Explore Careers

Our undergraduate program provides training for students planning careers in the chemical and biological sciences and also for those in biology, health related disciplines, earth sciences, secondary education, business, journalism and law.

Sample Careers

Studying chemistry and biochemistry provides students with a foundation for employment in:

  • Atmospheric science
  • Environmental science
  • Forensic science
  • Geological sciences
  • Pharmacy and pharmacology
  • Medicine and medicinal chemistry
  • Neuroscience
  • Organic and inorganic industry
  • Colleges and universities
  • Private research labs and organizations
  • Medical technology and biotechnology
  • Molecular biology
  • Materials science
  • Colleges and universities

Undergraduate chemistry students have gone on to careers working as:

  • Laboratory manager
  • Forensic chemist
  • Environmental protection scientist
  • Science policy analyst
  • Basic and applied researcher
  • Instructor/high school teacher
  • Entrepreneur
  • Science or Health communication specialist
  • Art restoration specialist
  • Cheminformatics specialist
  • Bioinformatics specialist
  • Public health specialist

Career Planning Resources

In addition to advising within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, there are many campus resources to help guide your career search. At the UO Career Center, career counselors and advisors can assist with career exploration, networking, and the job search process. Counselors coach students on interview skills and preparing application materials, including resumes, CVs and cover letters.

UOTeach: MEd in Curriculum & Teaching: UOTeach is a graduate program that leads to a teaching license and a master’s of education degree in Curriculum and Teaching. The program offers two strands: Elementary (Grades K-5) and Middle/High School (Grades 6-12). The full-time program begins once per year in summer and takes five terms (summer through the following summer term) to complete. It is a cohort-based program (students are taught as a community rather than as a collection of individuals) in which students take courses in a specified sequence.

UO Advanced Materials Analysis and Characterization Master’s Degree Program: An accelerated, industry-focused, interdisciplinary master’s program to analyze and characterize advanced materials using cutting-edge, high-tech tools.

UO Electrochemistry Masters Internship Program: The Oregon Center for Electrochemistry’s masters-level internship program attracts chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering students and provides nationally unique training including rigorous foundational electrochemical theory, team- and inquiry-based laboratory work, numerical simulation and engineering of electrochemical systems, and experience tackling industry-sponsored, team research projects.

UO Knight Campus Graduate Internship Program: The Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact is the home for a number of graduate training programs including biotechnology, polymers, and semiconductors. The purpose of these programs is to train scientists in an accelerated academic format and provide internship opportunities for real-world knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in the industrial environment.

Additional Resources

myIDP: Science Careers’ myIDP tool provides exercises to help you examine your skills, interests, and values, as well as a list of 20 scientific career paths with a prediction of which ones best fit your skills and interests.

American Chemical Society Chemistry Careers:The employment world for chemical professionals can be divided into five main sectors: industry, academia, government, non-profit, and entrepreneurship. Explore your options here!

2015 Annual Top Employer Survey in Biotech and Pharma IndustriesScience magazine has a long history of providing a forum for scientists to express their opinions about the biotech and pharma industry. For 2015, they gathered the responses from 5,700 scientists who had plenty to say about the industry. The firms landing at the top of the 2015 Science Careers Top Employers Survey harness innovation and create workplaces that recruit the brightest scientific minds. See who ranked top this year.


  • “So What Are You Going to Do with That?”: Finding Careers Outside Academia, by Susan Basalla and Maggie Debelius
  • The Chicago Guide to Your Career in Science: A Toolkit for Students and Postdocs, by Victor A. Bloomfield and Esam E. El-Fakahany
  • What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers, by Richard Nelson Bolles
  • Put Your Science to Work: The Take-Charge Career Guide for Scientists, by Peter Fiske
  • Finding Your North: Self-Help Strategies for Science-Related Careers, by Frederick L. Moore and Michael L. Penn

Biochemistry major Muhammad Khalifa

Research Investigator

Small Molecule Discovery & Development at Corteva Agriscience

“I wanted to be in pre-med because I was really interested in science. I had assumed at the time that people who liked science became doctors. By the time I got into my sophomore year, I realized that it wasn’t quite that way—there were many other paths to take—and I decided that a PhD in research is the one I wanted.””

Muhammad Khalifa, Biochemistry major, '14

Chemistry student Eric Nummedal

Life Sciences Consultant

L.E.K. Consulting

“The process of research is very intimately connected not only with expanding knowledge but expanding yourself. When you’re struggling with something, when you feel challenged, when you think you’re the stupidest person in the room—that should excite you. You have the opportunity to grow. Taking advantage of that opportunity is up to you.”

Eric Nummedal, Biochemistry major, '16

Chemistry major Dana Garves


Oregon BrewLab

“A brewery in Eugene was getting ready to release a big beer and they were worried about an infection in it. They asked me to confirm if there was an infection and what the price would be to test it in Ninkasi’s lab. I didn’t know what to say, so I said the price to test is a bottle of beer to sample. After that, it started snowballing.”

Dana Garves, Chemistry major, '10

Why Study Chemistry or Biochemistry?

Read about examples of career paths and actual alumni jobs.