The first step in preparing for a career is discovering what careers are available and what preparation is expected.

The following sections include links to websites to give you a sample of the variety available to you as a prospective biology graduate.

Biology-Related Careers: General
Biology-Related Careers Based on Courses That You Truly Loved
Biology-Related Careers: Familiar Professions
Biology-Related Careers: Not-so-familiar Professions and New Horizons

Also, see our Alumni Corner where alumni describe what they do in their current positions and career paths.

The second step is taking courses that prepare you for those careers.

  1. Select classes according to the subject matter in which you are thinking of specializing.
  2. Acquire specialized skills in the laboratory or in the field.
  3. Gain experience by carrying out a research project. Many of our upper-level laboratory courses offer such opportunities. In addition, you can get research experience through independent study (BIOL 497) or through appropriate internships (some may qualify for BIOL 495 credit).
  4. Take courses that give you practice in library research, writing and giving talks. Several laboratory courses and seminars (BIOL 480) are suitable.
  5. Select other science courses according to your major goals, ex. Physics I and II.
  6. Select humanities and social science courses, or even courses from the Watson School, the School of Management or Human Development, as needed. You can use many of these to fulfill General Education or Harpur College requirements or the requirement for 126 credits toward graduation.

The third step is preparing your resume and other application materials.

The Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development offers assistance in writing resumes and cover letters, and will also help with applications by compiling a file of your credentials. For specific help that requires knowledge of biology, ask a faculty advisor or a faculty member who is writing a letter of recommendation or serving as a reference.

When applying to graduate programs in biology and related field, students should generally adhere to the following protocol:

  1. Become familiar with the range of graduate programs and the degree-offering institutions. Most of the 300-level courses that we offer at the undergraduate level are actually graduate-level specializations at medical or agricultural schools. Flyers about many graduate programs are on the bulletin boards in Science 3 as you enter the building from the direction of the Science Library.
  2. Take the courses that best relate to the subject area in which you might want to specialize. Take laboratory courses, or courses with lab components, since most graduate work in biology puts the emphasis on research in laboratory or field settings.
  3. Get research experience either through Independent Study (BIOL 497) or through internships working in research at other institutions.
  4. Plan on taking the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) offered by the Educational Testing Service. The standard exam includes verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections and is required by most programs. Some programs require one or more subject test. Biology majors often select between the ones in Biology, Biochemistry, and Cell and Molecular Biology. The summer between junior and senior year would be an ideal time to take this test.  If you need a better score, you will still have time to take it again.  Most graduate school applications are due in December or January. Having your scores by that time will help you to decide which programs to apply to.
  5. Go to the Graduate Fair held each Fall by the Career Development Center. The Department also holds information sessions. Watch for announcements on the biomaj listserv.
  6. Work out your 4-year course plan so that you will have a light Spring semester in your senior year. Graduate programs usually extend offers to interview students, and often offer to cover students' expenses. These are scheduled a few times during the Spring and usually require travel on Thursday afternoons, returning on Saturday afternoons.
  7. Inform your parents/guardians that most Ph.D. programs in biology support their students with full tuition and a stipend that can pay for most, if not all, expenses. On the flip side, plan on four to six years of graduate school.

Consult the following for pointers: National Academy of Sciences’ “Careers in Science and Engineering: A Student Planning Guide to Grad School and Beyond.”

There are advisors in the Harpur College Academic Advising office who offer specialized assistance with regard to career options in law and the health professions.

 Biology-Related Careers: General

American Institute of Biological Sciences: Careers in the Biological Sciences

Careers in Biology (Emporia State University)

Careers/Professions for the Biology Graduate (Henry Ford Community College)

Science Career Magazine

U.S. Department of Labor: Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-2009 edition

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 Biology-Related Careers Based on Courses That You Truly Loved

Animal Behavior

Animal Behavior Society

Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior (Indiana University): Careers in Animal Behavior

Ornithological Societies of North America: Ornithological Jobs

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology: Career Information

Animal Physiology

American Physiological Society: Careers/Mentoring

American Society of Animal Science: Career Information

National Primate Research Center (University of Wisconsin, Madison) Primate Info Net: Careers in Primatology

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology: Career Information

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Sea Grant Program: Marine Careers


American Chemical Society: Careers

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: “Unlocking Life’s Secrets: Career Opportunities in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology”

Biochemical Society (U.K)

Botany and other Plant Sciences

Adirondack Mountain Club: Job Opportunities

American Phytopathological Society: Careers in Plant Pathology

American Society of Plant Physiologists: Jobbank

American Society of Plant Taxonomists: Careers in Systematics

Botanical Society of America: Careers in Botany

Jobs in Horticulture

National Health Museum Access Excellence Resource Center: An Introduction to Ethnobotany

Society of American Foresters: Career Center

Cell Biology

American Society for Cell Biology: Career Development

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology: Career Resources


Alchemist’s Lair (SUNY Oneonta): Careers for Chemistry Graduates

American Chemical Society: Careers


Adirondack Mountain Club: Job Opportunities

American Society of Limnology and Oceanography: Working in the Aquatic Sciences

Ecological Society of America: Careers & Certification

Environmental Career Opportunities

Environmental Jobs and Careers

Green Careers Center:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation: Careers in Environmental Conservation

Organization of Biological Field Stations


American Board of Genetics Counseling: Career Information

American Board of Medical Genetics

American Society of Human Genetics: Guide to North American Graduate and Postgraduate Training Programs in Human Genetics

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology: Career Resources

Genetics Societies: Educational Information

National Society of Genetics Counselors: Career in Genetic Counseling


National Society for Histotechnology


See Microbiology/Immunology

Marine Biology / Oceanography

Hopkins Marine Station (Stanford University): Career Information

National Aquarium (Baltimore, Maryland): Career Guide to Marine Science

Microbiology/ Immunology

American Society for Virology: Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Training in Virology

American Society of Microbiology: Careers in the Microbiological Sciences

American Society of Parasitologists: Careers in Parasitology

Society for General Microbiology: Bioscience @ Work (U.K.)

