University of Bath

Career options for Chemistry, Biology, and Pharmacy & Pharmacology researchers

Find out about the different career options available if you're undertaking research in Chemistry, Biology or Pharmacy and Pharmacology.

Career options

Broadly speaking, your options are the same as those for researchers in other disciplines; see the career options for researchers page for more details. The aim of this page is to look at some career options that may be particularly suitable for researchers in your field. One important question to ask yourself is the extent to which you want to use your subject in any future career moves. It's entirely your choice - you will have acquired and developed many skills during your time as a researcher which are complementary to the scientific and technical skills you might think define your career choice.

If you'd like to continue using your subject and would like some ideas as to how, see details of what previous Bath doctoral graduates in your subject have gone on to do.

Science-related options

You might want to continue in science as a whole but move out of the lab. There are many professions which would value your PhD, including pharmaceutical or agricultural company technical specialists or sales representatives, scientific market analyst, health and safety specialists, environmental and conservation officers, patent attorneys, data science, bioinformatics, regulatory affairs officers, science communication, scientific journal editing, technical or medical writing and science policy and strategy. Teaching can also be an attractive option.

If you are interested in using your subject in a more clinical setting, you could consider working in the various specialisms of clinical science or, depending on the focus of your PhD, clinical trials (as a clinical research associate). These jobs would all require some element of further study or on-the-job retraining, and have differing career progressions, but are interesting options for using your subject in a practical, but not research-driven, way. Entry into clinical science is usually through the NHS Scientist Training Programme.

Management consulting, which involves helping organisations to solve problems and improve business performance, values the high level research and problem-solving skills of PhD students, and some companies, such as Mckinsey and The Boston Consulting group, have specific entry routes for PhD students. If you are interested in combining consultancy and your scientific knowledge, it's worth bearing in mind that some of the larger consultancy and professional services firms provide life sciences consultancy to healthcare, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. For life scientists, there are also specialist life science consultancies.

For more information on what these jobs involve, check out the 'Information sources' section below.

Options outside of your subject

If you're not sure that you want to use your subject anymore, don't despair! You have many skills and experiences that are highly valuable to employers and you can choose from the huge range of graduate jobs on offer, from structured training with large financial services firms to analysing policy for governmental departments. The key is to think of the skills you have and enjoy using, and explore occupations that use them to suggest possible alternatives. For information on different types of jobs, explore the job profiles on the Prospects website.

Information sources

Where to look for jobs in your field

See the vacancies page for academic, research and research-related jobs.

Careers Service MyFuture database - look at the vacancies relevant to your subject area and also in the sections 'For PhD Students' and 'For Postdocs'. Use the 'organisations' function to identify potential employers that you may want to work for or could approach speculatively.

Lab-based jobs

Non lab-based jobs in science

Again, there is a wide variety of possible chemistry-related employment and so this list is not intended to be exhaustive.

Other pages for researchers