Scientific Research & Development

Look below for relevant events and throughout this page for resources to help you learn about and land a position in this field. You can also subscribe to this community’s newsletter for job/internship updates, employer events, and more or join the Facebook Group.

Want personalized advice to figure out your next steps? Maureen can help! Sign up for a virtual chat or group advising session.

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Summer 2021 Events

Oct 06

Science, Health & Research Fair

October 6 @ 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Myths about Careers in Scientific Research & Development

There can be a lot of misconceptions about careers in this field, so it’s good to be aware of the most common ones. Click the myths below to read more about the truth behind the myth.

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"All positions in a biotechnology or pharmaceutical company start out working in a research lab."

Not all positions. You may find that while you enjoy research, you would rather be in a different work environment. Perhaps you would like to have more contact with people, but are unsure how your scientific knowledge would still be valued? Check out positions related to client services, technical writer, business analyst, and biotechnology sales to name a few. All different skill sets and personality types are needed, in addition to having a scientific background.

"I must go to graduate school first to get a full-time job working in research."

Not true! There are multiple paths to working in a research setting without a master’s degree or Ph.D. Starting out, if you already have extensive research experience as an undergraduate, you may find opportunities to continue on as a research assistant, depending on lab funding. Or, universities may have entry-level research assistant positions to apply to, especially within a school of medicine/health sciences. 

Clinical research coordinator/lab manager roles are also another possibility to use coordinating and organizational skills to assist in the research process and help run the logistics of a lab, especially one with human participants.  

Within industry, there are plenty of opportunities to start out as a lab technician, an associate research scientist role, or quality control or quality assurance specialist related roles, for example.

"My science major will feel like a waste if I don’t use my research skills and knowledge in a career."

The truth is you develop several transferable skills like problem solving, analysis, critical thinking etc. No matter what type of science you major in, having a scientific background can compliment a related career in communications, business development, regulatory affairs, consulting, policy, informatics, and much more.

Explore Career Paths

You may be working in a lab, individually or part of a team. You might be out in the field or in an office setting utilizing analytical and critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills. Your work could span any number of paths that include positions in: scientific research & development; biotechnology; bioinformatics;  research related to behavioral sciences, biological, chemical, physics, pharmaceutical, environmental, or patents;  forensic science, and scientific consulting.

Visit BioHealth Industry to learn more about career options

Looking for more? Check out our Graduate School Resources

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Resources to Explore

JOB SKILLS, FUNCTIONS, OUTLOOK, & SALARIES

ONET OnLine:  O*NET OnLine has detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, and more.

Occupational Outlook Handbook:  The OOH can help you find career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations.

CareerOneStop: A source for career exploration, training & jobs. Sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

Glassdoor.com: Jobs, Company Reviews, Salaries, Interviews, Know Your Worth.

Ask a Badger

Listen to UW-Madison L&S alum Anne Kinney talk about her journey to a career at NASA.

From therapeutic and drug development to translational and integrated science, Wisconsin has it all. Accounting for one of the states' largest economic drivers, biotech and biopharma continue to flourish in Wisconsin.

BioForward-www.bioforward.org

Get Experience

Here, you’ll find many resources to help you apply to jobs and internships in this industry as well as view featured employers that may be helpful on your path to success!

Microinternships

While searching for a job or internship, check out microinternships for a great way to get real work experience. These short-term, professional, and paid opportunities can be completed in a matter of hours.

Offered through the Parker Dewey platform, these opportunities also allow you to demonstrate your skills while working on professional projects from real employers. Given the current state of things, tasks can often be carried out remotely.

Browse Opportunities

If I want to work in scientific research, do I need to go to graduate school or receive further training or certification? If yes, what is the right program(s) for me? Does it make sense to do a Ph.D. or a professional master’s program? Talk to your career & internship specialist, your academic advisor, and faculty members to learn more and to find out about different programs, here are a few resources to get you started:

GradReady

Dig Deeper

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BUILD YOUR EXPERIENCE & SKILLS

Search for Internships, Volunteer, Part-time/Full-time jobs.

Explore position requirements and qualifications to find out what skills and experiences you need for jobs of interest.

Handshake: Find opportunities specifically for UW students and recent grads.

Indeed Research: A job search site listing positions at the local and national level.

LinkedIn: part-time and full-time opportunities local and international.

Idealist.org: Non-profit jobs and internships.

Glassdoor: Search by job title or company.

Wisc.jobs: Find jobs in the State of Wisconsin.

