What can I do with my human biosciences degree?

Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with a human biosciences degree and learn how you can stand out to graduate employers.

We encourage you to:

  • undertake career planning and research
  • build your networks, meet employers and graduates
  • gain essential work experience during your course
  • attend career fairs and events
  • continually develop your skills and knowledge
  • get involved with relevant clubs and societies
  • visit the Careers Service for advice.

Knowledge and skills

Your study of human biosciences will provide you with knowledge and skills that are valuable to employers:

  • problem-solving and critical thinking skills through biomedical investigation and the exploration of psychological and social aspects of health behaviour
  • data analysis, evaluation and interpretation through conducting and evaluating experiments
  • practical laboratory skills through the application of advanced laboratory techniques
  • organisation and project management through independent research
  • accuracy and attention to detail through undertaking complex laboratory observations and measurements
  • oral and written communication through report writing and presenting
  • teamworking skills through group activities.

Career options

A human biosciences degree from the University of Plymouth will prepare you for a range of biomedical and healthcare science roles in NHS and public health laboratories. It also opens up a variety of opportunities in industry, for example in the research, development and manufacture of pharmaceutical and biotechnology products used in healthcare, cosmetics, food and agriculture.

The broad nature of the human biosciences programme means that graduates will have the foundations for both life science and physiological science careers within the NHS. Additionally, the study of health choices and behaviours prepares students for a variety of public health roles in the NHS, government bodies and the charity sector. The NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme and Scientist Training Programme are open to graduates.

Other healthcare professions such as medicine, dentistry, nursing and allied health are also viable options. Medicine and dentistry are often popular choices, though students should be aware that the high academic and personal requirements of these programmes mean that it is wise to have a back-up plan. Emerging professions such as Physician Associate could be worth exploring.

Opportunities in the commercial sector are varied, including drug discovery, product development, clinical trials, regulatory affairs, quality assurance, operations, sales and many more. Students with an interest in data may wish to explore the growing field of informatics, where organisations seek to create value out of the wealth of data now available. A few graduates carve out careers in science communication through roles in the media, science policy or public relations.

Research-based careers are another pathway. This is a very competitive field, so exploring a wide range of options across higher education institutions, research institutes, charities and industry can be advantageous.

Researching your career options

With such a wide range of careers open to you as a human biosciences graduate, it is important to make sure you explore and research your options thoroughly so that you can make informed decisions about your future.  

The following websites provide helpful information for career research:

Employment Opportunities

Below is a snapshot of what some of University of Plymouth Human Biosciences graduates told us they were doing 15 months after graduation. For some graduates, these jobs serve as stepping stones to other roles by providing relevant workplace experience.

  • Microbiologist
  • Clerical Assistant
  • Science Teacher
  • Trainee Teacher
  • Trainee Account
  • Laboratory Analyst
  • Medical Laboratory Assistant
  • Microbiology Technician
  • Senior Quality Assurance Assistant
  • Performance Assistant

Employers

  • Dorothy Stringer
  • MGS Laboratories
  • MHA Larking Gowen
  • Ministry of Education
  • Network Rail
  • Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Paignton Academy
  • Perrigo
  • South West Water
  • The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Warwick University

Further study

Some of the careers chosen by Human Biosciences graduates will require or benefit from further study, so this should be considered carefully. The University of Plymouth offers the following postgraduate study options related biomedical science:  

There is a progression pathway onto the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (BMBS) and Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) at the end of Stage 1. Up to ten ring-fenced places are available via competitive entry.

You should consider the financial implications of further study as well as selecting a programme that suits your interests, learning style and future career direction. The following websites are a good starting point for exploring postgraduate options, but you may also benefit from talking to a Careers Consultant about your circumstances.  

Some useful websites to help you find a suitable post-graduate programme;  

Careers service support

Accessing support from the Careers Service couldn’t be easier, come along to the Careers Service Helpdesk in the Student Hub or access 24/7 online resources.

There is a wide range of support available from skills workshops to events, placements and internships advice, 1-2-1 appointments and help getting started with LinkedIn.

Our bite-sized skills workshops can give your career the boost it needs. Choose from a range of topics:

  • Effective career planning
  • Job hunting techniques
  • Finding part-time work
  • CVs and interviews
  • Mastering LinkedIn
  • And more

Workshops are delivered by the Careers Service, however they are also an opportunity to learn from your peers, share experiences and ask questions. Visit myCareer to see the full range of activities and to book your place.

Connect with graduates

Build your network and job sector knowledge using LinkedIn alumni’s tool. This will allow you to see the career journeys of graduates from your programme, the qualifications they completed, the skills they developed and employers they worked for. You can then ‘connect’ with people of interest.

  • Search LinkedIn for ‘University of Plymouth’
  • Click on ‘Alumni’
  • Filter the results by subject, sector, company or location
For more information about the alumni tool click on LinkedIn alumni tool guide. If you are looking for help to set up or learn how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile, click on the LinkedIn guide for students or come to one of our workshops.

Other advice and guidance

Undertaking work experience in your first and second years will help you stand out from the crowd when the time comes for you to complete applications for graduate employment and further study. Work experience develops valuable skills and qualities that employers are looking for and is essential for many roles. It can also help you to confirm or rule out particular career choices. Furthermore, experience in the workplace can bring you into contact with people who may be able to assist you at the beginning of your career.  

You have plenty of options open to you. You could apply for a placement year, work part-time around your studies, undertake volunteering or approach organisations directly to negotiate short periods of work experience. Some organisations offer paid internships over the summer or of one year’s duration.

The University of Plymouth Students’ Union offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities.

Clubs and Societies 

Engaging in a sport or society shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities, it also helps you improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members can develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion.

You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to human biosciences or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.    

Tutor and academic support

Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.