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Career Options for Ph.D.s
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The following lists of potential career options for those with Ph.D. are far from exhaustive. Increasingly doctorate recipients are found in a wide range of job sectors. A good approach for learning about any sector not listed here is to start informational interviewing individuals in those jobs. Also, a nice general source on non-academic career options is the ScienceCareers booklet: Career Trends: Careers Away from the Bench.


Job Sectors

Academia/Teaching Continuing Medical Education (CME) Science Policy
Science Writing Medical Information Scientist/Medical Liaison Scientist Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, Patenting, and Legal Opportunities
Research Support or
Grant Administration
Bioethics Science Librarian


The links below provide insight into the skills needed to advance in an academic career.

One way to get teaching experience prior to obtaining a faculty position is through postdoctoral teaching fellowships.

Continuing Medical Education (CME)

"Physicians stay abreast of new developments, drugs and treatments through Continuing Medical Education, led by trained representatives of pharmaceutical companies or by academic institutions. To ensure that these programs remain unbiased, the Accreditation Council for CME (ACCME) maintains records on all accredited CME providers. The AACME provides a list of current providers. Contact the individual providers in your area or the ACCME for course openings.

Science Policy

Science policy analysts or program officers manage programs, write grants, conduct research and serve as an expert resource to policy-makers. Science policy fellowships include:

Science Writing

Science writers may write for specialty publications, for industry groups, or for the general public. Gain experience by volunteering for the university news, publications, public relations or alumni relations office, or by volunteering to write articles for your professional organization. Graduate writing programs are offered by:

Medical Information Scientist/Medical Liaison Scientist

Medical information scientists provide scientific education to physicians, educate pharmaceutical sales forces, and work with clinical development teams on study protocol, design and submission. To research jobs, perform an Internet search for "medical information", "medical liaison" or "scientific liaison", or visit the Medical Science Liaison website at

Desired skills for medical information scientists include:

  • Clinical experience (research and/or patient experience)
  • Strong communication skills
  • Strong presentation/public speaking skills
  • Time/project management skills

Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, Patenting, and Legal Opportunities

Science, law, and business come together in the area of tech transfer. For more information, visit:

Research Support or Grant Administration (RSA)

Research support and grant administration provide invaluable help to scientists in the pursuit of research funding. The following are links to articles about and information on careers in research support.


As new technologies emerge with new questions, the issue of bioethics continues to present itself as an important concern. Scientists can play in important role in the dialogue between researchers and the public. The following links can provide further information on this field.

Science Librarian

Science librarians are usually found in academic institutions and help decide on the library’s collection and manage budgets and assist scientists in information searchers, in addition to a host of other duties. Here are some links that can give more information on careers as a science librarian.


Postdocs are known for being innovators, so it is not surprise that this extends to entrepreneurial opportunities.