BioFoward Wisconsin: See Resources and Career Center.

BioSpace: Search for jobs, news, career advice and other related resources.

c&en Jobs: jobs board for American Chemical Society.

Zintellect: Government and private sector internships, jobs, fellowships and scholarships.

ApexAerotekSpherion – search by location and seek job search help from staffing agencies.

University Research Park Company Profiles – search individual company sites for jobs.

How do I find research opportunities on campus?

Research Opportunities – Wisconsin Discovery Portal

Research Opportunities – Undergraduate Research Scholars

Research Opportunities – Additional Opportunities

Types of Undergraduate Research

Finding a Mentor – WISCIENCE BioCommons

Campus Resources

Types of Undergraduate Research – learn the different ways to get experience.

UW-Madison Undergraduate Research Programs – campus introduction.

UW-Madison Student Job Center – search for Science-Tech-Eng-Math positions.

International Internship Program – do research and go aboard.

Wisconsin Discovery Portal – search for specific faculty across campus.

Waisman Center – human development, developmental disabilities, neurodegenerative diseases.

National Science Foundation – Research Experiences for Undergraduates. (REU)

Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) – search departments across UW-Madison.

Graduate School

If you want to use your science and research background and advance in your field, do you need to go to graduate school or receive further training or certification to build specific skills? If yes, what is the right program(s) for you? Does it make sense to do a Ph.D. or a professional master’s program? Talk to your career & internship specialist, your academic advisor, and faculty members to learn more and to find out about different programs, here are a few resources to get you started: The Top PhD Resource on the WebScience Magazine listingGradschools.comMS in Biotechnology, UW-Madison SMPH

Check-out Hello PhD Podcast to learn more about managing graduate school and tips for navigating post-graduation career steps.

CONNECT WITH PROFESSIONALS

LinkedIn: Build your online presence by developing a profile, search for alumni in your major to learn the different paths you could consider, search for opportunities and more!

Use the Higher Education section to access guides on how to best use LinkedIn.

Badger Bridge: Whether you are fresh off Bascom Hill, a seasoned professional, or still a student, Badger Bridge is for you! Consider this your go-to resource for:

  • Seeking alumni connections for professional advice
  • Making a career change
  • Connecting with alumni in your city or cities across the globe
  • Considering relocating

Technical & Professional Development Skills

Promega Student Resource Center

For when your PI asks you to try something new. Or your mentee is having trouble figuring it out. Or you’re just trying to get a job. The Student Resource Center is exactly what you’re looking for. Explore Promega’s collection of resources related to common cellular and molecular biology techniques, as well as our guide to navigating the early stages of your career.

Jobs & Internships on Handshake

Set up your profile in Handshake to take care of everything you need to explore career events, manage your campus interviews and apply to jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers around the country.

SuccessWorks now offers an exciting resource for you called Big Interview. This great tool helps you learn, practice, and analyze your interviewing skills.

It’s easy to sign up, it’s free, so check it out and help your future self ace your next interview!

Create Your Free Account

Looking to get started now? We have made a specialized assignment for you to practice the four most common interview questions. Just go to the “Assignments Tab” and enter code: 3237e2

Check out these courses

ENTERING RESEARCH I

Prerequisites: None

Seminar course designed primarily for sophomores or transfer students to begin independent research in chemistry. Taken concurrently with 1-3 research credits with a faculty member. Supports independent research experience.

EXPLORING RESEARCH IN SCIENCE

Prerequisites: None

Exploring Research in Science is an opportunity for first-year, second-year, and transfer students to gain an understanding of the scientific research landscape at UW-Madison, to explore ways that scientists from different disciplines approach to research, and to build skills in thinking like a scientist. The course will provide guidance on finding a research mentor and will expose students to science careers.

ANIMAL BIOLOGY LABORATORY

Prerequisites: None

General concepts of animal biology at an introductory level. The general body plans and strategies used to accomplish the basic tasks of staying alive of 9 major animal groups are studied using preserved and live animals. The diversity within each group of animals is studied by integrating the body plans with the lifestyle and ecology of the animals. The evolutionary relationships between animals is a major part of the course. Dissections of earthworm, freshwater mussel, squid, sea star, and rat also aid the study of these general principles.

EXPLORING BIOLOGY

Prerequisites: None

First-year seminar for aspiring bioscience majors to explore biology topics before taking the introductory biology sequence their second year. Introduces students to the core concepts of biology, scientific thinking, bioscience careers, and campus opportunities. (Not an introduction to biology course.)