Life Sciences, Biotech, Pharma

Photograph of medicine

Concentrating in the scientific disciplines at Harvard prepares you for diverse career opportunities. You may choose to pursue graduate study to become more specialized in your chosen field, or become an expert, focusing on teaching or research. Opportunities abound in government laboratories and research centers, as well as agencies and political institutions. From an industry perspective, both scientific and non-scientific organizations value the quantitative, analytical, and logical reasoning skills developed as an undergraduate in the College with a scientific concentration. Consider organizations as varied as government agencies, biotechnology companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical and healthcare facilities, nature/wildlife preserves, museums, or scientific consulting firms.

Finding Internships

Plan on completing both a research and internship experience during your undergraduate education. Along with your science-related coursework, the best way to explore a career in the sciences is by finding laboratory work in your field with a potential mentor during the school terms or over the summer. Research forms the backbone of any scientific endeavor and this experience will provide the skills and knowledge necessary for a future career. Consider focusing on research if you are certain that you want to pursue a Ph.D. In addition, internships provide real-world industry experience which is directly applicable to future career paths.

Finding Jobs

Harvard students in the sciences elect to pursue both research and non-research oriented positions after graduation. One popular option is to pursue one- or two-year lab research assistant appointments in academic laboratories. Those opportunities are typically described as leadership development or fellowship programs and are posted on Crimson Careers or organization human resource websites, so you may wish to target a geographic location and plan to regularly check those institutions' websites in early to mid spring.  

Global Opportunities

Now more than ever, science is truly a global pursuit. One will find tremendous value in experiencing scientific research and practice abroad, as we find the world's labor force growing increasingly global and mobile. In addition, many biotechnology companies have partnerships and laboratories with institutions all over the world.

Graduate and Professional Programs

Deciding whether to pursue a research-based Ph.D. program versus a professional master's degree can be difficult, and certainly hinges on your ultimate goals. In addition to speaking with an adviser at OCS, discuss this decision with trusted members of the faculty who have advised or taught you in a related discipline. Faculty are often in the best position to describe the academic and research components of graduate education, and may even connect you to their colleagues in departments and schools across the country for further information.

Funding Opportunities

Fellowship opportunities in the sciences are plentiful—your goal will be to determine what you wish to experience and then find the appropriate funding sources to accomplish that goal. Explore funding resources at Harvard, as well as external funding directories and sources.