Career Opportunities and Resources

Biology graduate students complete their doctoral studies at MIT with many career options before them. This section includes information on what careers Biology alumni have chosen after receiving their degrees, along with employment resources and Postdoctoral Fellowships that are available. There is also a link to a Career Seminar Series which is held in January of each year.

Alumni Statistics


Post-Graduation Careers                                       

Pie chart depicting the percentage of biology Grad Alums in different careers.

Career Snapshot for Students in Program 2004 - 2014


The majority of our graduates pursue careers as scientists in academia or industry, whereas others go on to apply their training and expertise in related fields. Some are global scientific leaders, and others will become the scientific leaders of the next generation.

For the time period of 2004-2014, of students who graduated with a Ph.D. in biology from MIT, ~31% are involved in post-doctoral training, ~18% work in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry, and ~11% hold academic positions equivalent to Assistant or Associate Professor (see chart). Considering former students now working as professional research staff scientists in academic and government labs/research institutes, and those who are training or working in medicine, a total of ~75% of our recent graduates are engaged in biomedical careers. Historically, 30-40% of our graduates have gone on to academic faculty positions or equivalent positions at research institutions after completing postdoctoral training. Our alumni are on the faculty at more than 50 universities around the world that include many top-ranked research institutions.

We are proud of the variety of ways that our recent graduates are using their training to benefit society in non-research careers. For example, ~6% of our former trainees are now science educators at the high school or college level, whereas others have pursued opportunities as science writers or editors or work in science government policy. An eighth of our recent graduates have chosen careers in patent law, consulting, or business. These former students are helping to teach tomorrow’s scientists and citizens, are promoting the dissemination of scientific knowledge, and are helping to ensure that science is a benefit to the community, economy, and society.

The MIT Earned Doctoral Survey also provides information about paths pursued by Biology graduate students right after they obtain their degrees. That report is available here:

Employment Resources

The following are job search resources recommended by the department.

In addition to the resources listed above, the Department of Biology lists current job opportunities here. Another helpful resource is MIT's Human Resources Careers at MIT page. MIT's Career Development Center offers job listings, workshops and career counseling to students and alumni. Additional resources include the Human Resources pages at the Whitehead Institute and the job postings at Community of Science

Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Biology Education Office has compiled a listing of postdoctoral fellowships, as well as links to several fellowship databases, which can be viewed here.

Career Seminar Series 

During the January Independent Activities Period (IAP), which takes place between the Fall and Spring semesters, the Biology Department sponsors a series of seminars on Life After MIT: Taking the Next Step in Academic Research or Non-Academic Career Paths. Learn more about the series.

Seminars have featured speakers from both within and outside MIT. Some past seminars have included the following:

Academic Research

  • Writing a Thesis and Choosing a Post-Doc Lab
  • Writing a Postdoctoral fellowship
  • Applying for a Junior Faculty position
  • Demystifying the RO1 Grant Writing Process
  • Balancing Family and Science 

Non-Academic Career Paths

  • Career in Industry
  • Patent Law
  • Scientific Publishing
  • Biotech
  • Biomedical Ventures on the Internet
  • Administrative Jobs in Science
  • Teaching at a Liberal Arts College