Alternative career options

Published: November 25, 2021

Goodbye academia? Alternative career options

Degree in your hand, but not sure what to do next? Get some inspiration on what (alternative) career options you have with a background in the natural sciences. Here you find a list with many possibilities.

You can check out our SoundCloud channel if you want to hear a range of interviews with scientists about their career paths. 


Job fields



  • Chemical
  • Biotech
  • Pharma
  • Instruments



We´ve written a number of articles about academic careers. Please see also our publication list for more articles. 

PhD in industry and My industry PhD

My last day as a postdoc

Postdoc or not?


Patent law

  • Patent lawyer in law firm or industry (National and/ or European patent lawyer)
  • National or European patent office
  • Patent engineer


Politics and government institutions

Job fields



  • International organisations: e.g. OPCW, European Commission
  • Think tanks
  • Research and testing facilities, e.g. Bundesamt für Materialforschung und ‑prüfung (BAM)
  • TÜV
  • Foundations like Stiftung Warentest
  • Industry clusters (e.g. biotech parks)
  • NGOs and Foundations (e.g. Volkswagen- or Robert-Bosch-Foundation)





  • Editor
  • Science writing



Freelancer or company founder


Not sure what to do next? On the Science Careers homepage you can do the myIDP test for free. This test might help you explore career possibilities that fits you best. You´ll find more of these analysis tools in our Career resource Introspection.


Several of our Workshops and talks deal with (alternative) career options. Our workshop PhD! and, next? provides orientation about your own wishes and the career paths you can take. Our talk Graduated and now? – A look at career options is tightly focused on exploring career options. 


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