Career Planning

The National Academy of Science, UCSD and the Department of Bioengineering have all taken a close interest in employment trends among students graduating with advanced degrees. All the national level, excellent career planning advice can be obtained from the NAS booklet Careers in Science and Engineering.

Students graduating with degrees in Bioengineering have a wide range of career options, and demand for graduates has been very high. Recent graduates have found academic positions in research and teaching universities, professional and research positions in the bioengineering and biotechnology industry, business opportunities in the private sector, careers as scientists and professionals in Federal and State government agencies. A significant proportion of Ph.D. graduates continue to post-doctoral training positions lasting 6 months to 3 years. The UC San Diego Career Services Center offers a range of programs and services especially for graduate students.

Statistical data on graduate placement can be found in the website Office of Graduate Studies (OGS)

UC San Diego Bioengineering Faculty Assessment of Employment Prospects for Bioengineering Doctoral Graduates

The UC San Diego Bioengineering faculty expects sustained growth in academic positions for bioengineering Ph.D. graduates. Most of these positions will be in Engineering degree programs in US universities due to the strong growth in demand for bioengineering training at the undergraduate and graduate levels and the formation of new bioengineering departments and programs. (Averaging one per year nationwide.) Similar growth is reported in other countries, including Europe, Canada and Australia. Whereas 2/3 of UCSD Bioengineering doctoral graduates who remain in academic employment had been employed exclusively at research intensive universities and institutions, we now anticipate over the next decade new programs will start to appear in private and state colleges with a smaller research base.

The current growth in demand for bioengineering faculty is stimulated by three main factors: a shift in student interest from traditional engineering programs, especially those associated with defense industries; the emergence of bioengineering as a recognized independent engineering discipline; and the sponsorship of the Whittier Foundation which has invested its entire endowment of over $300 million into US bioengineering research and education.

In the industry sector, employment growth will be slower to develop but the potential is larger than in the academic sector. In particular, concern about healthcare costs and reform has slowed this otherwise strong industry. Nevertheless growth in employment prospects for bioengineering graduates has continued to increase as the discipline and the industry become increasingly well established. For example, the largest biomedical device company in the US projects growth of 10 - 15% per year to maintain its market share. And these companies are increasingly recruiting from bioengineering departments instead of traditional engineering programs.

In summary continued strong growth in employment opportunities is expected for Bioengineering doctoral graduates. In the short term, demand from academic institutions will increase and exceed industrial demand. After 5 - 10 years strong growth in the bioengineering and biotechnology sectors will outpace growth in academic institutions.