Mathematical Modeling

Canadian Society of Theoretical Biology: Careers in Theoretical Biology

Molecular Biology

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: “Unlocking Life’s Secrets: Career Opportunities in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology”

Cell & Molecular Biology Online: Career Resources

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology: Career Resources


Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology: Career Information

Society for Neuroscience: Professional Development

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 Biology-Related Careers: Familiar Professions

Education: K-12

Combined Degree Program for the B.A. in Biology with the M.A.T. in Biology (Binghamton University)

One way to pursue a career teaching middle and high school is via a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T), an advanced degree designed for holders of a bachelor's degree. At this university, it requires three semesters beyond the bachelor's degree.


Find out if you would be happy with a career in education by doing an internship or volunteer work with GEAR UP (tutoring and mentoring services to help at-risk Binghamton 7th-9th graders get into college).


New York State Education Department: Office of Teaching Initiatives (Visit Website)

Teach for America (Visit Website)

Education: College or University

A Ph.D. is essential for a career as a faculty member at a 4-year college or university. There may be a few positions at community colleges that require only a Master's degree, but more and more, these are disappearing. If this appeals to you, start with Careers Based on Courses that you Truly Loved.

Education: Informal - Zoos, Museums, Aquariums, Science Centers

Association of American Zoos and Aquariums: Conservation Education

Association of Science-Technology Centers: Job Bank

SeaWorld (San Diego): Education Job Opportunities

Health Professions, General

Health Careers Guide (Furman University): Occupational Descriptions

New York State Area Health Education Center System: Careers Health Career Guide

Vocational Information Center: Health Career Guide

Health Professions, Specific

See the Pre-Health Professions Advising website

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  Biology-Related Careers: Not-so-familiar Professions and New Horizons

Agricultural and Food Scientists

U.S.D.A. Food and Nutrition Information Center: Professional and Career Resources: Food Science and Technology

WorldWideLearn Career Planning Resources: Agricultural and Food Scientists


Biomedical Engineering Society: Careers

WorldWideLearn: Guide to College Majors in Engineering


American Journal of Bioethics: Bioethics Jobs

Human Genome Project Information: Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues

National Institutes of Health: Bioethics Resources on the Web: Careers in Bioethics

Bioinformatics / Computational Biology

Bioinformatics Organization: Career Center Careers in Bioinformatics

International Society for Computational Biology: Careers & Education


American Chemical Society: Careers

Biotechnology Industry Organization: Guide to Biotechnology 2008

Biotechnology Information Series (Iowa State University): Careers in Biotechnology

Biotechnology Institute: Careers in Biotechnology

National Health Museum Access Excellence Resource Center: Career Center

U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education: Career Voyages: Biotechnology

Business Careers

Use your imagination and connect your science-based education with a career in a business based on science and technology (e.g. pharmaceuticals, health care, biotechnology. etc.)

Biology in Business: Career Resources (U.K.)

Science and Engineering Business Association (University of Washington)

Environmental Conservation

See Ecology (under Careers Based on Courses that you Truly Loved)

Food Science

See Agricultural and Food Scientists

Forensic Science

American Academy of Forensic Sciences: Resources: Choosing a Career

American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science: Careers in Forensic Sciences

Genetics Counseling

See Genetics (under Careers Based on Courses that you Truly Loved)

Law - Patents, Contracts, Environmental Law, Legal Policy, Bioethics, Gene and Paternity Testing, Forensics

American Bar Association: Science & Technology Law

Environmental Policy and Law (Lehugh University): Careers

New York Academy of Sciences: Look Before you Leap: Careers for Scientists in Business and Law

See the Pre-Law Advising website

Media Communications/Journalism - Reporting, Writing, Editing, Website Development and Maintenance, Special Events

National Association of Science Writers

Science Career Magazine: Starting a Career in Science Writing

Scientist’s Guide to Traditional and Alternative Careers: Careers in Science Writing

Military - Biological and Chemical Warfare, Pathogen Identification, Soldier Identification

Bio Career Center: Getting Started with Military Science Research


Natural Healers: Nutrition Training & Career Guide

U.S.D.A. Food and Nutrition Information Center: Professional and Career Resources

See the Pre-Health Professions Advising website

Pharmacy and Drug Discovery, Drug Manufacture

Science Career Magazine: “Drug Discovery & Development: A Complex Team Sport”

See Biotechnology


American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists: What is Pharmacogenetics, Pharmacogenomics and Clinical Evaluation?

Human Genome Project Information: Pharmacogenomics

National Center for Biotechnology Information: “One Size Does Not Fit All: The Promise of Pharmacogenomics”

See Genetics (under Careers Based on Courses that you Truly Loved)

Public Health

American Public Health Association: Careers

Association of Schools of Public Health: Careers in Public Health

Public Relations

Science Career Magazine: “Scientists in Public Relations: Resources for Starting a Career”

Public Service

NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services: Public Service Corps

Career Services (University of Tennessee): Public Service Careers Program



Space Careers


Society of Toxicology: Overview of Career Resource and Development Services


National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: Careers & Training

Veterinary Medicine

American Veterinary Medical Association: Veterinary Career Center

See the Pre-Health Professions Advising website

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Last Updated: 7/1/15