Internships & Careers
Chemistry & Biochemistry
Many of our majors complete at least one internship before graduation. Both Suffolk faculty and the Career Development Center can help you find a placement. Recent internships include:
- Mass General Hospital Cancer Center
- New England Biolabs
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- Michigan State University
- Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (Deer Island Treatment Plant)
- Tamkang University (Taiwan)
- University of Chicago
Our majors provide excellent preparation for entry-level positions in scientific research, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and healthcare, as well as medical and dental school and graduate study. Employers of our alumni include:
- Harvard Medical School & Dana Farber Research Center
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- Cogen Therapeutics
- Compass Therapeutics
- Mass General Hospital Cancer Center
- X-Chem, Inc.
- Ocean Spray
Environmental Science & Studies
Our students pursue internships and careers at environmentally focused nonprofits or government agencies, as well as in the public health sector. This program also provides excellent preparation for graduate study in fields such as ecology, environmental health, environmental policy, environmental science, environmental studies, law, public administration, and urban planning.
Whether you’re advocating for better air quality in urban areas or finding new ways to deliver healthy food to people in food deserts, Suffolk will help you find a way to turn ideas into reality. After establishing a foundation with coursework in both science and humanities, you’ll tackle research projects and service-learning classes at environmental organizations. In addition to this hands-on experience, you’ll also have the option to complete an internship. Suffolk places students at many organizations both locally and nationwide, including:
- Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- The Sierra Club
- The Youth Climate Action Network
The Environmental Studies program will prepare you for careers at government agencies, environmentally focused nonprofits, advocacy and education groups, think tanks, and in sustainability and sustainable food production. Recent alumni are working at:
- Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE)
- Clean Water Action, an advocacy group for clean, safe, and affordable water
- ImmunoGen, a biotechnology company that develops innovative anticancer therapies
- Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance
- Legislative aid to a representative on the Massachusetts Committee on Climate Change
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Global Catalysts, a group that provides sustainable technology in the public and private sector
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health
- MRAG Americas, Inc., which provides consulting services to conserve aquatic resources
- Vineyard Power Cooperative, a community-owned cooperative dedicated to sustainable energy on Martha’s Vineyard
Preparing for Graduate Study
Many students decide to continue their studies in graduate school to obtain a masters or PhD. Master degrees generally require two years for completion while Ph.D. degrees may require up to six years. Ph.D. programs often focus on an independent research project with the guidance of a thesis advisor. A Ph.D. is usually required in order to obtain a faculty position at a four-year college or university while a masters degree qualifies you for advanced laboratory positions.
Graduate school fees and tuition vary considerably between disciplines and programs. Students often pay for tuition while obtaining a masters degree. In contrast, most Ph.D. programs waive tuition for graduate students and provide a modest monthly stipend. For example, a graduate student typically earns ~$25,000-35,000 per year, depending on the program. Fellowships and teaching assistantships are also often available to finance graduate work. As programs and applications vary depending on the program and field, students are advised to consult with their academic advisors to obtain more specific information.
Health professional schools enrolling our graduates include:
- Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
- New York College of Podiatric Medicine
- Simmons Nursing School
- Stony Brook School of Medicine
- University of Massachusetts Medical School
- University of California-Davis
- University of New Hampshire
- University of Oregon
- University of Rhode Island
Students majoring in chemistry, biochemistry, or a related field are able to pursue a graduate degree in a wide range of studies. To name a few, there are graduate programs in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, biological and biomedical sciences, genetic counseling, biophysics, computational biology, chemical biology, toxicology, neuroscience, pharmacology, virology, chemical engineering, chemical physics, chemistry, medicinal chemistry, polymer chemistry and material science.
The Peterson’s Guide, found online and in the library, is useful for searching for graduate schools in a particular field. You can search this comprehensive list by graduate program (e.g. polymer chemistry) or by institution name.
After identifying the institutions and graduate programs of interest, you can obtain the corresponding application materials. Applications are usually due Dec. 1 or Jan. 1. Therefore, students wishing to attend graduate school immediately after graduation are advised to obtain the necessary application materials in the fall of their senior year.
Applications often require that the student take the General Record Examination (GRE). The General GRE evaluates verbal and math skills, as well as critical thinking and analytical writing skills. Students should take these exams at latest in the fall of their senior year if they are applying that fall, as the scores should be reported by the time of application. Some students choose to take the GRE over the summer before their senior year.
Some programs also require GRE subject tests. There are six GRE subject exams, which test knowledge in a particular field: 1) Biology, 2) Chemistry, 3) Literature in English, 4) Mathematics, 5) Physics, and 6) Psychology. Students majoring in chemistry will likely do best on the chemistry GRE. Students in biochemistry are encouraged to look at the subject content on the Chemistry and Biology subject GREs to determine which subject exam best matches their preparation.
For some programs, students whose native language is not English may have to submit their TOEFL examination scores to show their proficiency in English. The ACS has some helpful advice on their website for international students interested in attending graduate school in the United States. See the following website.
For many program applications, students will need to submit a personal statement and/or a research statement. Personal statements typically are short essays in which the student describes their short-term and long-term professional goals, and why they are interested in that particular graduate program. Research statements allow a student to describe any prior research experiences, the details of their project, and the significance of their work. These research experiences can be obtained on campus in the form of a CHEM 428/429 project or off campus in the form of an internship. Please have a professor or friend with good writing skills give you feedback on your essays before you submit your application.
Students considering graduate study in the sciences are strongly encouraged to have had an independent research laboratory experience prior to graduate school in order to write a compelling research statement. If a research experience is not possible, a student often has the alternative to describe why they did not have such an opportunity and explain what other experiences have prepared them for graduate school. Students without independent undergraduate research projects may want to consider working for one to two years in a technical position in an academic, company, or governmental laboratory before applying to graduate school.
Graduate programs often require up to four recommendation letters. These letters are most often from professors. If you have had research experience, one of your letters should come from your research supervisor. You should contact your professor several weeks in advance of the application deadline to request a letter to make sure they have adequate time to write it. In addition, you should provide your reference with your CV/resume and speak to them about your long-term goals prior to their writing your recommendation letter.
Graduate admissions committees will generally evaluate a student based on a combination of their grades, GRE scores, statements, research experience, and letters of recommendation. Oftentimes, letters of recommendation are considered to be the most important components of your application.
The ACS website “Planning for Graduate Work in Chemistry” provides useful information about graduate school in chemistry and related fields. The ACS Career Navigator website contains links to help you get a job, write a resume, network, and interview.