Careers in the Life Sciences

When we have asked life sciences concentrators what they have done after graduating, the answer is almost everything.  The skills that you learn as a life sciences concentrator – such as critical thinking and communication skills – are transferable to almost any profession.  

Many students who graduate with a degree in the life sciences proceed to further education, including graduate school or medical school.

  • Graduate school in the sciences:  Pursuing an advanced degree in the sciences (a Ph.D. or a Master’s degree) involves studying particular scientific topics in depth and undertaking an original research project that spans many years.  Many people who complete a Ph.D. choose a career path that involves research and/or teaching.   However, the options are limitless. For example, careers for Ph.D.-level scientists include science journalism and patent law.
  • Medical school or other health professional school (e.g. veterinary school, dental school):  Concentrating in the life sciences is a natural choice for some students who are passionate about medicine and the workings of the human body.  The requirements of all of the life sciences concentrations overlap with the courses that are required for admission to medical school.  However, it is not necessary to concentrate in the life sciences in order to attend medical school; one third of medical school applicants from Harvard choose a concentration outside of the sciences.
  • Joint degrees:  Many graduate programs allow you to combine your varied interests through joint degree programs, including degrees in medicine and research, medicine and public health, medicine and law, or medicine and business.

Students who concentrate in the life sciences are well prepared to pursue a range of professions.  As examples, life sciences concentrators have pursued careers in:

  • Business
  • Consulting
  • Environmental advocacy
  • Law
  • Public health
  • Public policy and government
  • Research – either in an academic setting or at a biotech company
  • Social work or counseling
  • Software engineering and IT
  • Science museums
  • Science writing
  • Teaching