Careers in Science

It is impossible to say what a typical science career would be, simply because there is no such thing as a typical science graduate!

The University of Sydney offers such a wide range of subjects that it is impossible to specify a typical set of careers for a science graduate. It really depends on what subjects you study, how motivated you are to perform well and your own interests. Science graduates may become ground-breaking research scientists in a university, the CSIRO or a hospital, they may be involved in solving problems in industry or environmental management, or they may become practising psychologists, nutritionists or teachers. Many science graduates are also attracted to a career in business, either as managers, financial analysts or as consultants.

As well as the generalist science degree, which can provide this career flexibility, the Science Faculty offers a number of more specialised degrees in areas like medical science, molecular biotechnology, psychology, computer science, marine science, nutrition and molecular biology and genetics. These degrees enable students with a clear idea of their main area of interest to focus on a more specific career target.

How can I work towards a career in science?

While there are plenty of career opportunities for graduates of three or four year degree programs, some careers require more than three years of study before entry. For example, full professional recognition in psychology requires a minimum of six years of full-time study and anyone wishing to be considered an “expert” in a subject should continue to the Honours year and beyond. Around 80% of science graduates continue on to higher study.

Do I have to choose my career now?

The short answer to this question is no, but you should try and hone your interests in a particular direction – the best advice we can give you is to study things you enjoy, and have a go or get some advice about the areas you don’t know much about but that you think you might like. You can enter a Bachelor of Science degree without a specific career in mind. People do well when they enjoy what they are doing. It makes sense to study something you are interested in, and you will probably get better marks. Better marks give you more options and a better chance of a great job after you graduate. If, on the other hand, you do have a clear, focused ambition, for example to become a research scientist, an astrophysicist, or a marine biologist, you can tailor your BSc studies to a more specialised area with that outcome in mind.

What are employers looking for?

Employers are interested in more than your exam marks. They want people with skills in problem-solving, logical analysis and with numerate abilities - all skills that science students acquire. Employers value maturity, social skills and ability in written and oral communication and teamwork skills which are developed in science labs and field trips. University life, inside the classroom and outside it, gives you plenty of chances to achieve those skills. Technical and research skills form part of many courses and working to supplement your income will give you many more. A driver’s licence, a second language, keyboard competence or customer service skills may be part of your armoury by graduation day and will only enhance an employer’s opinion of you.

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