager is to make money for the company.

You accomplish that goal by numerous marketing activities (advertising, attending scientific conferences, promotional giveaways, etc.), by building new products that people want, and by making sure that every product is in perfect working order when received by the customer.

The salary is generous but be prepared to work 12-hour days and be under constant pressure to increase revenues.

3. Biotech Sales Representative

Who is that person who comes to your door and tries to sell you everything from tips and tubes to kits and instruments for PCR? It’s your friendly neighborhood sales representative. Most, if not all, salespeople in biotech have worked in the lab and some even have PhDs, making it one of the most common alternative careers for scientists.

If you take a minute to talk to your biotech sales rep , you will see that their true purpose is to make sure you have everything you need (from their company!) to be a success. But your success is always paramount to their sale.

Of course, there are those who are under intense pressure to make a sale to the point where they push too hard, and some are too green in their career to understand that they are trying to sell you something you don’t use.

But, overall, they are a bright and hard-working group of people who want to excel at their job by helping you excel in the lab. The income you can make in sales can be very high but so is the pressure to meet the revenue targets assigned to you.

4. Field Application Scientist (FAS)

The FAS role is often a perfect position for academic bench scientists looking to move into industry. The FAS is called in when a customer is interested in purchasing a new product or is having trouble getting an existing one to work.

Working in the customer’s lab, the FAS will demonstrate how well a product works, troubleshoot problems with a product, or teach a lab how to use a complex instrument. The FAS may also install instruments or robotics and maintain their proper function.

The FAS travels frequently because they are assigned large territories and will sometimes need to stay at an account for up to a week. Part of their role is to build solid friendships with the labs they support while helping their company win (or keep) new accounts.

5. Business Development

Business development is a very exciting role that involves growing and shaping the scope of a company’s business approach. This can mean making technical collaborations with other companies, bringing in contract work, or licensing in or out technologies through to deciding on mergers and acquisitions.

Typically, this requires an MBA degree in addition to a science background, but working your way up through the company ranks is another route. Business development requires a strong mix of technical knowledge and marketing experience.

The person should have a good feel for the changes going on in the market and what the next hot technology or area of research might be. Your advice can have a big effect on the decisions a company makes, so expect high stress and pressure.

6. Manufacturing Quality Assurance (QA)/Quality Control (QC)

The process of taking a product from the research phase to market requires the ability to produce it on a large scale. You’ve successfully formulated the buffers and the procedure for a new kit in the lab. Now try building 500 of them and make sure they work exactly as well as the single one from the lab.

Or try scaling up protein expression and purification to make liters of enzyme and keep it soluble. Or making liters of competent cells , bearing in mind that if the efficiency falls below a set number you have to start all over again. You get the picture!

Manufacturing requires precision, perfection, and focus. Manufacturing scientists do everything from production to the QC. Depending on what the product is used for, the QC can involve complex techniques such as real-time PCR, cloning, or enzyme activity assays.

Manufacturing is not a glamorous job but it is critical to the success of a company because if manufacturing can’t keep up, it can cause huge losses in revenue and customers.

7. Technology Transfer

Technology transfer involves finding ways to commercialize technologies developed in the public sector (universities or government agencies). It is like the academic equivalent of business development and requires many of the same skills.

Tech transfer jobs can be found in the public institutions themselves, in companies that routinely commercialize technologies that originate in the public sector, or in non-profit technology transfer organizations.

8. Science Copywriting

Copywriters produce the copy (the written material) for marketing products or ideas. This is a great position for people who like to communicate science through writing. If you work for a biotech company as a copywriter, you would be helping product managers to communicate their message to the market about a product via a print ad, email blast, banner ad, webpage, or flyer.

Copywriters and product managers work together to perfect the message before the copy goes to design for layout and imagery. This position really accentuates your creative side, but be prepared to deal with stressed-out product managers.

9. Medical/Technical Writing

Another type of science writing is technical writing, which includes writing handbooks/product manuals and application notes. This requires less creativity and more of the ability to communicate exactly how something should be done. If a protocol is unclear, it is the problem of the technical writer (and the product manager).

More info on working in medical and technical writing is available here.

10. Science Journalism

Yet another type of science writing is science journalism. Science journalists produce content for newspapers, magazines, and websites (just like I’m doing now). You can work either freelance or as a staff writer , employed directly by the publication. Either way, the competition is tough. The best way in is simply to start writing and trying to get things published.

