Careers Service Occupations

Science Careers Outside The Lab

Science Careers Outside The Lab

About

There are many careers open to science graduates who would prefer to use their science knowledge and skills outside of a lab setting. Opportunities exist across the public, private and voluntary sectors - from business, health and communications, to research, policy work and teaching.

See the Science Council article on the 10 types of scientist working today.

Prospects and TARGETJobs also have advice on alternative graduate careers for scientists.

The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry has advice on getting into the industry, including a chart showing how degree subjects studied at university can link to the various fields within the pharmaceutical industry. See also Pharmaceutical Careers Guide from Origin, which lists potential career paths in the industry.

You can hear from graduates working in a range of science-related careers, including science writing, recruitment, medical sales and meteorology in Beyond the lab (YouTube) – a series of short videos produced by the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS).

What Newcastle University science graduates do with their degree

Examples of what some of our science graduates are doing up to 3 years after finishing their course*:

  • medical writer
  • data analyst
  • innovation manager
  • business intelligence analyst
  • secondary science teacher
  • science recruitment specialist
  • trainee project manager
  • risk analyst
  • science explainer
  • ecological consultant
  • clinical trials specialist
  • business development manager
  • statistician
  • policy advisor

*Taken from LinkedIn’s Newcastle University Find Alumni tool.

You can also find out what other science graduates have done through our online mentoring platform, NCL spark. Read profiles to find out what it's like in a particular role and what skills and experience you might need. You can also contact our graduates for more advice and support, by clicking on the eMentoring tab on NCL spark.

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and other sector events give valuable insight. There is also the opportunity to make useful contacts.

Regular events for this sector include our annual Science Careers Outside the Lab event, which will take place on Tuesday 24 March 2020 and has speakers from a range of careers including science education, government, patents, medical writing, science recruitment, pharma sales, teaching, data science, law and environmental consultancy.

Employers who have attended in the past include: Civil Service Fast Stream, CY Partners, Environment Agency, EY, NHS, Northumbrian Water, Oxford University Press, Teach First, Womble Bond Dickinson and the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology.

The Organisation for Professionals in Regulatory Affairs (TOPRA) hold an annual one-day careers fair, aimed at professionals and life science students and graduates who are interested in a career in healthcare regulatory affairs. It's free to attend for TOPRA members.

Nature, international journal of science, organises an annual Careers Live event in October aimed at science graduates and researchers. It's free to attend and features exhibitors from academic, life and clinical science organisations, plus talks and workshops. This year's event is on 3 October 2019 in London.

Silicon Milk Roundabout is a free 2 day job event for tech professionals. It’s an opportunity to meet and chat with employers - roles include digital marketing, data science, project management.

For events listings, see Careers Service events and External Events.

In this section

Roles

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties and entry requirements, plus links to vacancy sites and employers.

Click on the sections below for some examples of the roles that may be open to you. Have a look at our other sector-specific pages for more inspiration.

Skills

Skills

Prospects: What can I do with my degree? lists the skills specific to your degree including:

  • critical and analytical skills
  • problem solving
  • teamwork
  • verbal and written communication
  • project management
  • planning, organising and time management
  • attention to detail

Gaining Experience

Getting a graduate job is competitive. Undertaking relevant work experience will not only raise your profile with an employer, it will also allow you to develop new skills and gain a valuable insight into industry.

You can get a better understanding of what employment in a particular job or sector is like and whether this would be the right career choice for you.

Finding work experience

Several large employers, such as MSDPfizer, AstraZeneca and GSK, offer summer internships and industrial placements in a range of roles – from clinical research and data science, to commercial roles including finance, sales and marketing. Applications generally open a year ahead, around September, with closing dates as early as October and November.

Some companies, eg Unilever and BP, also offer insight programmes for first year students, ranging from a day to a week, usually in the spring. These can often lead to a fast track to their internship or placement programmes.

Smaller companies often don’t advertise opportunities. You may need to contact them with a speculative approach. Do this early, as it can be very competitive.

Organisations such as professional bodies, research councils, universities, and research institutes often advertise internships. Examples include Cancer Research UK, Wellcome Trust, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, which offer opportunities such as funding, science communication, policy, bioinformatics and marketing. You can find links to professional bodies in the About section in each of our sector-specific pages.

Opportunities by role

Opportunities by role

The following is not an exhaustive list, but examples of the type of opportunities that may be available within specific sectors. These can include paid internships, voluntary work, modules and part-time jobs. 

Click on the sections below for inspiration. 

Other ways to gain experience

Other ways to gain experience

All work experience is valuable, so if you can't find experience directly linked with your field of choice, why not try some of these alternative ideas for gaining skills and experience:

Finding Jobs

You can find science-related graduate jobs in a range of occupations – from clinical research and data science to commercial roles including finance, sales and marketing.

Many large employers, such as Unilever, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and GSK, recruit at the start of the autumn term, while others (particularly small and medium sized companies) recruit all year round.

Smaller companies often don’t advertise opportunities, or may only advertise on their own website. You may need to contact them with a speculative approach. Do this early, as it can be very competitive.

Organisations such as professional bodies, research councils, universities, and research institutes often advertise graduate jobs. Examples include Cancer Research UK and Wellcome, which offer graduate programmes in various roles including finance, investments, communication, policy, informatics, technology, HR and marketing. You can find links to professional bodies in the About section in each of our sector-specific pages.

New Scientist has advice on how to find a graduate jobs in science after university

Vacancy sites by job role

Vacancy sites by job role

Click on the relevant sector below to view sources of vacancies and employers.

This is not an exhaustive list, but aims to give you an example of the type of opportunities that may be available.