Career Resources

Science

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Overview of Science Careers

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: Consumer Product Companies, Cosmetics Companies, Chemical Manufacturers, Pharmaceutical Companies, Scientific Journals, Testing Labs, Consulting Firms, Waste Management Companies, Environmental Consulting Companies, Food Manufacturers, Financial Firms, Health Care Providers, Hospitals, and Research Foundations.
  • Education & Academia: Professors and teachers work in higher, secondary and primary education. A doctorate is usually required to teach in colleges and universities, with a bachelors or masters necesary for primary and secondary education.
  • Federal, State, or Local Government: Individuals with a science background are employed in different agencies across government including: The Food & Drug Administration, National Science Foundation, Public Health Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Center for Disease Control, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Air Pollution Control, NASA, and National Institutes of Health.
  • Career Exploration for Ph.D's is a 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.
  • The Sloan Cornerstone Career Center also hosts excellent information on the careers in science. 

Finding an On Campus Research Position

There are many opportunities to assist faculty members with research on campus and at other universities. Many positions are not advertised anywhere; it’s up to you to find a professor who would be open to taking on a student researcher. Look through individual department websites to learn about the research that faculty are doing and identify a few projects in line with your interests. Contact the faculty member directly by finding his/her email on the web pages or in the Columbia directory. You’ll need to craft an introduction with your background and what you’re looking for; suggestions for doing so, and then following up, can be found on the undergraduate research web page of the Biological Sciences department.
 
Opportunities for Columbia students to work at the forefront of innovative science research include: 

Center for Career Education Resources

  • 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.
  • CCE Career Fairs: CCE hosts a Fall Career Fair, Engineering Consortium Career Fair and Spring Career Fair each year. Attending employers included: Trinity Partners, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Regenron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Stryker, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, NASA Langley Research Center, Brookhaven National Laboratory, NYU Langone Medical Center, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Celgene, and Weill Cornell Medical College.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering Program (STEP): STEP is one of CCE's many internship programs that provide students with opportunities to connect with Columbia alumni and gain experience in science, technology and engineering.
  • Career Exploration for Ph.D's: A 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.
  • Vault & WetFeet Guides: Profiles industries, companies, and careers. Related resources include the Vault guide to Biotech and Wetfeet guide to Careers in Pharmaceuticals.
  • Columbia Alumni: Read profiles and get advice from Columbia alumni working in the field of science. 

Columbia Resources

  • Listservs: There are many listservs for undergraduate students to learn about research opportunities in the sciences. Join the Center for Student Advising's Science Mailing list and Pre health listserv.
  • Mentornet: Join to connect with a mentor in the STEM fields.
  • Student Clubs & Professional Associations:
    • 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.
    • 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.

External Resources

Professional Associations
Offer unique career information, networking experiences, and job postings.
Internship/Job Posting Websites
Life Sciences

Chemistry

Environment

  • Eco.org: A source for job candidates looking for green jobs.
  • Environmental Health and Safety Careers: Jobs, talent acquisition and career information in the EH&S profession.
  • GreenBiz: Jobs in renewable energy, clean tech, green building, sustainable businesses and more.
  • Columbia’s Department of Biology: List of summer undergraduate research programs in Ecology.
  • 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.
  • Nature Jobs: A job database sponsored by the journal Nature

Physics

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 Last updated December 2014