Post Graduation Opportunities
WHAT DO OUR MAJORS DO UPON GRADUATION?
The short answer to the above question is that the great majority go on to jobs and careers where their college science education is put to use. Some data to support this claim comes from KSU students graduating in the sixteen-year period of 1993 through 2007 with biological sciences majors. During that time period there were 1,809 graduates (from 92 to 138 per year) distributed among our three majors. Over forty percent of this group proceeded directly to advanced educational programs including both graduate and professional health schools. Another 50 percent entered the traditional job market and the remaining 10% initially did things like volunteer for a service organization, e.g. Peace Corp or Americorp, fulfill military obligations, start a family or join a family business. At least one-fifth of these latter two groups returned, within five years of receiving their bachelor=s degrees, to a university for an advanced degree program. The following table and paragraphs provide more details on the initial careers of students entering professional/graduate schools or the job market.
|1992-2006 Graduates Admitted to Professional Health Schools
|Professional Health Programs
||Schools to which theses Graduates were Admitted
||Univ. of Kansas (175); UHS Osteopathic in K.C. (24); Univ. of Nebraska (6); Univ. TX Med. Schls. (6); Mayo (3); Creighton (3), Univ. of Iowa (3), and one to two students each to 20 other medical schools, including Johns Hopkins, Albert Einstein, Univ. of Chicago, Univ. of Michigan, St. Louis Univ., Duke and Yale.
||Almost all to Kansas State University Vet School
Univ. of Missouri at K.C. (35); Univ. of Nebraska (9); Creighton Univ. (6) and one to two each to three other dental schools
Univ. of Missouri-St. Louis (13); Southern College of Optometry (13); Houston Univ. (8); Illinois Coll. of Optometry (6); Oklahoma College of Opt. (5); and one or two each to seven other optometry schools.
Almost all at the two University of Kansas physical therapy programs (Wichita and K.C.)
(Clinical Lab Science)
All in past decade. At University of Kansas Medical School Program in Wichita (12); Washington Univ. in St. Louis, and Baylor College of Medicine & Univ. of Colorado (1 each)
||Other includes pharmacy, podiatry and chiropractic
1992-2007 Graduates Admitted to Graduate School Programs
During that same fifteen-year period at least 200 students were admitted into graduate programs in the biological sciences to pursue Masters and/or Ph.D. programs. These students scattered to at least 50 different universities including Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Case Western Reserve, Colorado, Colorado State, Creighton, California (Davis), Emory, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia State, Houston, Iowa, Iowa State, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas (Lawrence), Kansas Medical School (KC), Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Miami (Florida), Marshall, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, North Texas State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Penn State, Princeton, Purdue, Rhode Island, Scripps Institute of Oceanology, Texas (Austin), Texas Medical School (Galveston), Texas Medical School (Southwestern), Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Univ. Texas at Galveston, Washington (Seattle), Washington University D.C., Washington University at St. Louis, Wisconsin (Madison), Wisconsin (Stevens Point), and Yale.
Some of the subject specialty areas pursued by these 200 students in their graduate programs include animal behavior, animal pathology, animal physiology, aquatic biology, bioengineering, biochemistry, biomedical science, cell biology, developmental biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, epidemiology, forensic science, foods and nutrition, fisheries biology, genetics, genetic counseling, immunology, kinesiology, marine biology, microbiology, medical microbiology, mycology, plant pathology, plant systematics, plant molecular/cellular/developmental biology, neurobiology, oceanography, public health biology, physiology, reproductive biology, toxicology, virology, and wildlife biology. In addition to the breadth of disciplines within biology, there are numerous applications of biological knowledge in many other disciplines. Hence, at least 30 of the 1992-2007 graduates elected to enter graduate programs in such areas as business, education, engineering, geology, gerontology, law, political science and public administration.