11. Scientific Illustration

If drawing, rather than writing, is your forte, then scientific illustration may be an option. Although opportunities in this field are limited, they do exist. Breaking into this field is like scientific journalism – you just have to start drawing and try to get your work noticed. Here is a great article on carving out a career in scientific illustration .

12. Recruitment/Head-hunter

Recruiters help companies to find suitable candidates for job openings and can work for independent recruitment consultancies or for a company’s in-house human resources department. This type of job requires an outgoing personality and the ability to develop a great network for candidate searches.

Having a science background will help you know when a candidate’s skills are a good match for an employer, but the competition for good candidates is high and part of the job is being a nudge. Typical recruiters call or email at least 10–15 times before they accept a “no” answer!

13. Teaching

Some people are born teachers and if this is you, high school teaching can be a great option. Aside from the joy of teaching (assuming it is a joy for you), the holidays are great and the pay can be pretty good too. The downside is working with teenage kids, which is an unenviable task if you ask me! Here is a good article on moving from the lab to the classroom.

14. Patent Examiner

Patent examiners are employed by the government to review patent applications and decide whether they should be granted. Typically this involves searching the literature and patent databases to determine if the application is innovative and meets the requirements for a patent to be granted. Get more information on the role of a patent examiner here. 

15. Patent Lawyer/Attorney

Patent lawyers operate at the other end of the patent application process, working for clients who wish to file and maintain patents or who need guidance with any aspect of patent law. This is a very well-paid career, but is also high pressure and requires both scientific and law training.

The level of training required to become a patent lawyer varies from country to country. More details about the qualifications required to become a patent lawyer can be found here.

Do you have any other alternative careers for scientists? Beverage scientist, anyone?  Did this article help you find your next career move? Leave us a comment below!

Originally published January 3, 2008. Reviewed and updated on January 14, 2021.


biology phd jobs reddit

I want to be a CEO of a multinational company. for instance, in audi or in google. Does the Ph.D degree needed to become a CEO such this company. I am looking forward to your feedback.Thank you in advance.

biology phd jobs reddit

I am doing MSc photonics am interested in technical field and marketing field I not interested in research I need make good money within Short time anyone give me a suggestions? about my carrier which one should I choose

biology phd jobs reddit

I have a PhD in microbiology, did post-doc and started working in industry for the last 2 years. One thing I realize about my self is that as much as I love science, I love and crave interaction with people even more. I am tired of working with scientist, who are introverted, lack communication skills and always have headphones on. I am trying to transition to more “support” and costumer facing roles. Anybody feel the way I do? Tired of unsocial scientists dragging your positive attitude down?

biology phd jobs reddit

Hey man, Worked with enough scientists to strongly agree with the introversion and lack of communication skills. Considered working in a big CRO or drug discovery biotech? Lot more people interaction and can still keep the love for science intact.

biology phd jobs reddit

Thanks! Great article and useful comments

Forgot your password?

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive mail with link to set new password.

Back to login


  1. 12 Jobs for Biology Majors

    biology phd jobs reddit

  2. [Infographic] Where Will a PhD in Biology Take You? A faculty job is a

    biology phd jobs reddit

  3. 12 Jobs for Biology Majors

    biology phd jobs reddit

  4. Top Biology Degree Jobs

    biology phd jobs reddit

  5. 2023 Best Online PhD in Biology Programs [Doctorate Guide]

    biology phd jobs reddit

  6. Careers in Biology: Where Your Degree Will Take You

    biology phd jobs reddit


  1. What Purpose does Spiritual Knowledge Serve?

  2. PhD admission 2024 #phdadmission #phd #phd_notification

  3. Integrative Biology PhD Defense

  4. Integrative Biology PhD Defense

  5. Pursue PhD Or Take Up A Job? What To Choose?

  6. What if No Job after PhD or Postdoc?


  1. What jobs can I get with a masters or PhD in bio? : r/biology

    Cal-King. •. You can be a high school teacher with a masters degree. No need to earn a teacher's credential as you would with only a bachelor's degree. Most biologists are employed as university professors. Most people who major in biology in college want to become doctors or nurses or vets. Reply.

  2. Careers outside of academia for biology-related PhDs? : r/PhD

    Careers outside of academia for biology-related PhDs? Hi all, I used to dream of getting a PhD in a biology-related field (ie immunology/Microbiology) and becoming a professor/doing research/etc. However since starting college I've become worried about career prospects for PhDs based on some conversations with the post-docs who work in a lab ...

