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
  • Data Scientist
  • Medical Science Liaison
  • EMT
  • Medical Scribe
  • Healthcare Recruiter
  • Teacher
  • Behavior Therapist
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Sales Development Representative
  • Forensic DNA Analyst

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

Career Opportunities Your Specialization Prepares You For:

Biochemistry and Cell Biology

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


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.  The General Biology major will prepare students for careers and post-graduate studies in a wide variety of fields including health professions, biological research in academic, government and industry settings, teaching and other science communication-oriented fields, science-oriented businesses and science policy administration.

Human Biology

Students in this major will develop a fundamental understanding of diverse aspects of human biology, from the physiology of organ systems to the genetic and biochemical workings of cells.  The human biology major provides a strong starting point for entry into postgraduate programs in the health sciences, as well as a foundation for careers in research, teaching, and many occupations in life science-oriented businesses.


The Microbiology major encompasses a wide range of topics from human health to biotechnology, synthetic biology to microbiomes, and biofuels to bioremediation.  The Microbiology major provides a foundation for careers in a variety of fields including healthcare, epidemiology, clinical diagnostics, food microbiology, microbial fermentation, environmental testing, health and environmental public policy, biotechnology, bioenergy, and biomanufacturing. The Microbiology major will also provide an excellent foundation for graduate studies in microbiology, virology, infectious diseases, biotechnology, and related fields, as well as for medical, dental, nursing, veterinary and pharmacy school.

Molecular Biology

The Molecular and Cell Biology major emphasizes instruction in the basic molecular principles that allow organisms to live, grow, and adapt to their environment. Students will learn to apply concepts from biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and cell biology to a diverse array of questions.  The broad scope of the Molecular and Cell Biology major makes it ideal for students interested in a wide variety of careers including medicine, postgraduate training in basic or translational research, biotechnology, science writing and policy, public health, and science education.


The Neurobiology major provides an interdisciplinary study of the nervous system, with the ultimate goal to understand higher brain function in health and disease.  Graduates are prepared for advanced study in biological sciences, particularly neuroscience, medicine, business or law, writing and publishing, government and policy, global health, as well as professions in education and biotechnology.

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.

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

Top Employers of Biological Sciences Grads:

  • UC San Diego
  • Sanford Burnham Preys Medical Discovery Institute
  • Intertek
  • The Scripps Research Institute
  • La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
  • Ludwig Cancer Research
  • Amgen
  • Merieux Nutrisciences

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 play 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.
  • TritonsConnect is an excellent resource to connect with UCSD alumni in your field or identify a mentor with your career interests