Explore Professions

Wondering what type of job opportunities are available to you with a degree in the biological sciences? Start by checking out the list of general positions in this field, and read on to learn more about career opportunities in your specialized area of study.

Career Titles:

  • Associate Project Manager
  • Engineer
  • Lab Assistant
  • Programmer/Analyst
  • Quality Assurance Associate
  • Research Assistant/Associate
  • Research Scientist (PhD)
  • Software Engineer

Discover whether a science career matches your interests, skills and abilities and meets your lifestyle expectations:

  • Explore your field of interest through relevant classes, majors & minors at UCSD
  • Talk to faculty and graduate students in your field
  • Join Student Organizations or Professional Associations in your field
  • Get advice from UCSD alumni in the science field
  • See what type of jobs are available for those with a degree in the biological sciences

Career Opportunities Your Specialization Prepares You For:

Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Provides students with the foundation necessary for entry into a health professions, post graduate training in a variety of areas within the biological and biomedical sciences.

Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics is a rapidly growing and evolving field of using computational approaches to analyze biological data (e.g. large scale genomic, proteomic and metabolomics datasets) to investigate living organisms and their communities. An understanding of the qualitative and quantitative biological data that are accruing, and the tools used to analyze them, requires substantial mastery of biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and computer science.

Students entering this field can excel in working in the biomedical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and bioinformatics industries.

Ecology, Behavior and Evolution

Fields of population biology, ecology, conservation biology, animal behavior, population genetics, biogeography, and evolution are fields of study within the industries. Research careers in ecology, behavior, and evolution can be found in universities, government agencies, and the biotechnology industry. Other applied careers for ecologists vary and students can work in forestry and wildlife management, ecological consultants, teachers. Other less traditional fields may include ecological medicine, epidemiology, environmental design and planning, and conservation biology.

General Biology

Designed for students with broad interests who do not wish to be constrained by the specialized requirements for industries.

Human Biology

Schools of medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy; Ph.D. programs in the biomedical sciences; and biotech research, teaching, medical technology, patent law, physical therapy, nutrition, and nursing. 

Microbiology

The microbiology major is designed to prepare students for graduate studies and for professional careers in a variety of health-related programs. The specialization in microbiology can provide the basic background for work in medical technology, or for further training in public health or other health-related specialties. The program is also designed to provide a foundation for graduate studies in microbiology, virology, and a variety of allied fields as well as for medical and dental school.

Molecular Biology

The program for molecular biology is designed to provide an intensive exposure to the theoretical concepts and experimental techniques of molecular biology. The concepts and techniques of molecular biology are the foundation for the studies of all aspects of biology in modern time. A focus on molecular biology, therefore, provides an excellent preparation for a wide range of advanced studies including basic research, medicine, bioengineering, and biotechnology. Emphasis is placed on chemistry, biochemistry, and genetics for students enrolled in the program.

Physiology and Neuroscience

The study of Physiology and Neuroscience can prepare students for medical school, graduate school in biological or neural sciences, or entry into other health related professions such as nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, physical education, agriculture and wildlife management.

Gain Experience

To confirm your interest in a field, to develop the skills and knowledge needed for graduate study, and to prove your abilities to graduate schools, you’ll need to prepare academically and obtain relevant practical experience.

  • Explore your field of interest through relevant classes, majors & minors at UCSD
  • Investigate – Is a Ph.D. Right For You?
  • Pursue Research Opportunities on or off campus
  • Get a relevant Job or Internship
  • Investigate Science Internships or an Academic Internship
  • Check out job and internship opportunities in the biological sciences

Get Involved with Student-Run Organizations

To see a full list please go to the Student Organization Page:

  • American Chemical Society Student Affiliates
  • Biological Sciences Student Association
  • BioScholars Program
  • Society of Physics Students

Science companies that UC San Diego works with through our Industry Engagement team:

  • Alere
  • Althea Technologies
  • Cymer
  • Dexcom
  • Google
  • Illumina
  • Northrup Grumman
  • Pfizer
  • Pharmatek Labs
  • Qualcomm
  • Thermo Fischer Scientific

Prep for Graduate School:

Before applying to graduate school, you want to consider whether graduate school is right for you.  You want to ask yourself if you actually need a graduate degree to work in your ideal job.  To explore that, try looking at some job descriptions of the types of positions you want and see what they are asking for in an applicant.  Once you've determine if graduate school is necessary then you want to select and apply to the program that best fits your professional goals.

Research Programs:

Application Process

Paying for graduate school

Additional Resources:

Alumni can provide an important role in your career development:

  • LinkedIn can serve as a great tool to help in your journey.  There you can find alumni in many different companies.