Where do people in this field work?
The wide range of science disciplines contributes to a diverse set of career opportunities. Biologists research biological systems and work with genetic material, which is especially useful in the medical field. Chemists research chemical systems and reactions and analyze the properties of materials, using their findings to develop new products or processes. Pharmaceutical researchers work to develop new drugs and vaccines. According to experts in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, biotechnology and nanotechnology are currently two of the most active research fields. Biotechnology scientists try to understand and use the fundamentals of cellular life to develop new consumer products, medicines, and industrial processes, while nanotechnology researchers study and develop new structures on the scale of atoms.
- Private Industry: Many private industries employ scientists, including: Chemical Manufacturers, Pharmaceutical Companies, Scientific Journals, Testing Labs, Waste Management Companies, Environmental Consulting Firms, Food Manufacturers, Clinics, Health Care Producers, Hospitals, Research Foundations.
- Education & Academia: Professors and teachers are needed in higher, primary, and secondary education. A doctorate is usually required to teach in colleges and universities, with a bachelors or masters being used for primary and secondary education.
- Federal, State, or Local Government: Individuals with a science background are employed in a variety of fields, in numerous locations, and as part of many different agencies across the government, including: Food & Drug Administration, National Science Foundation, Public Health Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Center for Disease Control, OSHA, Air Pollution Control, National Institutes of Health.
- Research: There are many career opportunities available as a scientific researcher in both the physical and life sciences. While a bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum requirement necessary for scientific research jobs, more senior positions require either a master's degree or Ph.D. This type of work usually involves the research and development of new techniques and products in fields as diverse as medicine and economics.
- The Sloan Cornerstone Career Center hosts additional information on the varied fields of science.
Center for Career Education Resources: For a full list of resources and services, visit our home page.
- Science, Technology, Engineering Program (STEP): STEP provides students with full time work experience over the summer and enables students to connect with Columbia alumni, network with professionals and learn about careers in science, technology & engineering.
- Career Exploration for Ph.D's: helpful tipsheet on where to look for employment and how to use your training/skills in the job search in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.
- LinkedIn.com Columbia Groups: Columbia Career Connections & Columbia Alumni Association Network
- LionSHARE: CCE’s database of internships and full time jobs for students and alumni. Previous employers have included: Rockefeller University, American Institute for Research, MIT Lincoln Lab, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Heart Disease Research Foundation, Hospital for Special Surgery, and the Pacific Northwest National Lab
- Webshops and webinars: cover a wide array of topics
- Vault & WetFeet guides: profiles of industries, companies, and careers- such as the Vault guide to Biotech and the Wetfeet guide Careers in Pharmaceuticals
Employers & Recruiting Events: Columbia hosts multiple employer recruitment events aimed at providing students and alumni with the ability to make one-on-one interactions with company representatives. Listed below are samples of employers in the Sciences who recruit here at Columbia.
- Fall Career Fair: Previous employers have included: Trinity Partners; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Regenron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
- Engineering Consortium Career Fair: Previous employers have included: Stryker; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; NASA Langley Research Center; Brookhaven National Laboratory
- Spring Career Fair: Previous employers have included: NYU Langone Medical Center; Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Celgene; Well Cornell Medical College
- Steven O’Malley, Chemistry. Graduated 2004 from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
- Patrick Holder, Chemistry. Graduated 2003 from Columbia College.
Student Clubs & Professional Associations at Columbia: Student clubs often have direct links with employers and are excellent ways to learn about careers in the field. Many are even linked to regional or national professional associations that have web resources and host conferences and career fairs.
- The Chandler Society of Columbia University: The Chandler Society serves as a tribute to the spirit of American chemist Charles Frederick Chandler, continuing the great tradition of bringing people together with Chemistry.
- Columbia Neuroscience Society: The Columbia Neuroscience Society aims to create a community among students with an interest in neuroscience, not just those majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior, but also those majoring in Biology and Psychology or anything else.
- Columbia Science Review: The mission of the Columbia Science Review is to increase knowledge and awareness of science and technology in the Columbia community, promote scientific literacy at Columbia, and promote student activities within the sciences.
- Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal: Professional-level, open-access science journal that is committed to publishing manuscripts of the highest scholarship resulting from significant scientific research or outstanding analysis.
- Society of Physics Students: Columbia University Chapter of the Society of Physics Students.
- Undergraduate Mathematics Society: The Undergraduate Mathematics Society was founded as a forum for undergraduates interested in mathematics to interact and discuss mathematics outside of a classroom setting.
