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Natural Sciences

So what can I do with a Natural Sciences Degree ?

Well quite a lot actually……. have a look at the official statistics produced by our Careers, Employment and Enterprise Centre.

For many jobs the skills you have developed are more important that the content of your degree, and a Science degree will have developed a wealth of skills in you. These include:-

  • Ability to research, evaluate, critically interpret and analyse information
  • Communication in written, verbal and presentational forms
  • Ability to work methodically & accurately
  • Decision making and ability to self-manage

On top of these you will have many other skills you’ve developed through part-time and holiday jobs, hobbies and life experience. Remember to use these to market yourself.

Ok, so I’ve got skills, but what jobs can I do ?

Well you’ve got a huge choice in fact! You have 3 choices.

  1. Pick a job directly related to your degree e.g. Research, Laboratory Technician, Secondary School Teacher, Conservation Officer, Forensics, Medical Sales Representative etc.
  2. Choose a job where a Science Degree is useful e.g. Alternative Therapy, Professional Allied to Medicine, Librarian, Accountant, Production Manager, Information Scientist, Database Administrator, Operational Researcher, Technical author, Patent Examiner, Scientific Journalist, Publishing, Food and Drink Industry
  3. Go for one of about 40% of graduate jobs open to graduates of any discipline (including Science) e.g. Civil Service, Police Force, Management Consultancy, Retail Management, Community Education, Banking & Finance, etc.
Ah, but do people really get these jobs ?

Well these are some of the jobs which recent Natural Science Graduates have gone onto straight from Durham University: Landscape Architect, Mortgage Broker, Risk Manager, Environmental Engineer, Corporate Tax Associate, Export Manager, Technical Sales Rep, Trainee Accountant, Actuarial Technician, Recruitment Officer, Science Teacher, Commercial Food Trainee, Investment Assistant etc.

So which career is for me ?

Well that’s up to you, but we can help you work out what you want from your career and which options are going to suit you best. Don’t be frightened to come and speak to a Careers Adviser – we don’t bite – honest !

Maybe I don’t want a job straight away. Many Science graduates choose to go on to study for a postgraduate qualification. This may be because they have a love of the subject, and wish to research it further or because most posts in research require further study. Alternatively it may be that you are interested in a different career which requires a further qualification. Common course types include 9 month Postgraduate Diplomas, 1 or 2 year Masters degrees and 3 year PhDs. Again recent graduates from the Natural Science course at Durham have progressed down these routes e.g. Financial Management, Geological Research, Service Management, Mathematical Research, Physiotherapy, Primary and Secondary Teaching, Social Science Research, Law, Adult and Veterinary Nursing, Chartered Accountancy and Scientific Research.

If Postgraduate study doesn’t excite you, perhaps you’d prefer to be your own boss. If you would like to consider starting your own business you can get a great deal of valuable help and advice at

Or maybe you want a bit of adventure and a break, before settling down to the serious business of a career. There are loads of different options for taking a year out, but a great deal of planning is required for most, so it’s best to start early.

For more information on any of these options come to the Careers Advisory Service.

Working Futures – forecasts of employment prospects to 2012 (University of Warwick 2004)

This survey has thrown up some key predictions regarding the labour market that you will enter, either upon graduation or after further postgraduate study. These are useful to bear in mind when making decision about your future career.

  • In long term employment in banking is predicted to decline and only a small increase in insurance employment is expected
  • From 2005 there is expected to be an increased need for professional advice on mergers, acquisitions, IT and business restructuring.
  • The strongest growth is expected in the service sector, distribution, hotel & catering, health and education.
  • The highest rate of growth is expected in business and public service, which includes law, accountancy, management consultancy, social work, public service administration, architects, town planners, surveyors, librarians and in conservation.
  • Substantial increases are also predicted for teaching, research and science & technology, including engineering.
OK, so I know what I want to do, what next ?

Well whatever you choose to do, make sure you start your research nice and early. For graduate training schemes, many employers start recruiting in the autumn and some have closing dates for applications in October or November. For example the closing date for the Civil Service Faststream is in November. If you are considering going straight into a job after graduation be sure to collect a Prospects’ or Hobson’s graduate directory in the first few weeks of the autumn semester. We also produce an on-line Finalist Vacancies weekly guide which has vacancies for after graduation.

Whatever job you plan to apply for, it is important that you present yourself as effectively as possible, so that you will stand a chance of getting to the next stage in the recruitment process. Most employers initially request a CV or application form, which are often on-line. Before you rush into applying it is worth getting some help and advice. Each term there is a range of workshops run by the careers advisory service, which include application techniques. For dates call into the Careers Advisory Service or see

As well as these group sessions, students can prepare a draft CV or application form, and book an appointment at the applications for a Careers Adviser to check.

Sometimes the last stage of recruitment involves attending an assessment centre, where you may be required to sit graduate aptitude tests. Again practice helps, and we offer the chance to sit numerical and verbal reasoning tests in proper test conditions, and receive immediate feedback. Again these sessions should be booked in advance in CAS or via our website.

So, whatever hoops employers ask you to jump through, we can help. Remember we do this every day, but we don’t underestimate how daunting it is for you. Even silly questions are worth asking !

Right, so where is the Careers Advisory Service and when can I use it ?

We’re based in the Palatine Building and are normally open Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, although for the definitie information you are recommended to visit: the CEEC website. During this time you can use the information room. If you would like to speak to a Careers Adviser, you don’t need to make an appointment. There are advisers on duty most mornings and afternoons. Just drop in and ask at reception. There may be a short wait, but you will then see an adviser for a 15 minute interview. As career planning is a process you may find that you need to come back for several short interviews. Alternatively one appointment may meet your needs, depending upon your circumstances. If the adviser feels you need an in-depth interview a longer appointment can then be booked with your subject careers adviser.