Bioscience Careers

The strong research element combined with the specialist and generic skills training of the postgraduate Bioscience degrees equips our graduates for a wide range of careers and is internationally recognised.

A substantial proportion of our graduates undertake PhDs either at Leeds or elsewhere, whilst others enter employment in diverse posts ranging from bioscience-related research through to scientific publication, teacher training, health and safety and pharmaceutical market research.  Examples of posts held by recent MSc graduates include:

  • PhD positions in the UK, USA and overseas e.g. at the Max Planck Institute, Germany
  • Research post at Harvard School of Public Health, Botswana
  • Trainee Cytogeneticist, UK
  • Commissioning Editor/Scientific Publishing, UK
  • Research Fellow, National Centre for Biological Sciences, India
  • Clinical Researcher, Kent and Medway Cancer Network and NHS Trust, UK
  • Research Technician, University of Warwickshire/University of Oxford, UK
  • Graduate Medical Degree, UK
  • Bioassay analyst, Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, UK
  • Laboratory technician, Exova Group Limited
  • Quality Management at Johnson & Johnson Lifescan Technologies
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education, UK
  • Trainee Embryologist, UK
  • Research Assistant, Qatar National Research Fund, Qatar
  • Sypol, Health and Safety Services, UK
  • Research Executive, Adelphi International Research, UK
  • Biopharmaceutical Experimental Officer, Covance, UK

PhD in Leeds

The Faculty offers a wide range of postgraduate research opportunities. Browse our online database to find out about our research staff and current research interests and visit our research news bulletin for all the latest research stories.

Alumni Profiles

Chelsea Brain

Chelsea Brain: MSc Bioscience (2010) secured a position as a Doctoral Student Researcher with Newcastle University and Scottish Bioenergy, a university spin-out company in Newcastle. This allows her to not only use her bioscience skills, but also to be involved on the business side of things too.

Hayley Herrick

Hayley Herrick: MSc Bioscience (Infection and Immunity, 2010) Research Technician at the University of Leeds

Verity Clawson

Verity Clawson: MSc Bioscience (2009) Category Development, Reckitt Benckser (RB)

Rajana Pillai

Rajana Pillai: MSc Bioscience (2009) Junior Research Fellow (molecular biology), Avesthagen Ltd, Karnataka, India

Sam Mason

Sam Mason: MSc Bioscience 2005 PhD student

Rutger Clarke: MSc Bioscience (2010) Senior Clinical Trials Assistant at St James' Institute of Oncology


Biodiversity and Conservation Careers

Our graduates have gone on to a very varied range of biodiversity and conservation jobs and careers around the world. We know that the subject knowledge and training we provide is excellent, but we are also trying to produce well-rounded graduates who have the skills, experience and confidence to succeed in a challenging job market. Transferable skills are a key component of our degrees, opening up diverse opportunities for our graduates. A significant proportion of both MSc and MRes graduates go onto to study for a PhD. There is intense competition for posts in conservation-related areas in the UK (and probably everywhere). A Masters degree improves your chances, but is no guarantee. Potential employers look for academic qualifications in combination with practical experience — so voluntary work is very important.

The course has strong links with Natural England, which provides staff to teach on certain modules. We also have strong ties with commercial ecological consultancies locally and nationally, providing students for us to train as well as recruiting graduates.

All of the following organisations have recruited employees from our biodiversity and conservation Masters:

  • Arkive: a global initiative, gathering together into one centralised digital library, films, photographs and audio recordings of the world’s species.
  • Natural England is a government agency which champions the conservation of wildlife, geology and wild places in England. Its aim " is to create a better natural environment that covers all of our urban, country and coastal landscapes, along with all of the animals, plants and other organisms that live with us."
  • The Environment Agency is the leading public body for protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales.
  • The National Trust works to preserve and protect the coastline, countryside and buildings of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • The Society for Environmental Exploration (SEE) was established in 1989 as a non-profit conservation non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystem integrity. Since its inception, SEE has hosted a myriad of global conservation projects under the banner name of Frontier. 
  • URS is an international consultancy providing a comprehensive range of integrated planning, management and environmental services in the built and natural environments throughout the world.

Graduate Destinations 

  • Most of our participants from outside the EU were already in employment before coming to Leeds, and are continuing their careers
  • Amongst European participants, the largest group have entered PhD programmes
  • Natural England has been the largest single employer of our graduates
  • Ecological consultancies are the other major employers of our graduates in the UK 
  • Many Yorkshire Wildlife Trust employees are Leeds graduates 
  • Overseas, recent graduates are working on cheetah conservation in Botswana and for Frontier expeditions

Other recent graduate employers include:

  • Bradford Metropolitan District Council
  • Chester Zoo
  • Exmoor National Park
  • Forestry Commission
  • IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature)
  • Leeds City Council
  • Marine Conservation Society
  • Newfound Harbor Marine Institute, Florida
  • OPAL (Open Air Laboratories Network)
  • The Environment Agency
  • The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • The Society for Environmental Exploration

Read graduate profiles

A graduation bonus for our students

The Graduate School is an institutional member of the Tropical Biology Association. This means that the TBA reserves at least one place on their excellent field courses (in places such as Madagascar, Tanzania and Uganda) for our Biodiversity & Conservation graduates. The places are not free, but offer great training for anyone interested in tropical ecology.

University of Leeds Careers Centre

The University of Leeds has its own specialist careers centre to help students. In 2007 around 450 employers and over 13,000 students took part in the Career Centre's varied programme of events. The Centre can help students to:

  • plan what to do after university
  • attend careers fairs and employer presentations
  • write a CV
  • improve job applications
  • look for work experience
  • find vacancies

Alumni Mentoring Network

Registered students have access to our Alumni Mentoring network. Networking is one of the most effective ways to find out more about different career opportunities. In an increasingly competitive employment market it is vital to be well-informed and there really is no substitute for talking to people who have first hand experience of the work that interests you. Leeds Alumni Mentoring Network gives students the chance to make contact with Leeds alumni (graduates) to explore career options, gain tips on entry into specific careers and receive supportive advice on developing your career plans. Find out more about our alumni.

Leeds for Life

Our Leeds for Life scheme helps all students to recognise and develop the qualities they are gaining from the whole of their University of Leeds experience - both from their course and the huge range of co-curricular opportunities on offer. We want Leeds students to go out into the world and make a difference, in whatever field they choose. We believe that the research-led education at Leeds gives our students the confidence and skills to do just that.

Personal Tutors

All Masters students are assigned a personal tutor, whom they meet in timetabled individual meetings to discuss their progress and personal development .

Careers resources

  • Search jobs in science, research, academic & related employment in the UK & abroad.

  • Useful information for graduates covering a wide range of sectors and occupations.

  • Information and profiles on jobs in the UK and overseas.

The UK Centre for Bioscience based at the University of Leeds also offer some useful advice for students with a biosciences degree. Download their 'A Bioscience degree - why and what next?' guide.

Scientific Societies

Scientific societies run a range of activities such as organizing conferences, publishing or sponsoring journals in their field and running workshops.  There are many benefits to joining a professional society, including:

  • newsletters with lots of interesting articles
  • scientific meeting and conference alerts in your research area
  • opportunities to apply for travel grants to attend conferences and workshops