School of Life Sciences

Careers for life sciences' students

There is strong demand for graduates trained in life sciences. A degree in the biological or biomedical sciences will equip you with highly valued employability skills including those in communication, critical thinking, data analysis, experimental work, information technology, problem solving, team working and time management.

Support for career development is provided throughout our undergraduate degrees both at a school level, with dedicated careers events for each academic year, and at the University level through the Careers and Employability Service . Our graduates are well qualified for a variety of rewarding and interesting careers.



Typical graduate destinations

There are graduate entry or fast-track positions in many professions including:

Careers in Biological and Biomedical Sciences:

  • Clinical and Health Science
  • Environmental Science
  • Forensics
  • Health Care
  • Microbiology
  • Technical Services

Careers in Business, Finance and Information Technology:

  • Business Administration
  • Computing
  • Financial Services
  • Management
  • Market Research
  • Public Relations
  • Retail and Sales Consultancy

Careers in the Public Sector:

  • Civil Service
  • Education
  • Social and Community Work

Many undergraduates undertake further training by progressing onto postgraduate degrees (masters and PhD courses). Others choose to pursue professional qualifications, such as those required for careers in accounting, dentistry, law, medicine and teaching.

Most recent career destinations data can be found on the Careers and Employability Service page.

Graduate profiles

Alex Tate, Bafta winning Zoology student


In 2010, Zoology alumnus Alex Tate, won a television Bafta for the ground-breaking specialist factual series ‘Inside Nature’s Giants’. The series, which features autopsies of some of the world’s biggest animals, was made by Windfall Films for Channel 4.

Dr Francis Gilbert, Alex’s tutor while at Nottingham, remembered that Alex wanted a career in wildlife film-making from his first day here, and specifically chose the Zoology degree course because of specialist modules in Biological Imaging and Photography. We are pleased that the School of Life Sciences has since launched one of the only postgraduate (MSc) Biological Photography and Imaging courses in the UK, and one of these graduates has just been employed by Windfall Films!

I have never followed other people. The way to succeed is perhaps to do things your own way — to break the mould. You are never going to become a master of what you want to do unless you train properly or have mentors to guide you. You also have got to show initiative and try and do things other people haven’t done — that will get you noticed. There are so many people looking for the same job you have got to try and do something different and stand out. 





Abigail Hearn

Abigail Hearn

BSc Zoology - Researcher and educational development officer at the African Elephant Research Unit, South Africa

After graduating, I moved to South Africa to train as a professional safari guide. During my placement at the African Elephant Research Unit I was offered a job as a researcher, volunteer co-ordinator and educational development officer. I am teaching handlers and school groups about elephants as well as designing and conducting preliminary research and analysis on elephants, zebra, jackal and giraffe at various parks. It's amazing being able to see elephants outside my window every day! My Zoology degree gave me the skills to design and conduct research projects: for instance, the Conservation module is relevant to my working in mapping distributions of zebra harems and elephants. Due to modules such as Biological Photography, I have been being commissioned to sell elephant pictures and create displays for the museum. I can't thank my tutor and all my lecturers enough at Nottingham - without them I would not have made it here to my dream job.

Read about Abi in this Daily Mail article »

Laura McGuinness


Laura McGuinness

BSc Biology - Managing Commissioning Editor

Throughout my degree I enjoyed researching the literature more than working in the lab and I knew that when I left university I wanted a role that facilitated communication within the scientific community. Since graduating I have been working for Future Science Group, a publishing company based in North London. At first, I was mainly responsible for the peer review process, evaluating the quality of the articles submitted. I also researched topics and identified experts in the field across a range of journals titles. The company has a structured objective-setting and appraisal system and over the years this has helped me to realise my strengths and any identify areas for improvement, allowing me to build on my skills and move up within the company. As a Managing Commissioning Editor I spend my days keeping up-to-date on advances in the medical literature, reading and evaluating potential content, as well as liaising with our authors, most of whom internationally renowned experts in the field. I also line manage a team of editors and assistant editors, overseeing their training and development and helping each of them to reach their full potential within the role. My degree not only equipped me with a sound understanding of the basics in biology, as well as the ability to read and disseminate information in the scientific literature, I also learnt how to work independently and manage my time; these skills are vital in the fast-paced, deadline-driven environment that is the publishing world.


Sophie Griffiths

BSc Biology - Tax Consultant

Since graduating and taking a year off, I started my career with ‘Deloitte’. Contrary to common belief that accountancy is boring (especially tax!), the opportunities that I am given on a day-to-day basis make it anything but the latter. From my first week, I have been out to meetings with clients, as well as personally being involved in providing key advice overseas. I am also furthering my education by taking professional exams next year, with all training provided by Deloitte. Although I’m not doing anything directly science based, I still use the transferrable skills that I learnt during my degree – it all comes in to play within the business world.

Hattie Spray


Hattie Spray

BSc Zoology - Consultant Ecologist for Thomson Ecology

As a consultant ecologist I offer advice on ecological matters to both public and private sector clients. My work varies from monitoring river habitats across E. Anglia to protected species surveys in Dorset…before report writing back in the office! Possibly the most important part of my job is client liaison - explaining how biodiversity can be preserved even alongside large-scale developments to the benefit of all involved.


Shankar Suresh

BSc Biochemistry and Genetics – PhD student at the University of Birmingham

Exposure to research at Nottingham convinced me to continue in academia, and I am currently a PhD student at the University of Birmingham studying the effect of mesenchymal stem cells in liver disease. My degree from Nottingham was certainly an advantage during the application process, and the laboratory training received during my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees has proved invaluable during my doctoral studies.


Huda Alfardus

BSc Human Genetics - PhD student at the University of Nottingham

I was awarded a PhD scholarship from the children's brain tumour research centre at Nottingham following the completion of my undergraduate degree here at the university where I have been given so many opportunities to undertake research along side my studies and learn principal laboratory techniques. My passion for research developed even further when I had the courage from my personal tutor to attend and present at national and international conferences. The way I think has never been the same since I started my course. I became an independent learner who is able to critically analyse scientific work, thanks to the up-to-date lectures and local seminars that discussed journal papers and state-of-the-art technologies.


Karl Edwards

BSc Biology – Teach First Leadership Development Officer

When I left university I took a place as a participant on the Teach First programme. Teach First is an independent charity that aims to reduce the correlation between parental income and educational attainment of pupils by taking graduates and training them to be teachers. The programme consists of six weeks intensive training and then a minimum of two years teaching in a challenging school. I spent two years teaching science at Djanogly City Academy, spending the majority of my second year as the second-in-department role, alongside an additional responsibility as the Academy’s STEM co-ordinator. Having completed my two years on the programme I now work for Teach First as a leadership development officer, which means that I help participants who are currently on the scheme develop to their full leadership potential, and have the maximum impact possible on their pupils.


Useful links

School of Life Sciences

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham NG7 2UH

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