Research, Other Opportunities, and Resources: Columbia undergraduates have access to research facilities on the Morningside campus and at the University's Medical Center, in addition to the many specialized research institutes. Examples which place Columbia at the forefront of innovative science research include:
- CC/SEAS, GS, and GSAS fellowships
- Harlem Biospace: startup biotech ventures
- Earth Institute: Study sustainable development
- Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory: Map the movement of glaciers
- Mentornet: An online mentoring community in which Columbia University participates
- Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center: Build nanoscale electronic devices
- Nevis Laboratories: Search for the Higgs Boson
- SEAS Global Initiatives: Intern/Study Abroad Web Site
- SURF: Hands-on biology related laboratory research
- Undergraduate Research Involvement Program: Opportunities for undergraduates to get involved early
Local Professional Associations: Local associations can often offer a unique networking experience that can include direct connections with employers. These associations can be a key resource to promote and advance yourself in your targeted field. Below are a few prominent samples of such associations.
- California Healthcare Institute: Independent organization devoted to researching and advocating policy to forward the interests of California's biomedical community.
- Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council: Organizations of medical device manufacturers, suppliers, and associated non-profit groups in Massachusetts and surrounding regions.
- New York Biotechnology Association: Not-for-profit trade association declared to the development of biotechnology related industries and institutions in the state of New York.
Professional Journals: Keep up to date on trends in the field, identify potential employers, and find out about new opportunities. Your access to the Columbia library system, through the CU library login, gives you extensive exposure to important information in the field today. Additionally, use the low student membership rates in professional associations to gain career guidance and information about scholarships, networking opportunities, job postings, conferences and workshops, and access to job fairs.
- American Association for the Advancement of Science: International nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association.
- American Chemical Society: ACS is a congressionally chartered independent membership organization which represents professionals at all degree levels and in all fields of chemistry and sciences that involve chemistry.
- American Institute of Biological Sciences: AIBS builds community in support of researchers, educators, and scientists who understand the importance of sharing biological discovery and knowledge. In creating education resources, monitoring public policy, providing peer review of scientific applications, programs, and scientific literature, publishing timely biological sciences information, and implementing dynamic public outreach programs, AIBS intends to ensure the future of the biological sciences.
- American Physics Society: The American Physical Society (www.aps.org) is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities.
- National Academy of Sciences: Private, nonprofits institution that provides expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and world. The organization (as well as the other National Academies) produces groundbreaking reports that have helped shape sound policies and inform public opinion.
- National Science Foundation: Independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…”. The funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.
- Amherst College Summer Internships: List of summer undergraduate research compiled by Amherst College.
- BioFind: BioFind provides “a variety of online services for its users, most famously its "Rumor Mill" which regularly receives up to 80 posts daily, and tracks the latest news and gossip from around the biotech industry”.
- BioSpace: Online community for industry news and careers for life science professionals.
- Biotech Career Center: (the Biotech Resources section is particularly useful.)
- Columbia’s Department of Biology: List of summer undergraduate research programs.
- Eco.org: A great source for job candidates looking for green jobs to connect with eco-employers who care about the environment.
- Environmental Health and Safety Careers: Partnered with key environmental, occupational health & safety organizations, along with a distribution of over 85,000 EH&S professionals.
- GreenBiz: Find the sustainability professional and green-collar job that’s right for you.
- Green Corps: One year, full time, paid Field School for Environmental Organizing includes intensive classroom training, hands-on field experience running urgent environmental campaigns, and career placement in positions with leading environmental groups.
- HireBio: Biotechnology jobs, learning resources, and career tools.
- HireRx: Pharmaceutical jobs, learning resources, and career tools.
- Life Sciences World: a great source for news about the biotech industry, events, and job postings
- Making the Difference: Your source for federal jobs and internships. Where to find them. How to get them.
- MedZilla: Services for employers and professionals in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, healthcare and science.
- MentorNet: Mentoring programs for students in the sciences and technology
- Nature Jobs: A job database sponsored by the journal Nature. A great source for opportunities in the US
- New Scientist Jobs: A great job database sponsored by New Scientist magazine.
- Organization of Biological Field Stations: Provide living libraries and outdoor laboratories for students, researchers, and the general public interested in the environment.
- ScienceCareers: A wonderful career resource for scientists, especially graduate students and students interesting in graduate school opportunities. The site is sponsored by the AAAS.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Federal department responsible for developing and executing U.S. policy on farming, agriculture, and food.
- U.S. Department of the Interior: Federal department responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Federal department responsible for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress.
Last Updated: May, 2013