  3. What the heck do you do with a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences?

    In this scheme, hopeful young Ph.D. students start their careers by taking classes and doing research under the mentorship of a professor in a particular field. Graduating from a Ph.D. program usually requires a thorough demonstration of independent thinking through the publication of academic papers related to a thesis topic and the formal ...

  4. 10 Great Jobs for People With Biology Degrees—Because You Don't Have to

    But as a biology major, you're qualified for a number of jobs both inside and outside of a lab or a hospital—even if you don't want to attend professional or graduate school. When you think of yourself strictly as a biologist, you might be unnecessarily limiting what careers you can have, says Josh Henkin, PhD, founder of STEM Career Services

  5. 9 Careers After a PhD in Biology (With Salaries)

    Here are nine careers that you can pursue after earning a Ph.D. in biology. For the most up-to-date Indeed salaries, please click on the links below: 1. Postsecondary biological sciences teacher. National average salary: $53,434 per year Primary duties: Postsecondary biological sciences teachers lecture biology students on various related ...

  6. Advice on pursuing a PhD in computational biology : r/PhD

    1 year graduate research in a systems biology lab. Sifted through papers to collect data and created tools to auto-digitize heat map data in order to generate usable data from high throughput assays. Unfortunately, I did not get to actually play around with the protein language models that were being used to predict protein interactions.

  7. 4,115 Biology phd jobs in United States

    4,115 Biology phd jobs in United States | Glassdoor. 4,115 Biology phd jobs in United States. Most relevant. University of South Alabama Health System. Postdoctoral Fellow. Mobile, AL. Easy Apply. Genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic profiling and data analysis of human cancer tissues/ cell lines.

  8. 111 PhD jobs in Biology

    Vacancy number 14709Job type PhD positionsHours (in fte) 1,0External/ internal ExternalLocation LeidenPlaced on 2 April 2024Closing date 16 May 2024 43 more days to applyThe Faculty of Science is looking for a:PhD candidate - biodiversity & societ... Published 1 week ago. Closing in: 2024-05-16. PhD.

  9. Jobs You Can Do With a Science Ph.D., Beyond Academia

    According to the 2022 annual salary and compensation survey by the Medical Science Liaison Society, 82% of current MSLs in the U.S. across all company types and therapeutic areas had a doctorate ...

  10. Oh, the places you will go with a PhD in biology!

    Not Enough Jobs? In the United States, about 12,500 students obtained a PhD degree in 2014. 2 While in the 1970s more than 50% of PhDs in biology successfully transitioned to a faculty position, this number currently is less than 15%. Just because we are graduating more PhD students each year does not mean that universities will grow their ...

  11. 12 Careers for PhD Life Scientists Outside of the Lab

    Pharma/Biotech Marketing Jobs →. 12. Business Development. Again, these positions can overlap with sales and marketing jobs, as well as medical liaison positions. Part of the job involves developing strategies for expanding business and identifying new markets and approaches to those markets.

  12. Ph.D. Program

    The training for a Ph.D. in Biology is focused on helping students achieve their goals of being a successful research scientist and teacher, at the highest level. Students work closely with an established advisor and meet regularly with a committee of faculty members to facilitate their progress. The Biology Ph.D. program is part of the larger ...

  13. Graduated with a BS in bio....what a useless degree for a job

    Jan 25, 2012. #1. graduated from a mid-tier UC campus with cGPA of 3.85 and sGPA of around 3.9 ish. research experience as a undergrad for 3 years. degree in biology... typical premed ECs (volunteering, shadowing , mission trips or what have you..) currently working part time at a non-profit org as a webmaster.

  14. New Biology PhD Jobs (Apply Today)

    4,174 Biology PhD jobs available on Indeed.com. Apply to Senior Scientist, Biologist, Microbiologist and more!

  15. Biology Jobs for Recent Graduates

    Below are 25 jobs to consider as a biology graduate. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link by each job title below: 1. Veterinary nurse. National average salary: $22,390 per year Primary duties: Veterinary nurses help veterinarians provide animals with proper medical care.

  16. Alternative Careers For Scientists

    15. Patent Lawyer/Attorney. Patent lawyers operate at the other end of the patent application process, working for clients who wish to file and maintain patents or who need guidance with any aspect of patent law. This is a very well-paid career, but is also high pressure and requires both scientific and law training.

  17. 25 Careers You Can Pursue with a Biology Degree

    Here is a list of professions you can pursue with a biology degree. 1. Biologist. Average salary: $82,530. A biologist is a scientist who applies everything they have learned in order to study living organisms — humans, animals, plants and bacteria — and their relationship to our environment.