Biotech & Pharma.

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If you are interested in the healthcare industry, consider the dynamic field of biotech and pharmaceuticals. Although many research positions require an advanced degree, there are entry level positions available in a range of areas –research sales, communications, regulatory compliance, research and financial analysis.

Pharmaceutical companies create the medicines that are sold to large drug manufacturers. The “Big Pharmaceutical” companies like Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and Merck now handle everything from R&D to product placement.

Biotech companies are usually smaller in size and more research-oriented. They typically create biologics that target specific genes to cure diseases, especially cancer. Some, like Amgen, Genentech and Chiron design, manufacture and sell their own products just like the large pharmaceuticals.

Research & Development positions in many companies are filled by PhD scientists. There are entry level positions, but getting one can be competitive and often requires having done an internship the summer before.

Sales and Marketing for these industries is highly lucrative. If you are self-proclaimed “people-person” then this might be a great way to put your science major to use.

If you’re a science major who is interested in economics you might want to get into Mergers and Acquisitions or Venture Capital.

Another route is to pursue the technology side of Biotechnology. Bioinformatics is the interpretation of research data. Biostatistics involves statistical analysis of research data.

Policy and Industry Compliance side of the field is another aspect of the industry. Check out postions within Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Salary Info

The entry-level position in many biotech and pharma companies is Biological Technician, Chemical Assistant, or something similar.

From the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics: 2016 Median Salary: $42,520

Tips for Success

  • Take both science and economics courses at Bowdoin.
  • Look at the Vault Guides on Biotech and Pharmaceuticals on
  • Look into summer internships at biotech/pharmaceutical companies.
  • Actively network with Bowdoin alumni working in pharmaceuticals.

Organizations & Internships

Below is a list of industry-based internship programs for undergraduates. Smaller biotech companies not listed here may also have opportunities for summer internships. An internship with a Biotech or Pharmaceutical company is the KEY to landing full-time employment after graduation. RIT maintains a list of internship opportunities in private companies.

*Indicates alumni employed at company


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