ENTERING THE JOB MARKET WITH A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN THE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
With respect to the 50% of our graduates that entered the job market with bachelor=s degrees between 1992 and 2006 there are several general comments that can be made. First, although companies do come on campus to interview prospective employees with biological training, the majority of our graduates find their first jobs by other methods. Unlike fields such as engineering (where a relatively small number of companies hire a huge number of people) in the biological sciences it=s a huge number of potential employers each looking to hire a smaller number of biologists. Many of these employers don=t come on campus, and expect you to come to them. Second, there are numerous jobs where the hiring company/agency are primarily looking for employees with a broad science background (biology, chemistry, math and physics) and the analytical thinking skills that usually accompany a science major. And, biologists often apply for (and get) jobs that are advertised for biochemists, chemists, and agriculture majors. Third, there are also many job openings where a specific biological expertise or experience is required, e.g. aseptic procedure skills or knowledge of and experience with recombinant DNA techniques. Hence, the elective courses you have taken and the lab/field experiences you have been involved with may dictate whether you will be considered for certain jobs.
The initial job title for over half of our students entering the job market with a bachelor's degree would be some type of research or laboratory technician. These lab tech jobs are found in the research laboratories of universities, numerous governmental agencies, and private industry (primarily pharmaceutical, food processing, agricultural, science equipment, and genetic engineering companies) as well as in testing and quality control laboratories of hospitals, governmental agencies, and private industry. Other biology related positions which several students have entered at the bachelor=s level include science teaching in the secondary schools, sales and marketing positions in agricultural, science publishing, science supply and pharmaceutical companies, zoo positions and as environmental specialists with ecology consulting firms.
Our most specialized degree programs are Microbiology and Fisheries & Wildlife Biology. Microbiologists going into the job market initially hold titles like microbiologist, research technician, medical technologist, research assistant and quality control supervisor. Their employers were hospitals, universities, medical centers, and research and quality control testing laboratories in government and industry (primarily pharmaceutical, serological and food processing). Positions taken by our Fisheries & Wildlife graduates that are considered directly in the field include those with state fish and game commissions, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Corp of Engineers, Soil Conservation Service, game law enforcement, zoos, commercial fish raising operations, and management positions with private wildlife conservation groups. About two-thirds of our Fisheries & Wildlife graduates obtain such jobs which is over double the national average.
In January 07 KSU Career and Employment Services completed its survey on the employment/education status of our December 05/May 06 bachelor=s degree graduates. In that 05/06 academic year the Division of Biology had 116 graduates (82 in biology, 17 in microbiology and 17 in fisheries/wildlife/conservation biology). In that survey sent (repeatedly) to our 116 graduates there was no response from 30 (26%), 44 (38%) were in advanced education programs (graduate and professional health schools), 39 were employed (34%) and 12 (10%) were seeking employment. Of those employed, 21 volunteered their salary information and their average starting salary was $30,500. The range in starting salary was from $20,000 to $52,000.
GETTING IN POSITION FOR POST-GRADUATION OPPORTUNITIES
There are a number of accomplishments/experiences/skills that will help you get accepted into graduate or professional health schools and be hired for the good job. First and foremost is to perform to the best of your abilities in the classroom. The initial post-graduate positions are much more limited if your grade transcript is heavily sprinkled with withdrawals, incompletes and D and F grades. Second, work to improve your communication skills, both spoken and written. There are plenty of opportunities to practice improved writing and speaking skills via courses, participation in student organizations and everyday contacts with teachers, college administrators and fellow students. Third, establish a reputation of trust and dependability, e.g. attend class regularly, when assigned a task (be it for a class, an organization or for an employer) do it well and complete it on time. Fourth, a university offers unique opportunities to broaden your understanding of people, places and ideas. You can gain some of that knowledge by attending special lectures, symposia and convocations, participating in student organizations, going to music and theatre events and visiting with a diversity of students and faculty. A final way to improve your employment/acceptance chances is to get some practical experience in your field while still an undergraduate. These experiences can be part time jobs, semester-length research projects under faculty supervision, summer research programs/internships and various observation or volunteer possibilities. We believe the Division of Biology does an excellent job in advertising these experiences, encouraging your involvement and actually providing many of them, e.g. part time jobs and research projects.
The Division of Biology's Office of Undergraduate Studies posts notices of available employment positions and provides information about how to go about applying for graduate and professional schools. You should use that information and consult with your advisor when undertaking the weighty decision of what to do after leaving KSU. Finally, you should be aware that KSU has an excellent Career Planning and Placement Center located in Holtz Hall. Their services can be valuable to you, and as you begin your senior year (or even before) contact them, listen to their counsel, and let them assist you in whatever way they can in finding employment.