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Career pathways for Ph.D. scientists

Ph.D. scientists pursue a wide variety of career paths, contributing to science in diverse ways.

In this section

  • Navigating career pathways - Explore the many career options for Ph.D. scientists in the 8 broad career pathways in the left menu, including example job titles and resources for getting training and experience
  • Career Pathways Communities - Learn about (and sign up for) this innovative component of our BBS curriculum, frequently open to participation by all postdocs and post-qualifying students


Navigating career pathways

Career exploration is an ongoing, work-in-progress process. This article and tool from UCSF offers a practical guide to tackling career exploration.

We have grouped the array of common research and research-related career options for Ph.D. scientists into eight broadly defined pathways:

For each pathway we provide: example job titles, additional key search terms, and resources for getting and staying up to speed on the pathway, building your network, and getting pathway-specific training and experience

Job titles with an asterisk (*) are commonly used by employers in different ways and therefore can fall in a number of pathways.

Note that the job titles in these pathways represent common science-related career options for Ph.D. scientists, but not all of the careers listed require a Ph.D.

Consider thinking outside of the pathway

Letting your interests and passions guide you towards a rewarding career can pay off and occasionally lead to forging new career paths or job titles that don't naturally fit in existing career pathway categories.

Here are a few examples for inspiration, along with the job titles/organizations/fields they've helped to create:

Career profiles of Ph.D. scientists