The life sciences field, which can include large pharmaceutical companies (i.e. Johnson & Johnson), biotechnology startups (i.e. Wave Life Sciences), and medical devices (i.e. Abbott), has opportunities for all degree concentrations. While it can be a great industry fit for those who have concentrated in the sciences and have research/lab experience, the field also has numerous opportunities in business, finance, and strategy. Whether you are looking to be in the lab or beyond the bench, the life sciences field is expected to grow. For instance, MassBioEd’s recent Life Sciences Employer Outlook report estimates the life sciences will increase in Massachusetts by 32% in 10 years.
Along with your science-related coursework, the best way to explore your interests and build foundational skills in life sciences is by finding a lab (wet lab or dry lab) in your field of choice 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. If you plan to pursue a PhD, it is especially important to engage in research during your undergraduate career. In addition to research, industry internships can provide real-world experience, which is directly applicable to future career paths. Many biotech and pharmaceutical organizations will host interns throughout the year. Search their websites for opportunities in business and technology roles as well as R&D. These opportunities usually become available in late fall stretching through early spring, which is why we typically host our Biotech, Pharma and Healthcare Career Expo in January.
Both research and non-research positions are available for Harvard graduates interested in the life sciences. You may want to consider leadership development or rotational programs. These 1-2 year opportunities are posted on Crimson Careers or on organization human resource websites. Research these organizations starting in the fall to plan your applications accordingly. Others will choose to find entry-level research assistant or associate research positions within biotech and pharma organizations, academic laboratories, or research hospitals. One recommended job board to explore your interest in the biotech, pharma and life science industry is biospace.com. Making connections is an important step in finding post-grad research opportunities, so we recommend reaching out to your network as you begin your job search. Some graduates interested in life sciences have also chosen to pursue life sciences consulting, which holds earlier hiring timelines with more structured recruiting requirements (i.e. case method interviews).
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 our advisors, 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.
If you are a student interested in biotech and medical technology, take note! The International Center for Professional Development SMDP fellowship applications are open! The SMDP is a one year career mentoring program that pairs ethnically diverse students (Bachelors, Masters …
Harvard College encourages undergraduates to take time during the Winterbreak to refresh and recharge. MCS is one of numerous Harvard centers and departments that offer some limited programming during the Winterbreak and Wintersession periods.
Undergraduate students who wish to …