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
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:
- Science animator, Dr. Janet Iwasa
- Science facillitator and social enterpreneur, Dr. Nina Dudnik, Founder & CEO, Seeding Labs
- Biological designer, Synthetic Aesthetics
- Science comedian, Dr. Tim Lee, Dr. Joe Wong, and more!
- Science storyteller, Dr. Ben Lillie & Dr. Brian Wecht, Co-Founders, Story Collider
Career profiles of Ph.D. scientists