Internships, Careers and Graduate School
The Biology Department is committed to giving students opportunities and guidance to be successful internship, graduate school, and career candidates.
The Biology Department assists students in finding internships. We regularly provide announcements of research and grant opportunities. Recently our students have:
- Worked at the National Institute of Health with some of the leading scientists in the world in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research
- Shadowed patients at OrthoCarolina, one of the nation's leading orthopedic practices, to identify areas of potential improvement
- Trained in either laboratory research or clinical research through the Pediatric Oncology Education program at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
- Performed research in the field with Operation Wallacea, a network of academics from European and North American universities, who design and implement biodiversity and conservation management research programs
The Biology Department provides students with the courses, research and publication opportunities, networking prospects and personal guidance they need to continue their studies at graduate and medical school. Examples of graduate and medical schools our biology alumni have attended recently include Harvard, Stanford, Washington University, Johns Hopkins, Yale, Princeton, University of Chicago, and Duke as well as many others. Students are often accepted to multiple schools and get to select where they want to attend.
Career choices for graduates with training in the biological sciences are as diverse as the discipline of biology itself. Some of these careers are highly specialized, while others are not. Jobs for biologists are found in the private sector, with federal agencies, and with nonprofit organizations. Consult our Career Ideas for Biology Majors document for a list of careers biology students might want to consider.
Planning Your Future
The process of preparing for your career begins as a first-year student at Davidson, and we hope that you explore different career options during your time here.
How do You Decide on a Career as a Biologist?
- Determine what you like to do, what interests you the most, and what you do well.
- Determine careers that will incorporate your interests and strengths as you define them.
- Do some research on careers that interest you:
- Interview professionals in those fields—take them to lunch or coffee. Ask them how they got their current job. What courses or graduate programs would they recommend as preparation for a career in their field?
- Gather information from various sources, surf the web, and ask everyone you know (family members, friends, the Matthews Center, your advisor, Davidson alumni, etc.). Learn as much as possible about the daily lives/responsibilities of individuals in various careers that interest you. Can you see yourself in that role? What additional training, if any, will you need to enter that career?
- Get some experience: internships, summer employment, volunteering, etc., in your areas of interest.
- Obtain skills (writing, computer applications, and using research equipment) that are appropriate to the field you hope to pursue.
- Determine if your career interest requires graduate or professional school.
Finding A Job
After graduation, one of your career options is to find employment. Some biology graduates may work for a year or several years before deciding to attend a graduate or professional school, while others may immediately move into career-track employment and forego further schooling.
Some steps to assist you in your job search are:
- Think about your career goals and approach your job search with those goals in mind.
- Talk to biology faculty and any other individuals who may have information on jobs that fit your interests. Hone your networking skills early!
- You may want to target a geographical area or look for job opportunities at a graduate or professional school that you may be applying to at a later date.
- Visit the Matthews Center and pay attention to their emails blasts that include job opportunities. The Biology Department may also occasionally send emails about job opportunities.
- Identify Davidson alums working in an area you want to pursue. Ask them for aid in finding a position or contacts they may have that would be useful to you.
- Develop your resume and send it to potential employers.
- Sharpen your interviewing skills. Again, ask the Matthews Center for help in this area or ask some biology faculty members if they would be willing to give you a practice interview.