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Career opportunities

Taking IB Plant and Microbial Sciences doesn't restrict you to studying plants in Part II. There are also all the Microbiological, Genetic, Ecological, Zoological and Biochemical options. If you were to carry on with Plant Sciences however, your employment prospects on graduating would be excellent. Data provided by the University's Careers Service show that a variety of employment has been taken up in recent years by our graduates.

Almost half have gone on to do post-graduate research (both at universities and research institutes). A number of our graduates have secured employment in the pharmaceutical industry, indicating that you don't have to be trained in animal biology to go into medically-related research. In addition, our teaching in plant biotechnology and microbiology will ensure that careers in these rapidly-expanding fields will be open to our graduates.

Alumni after Part II Plant Sciences

Plant Science Graduates - Class of 2013-14

Gender: Female

Current employment/place of study: University of Edinburgh, PhD

Hopes for the future: I’m working on a PhD project with Dr Steven Spoel on the chemical biology of NPR3 and NPR4, which are proteins involved in the immune response.

Memories, experiences and influences whilst at the Department of Plant Sciences: I loved my time in the Plants department! Everyone was so friendly and there was so much support if you were struggling! The second year trip to Portugal was obviously fantastic and loads of fun. All the lecturers were wonderful, but in particular my mini-review and project supervisors supported me throughout my degree and particularly in my final year, which I would not have survived without the jokes, feedback and general encouragement.

IA Subjects: Biology of Cells, Physiology of Organisms, Maths for Biologists, Chemistry.

IB Subjects: Plant Sciences, Pharmacology, Biochemistry.

Any summer placements/projects undertaken as an undergraduate: Investigating variation in the expression pattern of PPA6 in C3 and C4 plants with Prof Julian Hibberd.

 
Plant Science Graduates - Class of 2012-13

Gender: Male

Current employment/place of study: PhD student, University of Edinburgh

Achievements (Publications/Projects/Promotions/Career Changes): Two review articles published/ currently undertaking a placement in Malawi at a crop research institute.

Hopes for the future: Continue with plant sciences (in academia or otherwise).

Memories, experiences and influences whilst at the Department of Plant Sciences: Amazing place to study, inspiring and friendly teaching staff, great learning environment and lots of fun. Many fond memories of my time at plant sciences. The Lisbon trip great too!

IA Subjects: Physiology of Organisms, Biology of the Cell, Evolution and Behaviour, Mathematical Biology.

IB Subjects: Plant and Microbial Sciences, Physiology, Cell and Developmental Biology.

Any summer placements/projects undertaken as an undergraduate: Internship in summer between 2nd/3rd year at Edinburgh University.

Gender: Female

Current employment/place of study: PhD student, University of Reading

Achievements (Publications/Projects/Promotions/Career Changes): Since graduating I have: interned at UNEP-WCMC, researched ecophysiology at INRA, interned at RBG Kew, and am now in my 1st year of a PhD in tropical paleoecology. Publications to come!

Hopes for the future: To enjoy my PhD! And then to hopefully get a post-doc in ecological paleoecology.

Memories, experiences and influences whilst at the Department of Plant Sciences: The tea room which transformed into the beer room on Friday afternoons, the hilarity of the IB fieldtrip to Portugal, drinking tea in the lovely library, Dr Hanke singing at the beginning of every lecture, and generally the great people!

IA Subjects: Chemistry, Biology of Cells, Evolution and Behaviour, Mathematical Biology.

IB Subjects: Ecology, Plant and Microbial Sciences, Animal Biology.

Any summer placements/projects undertaken as an undergraduate: University of Cambridge. Two month placement on the EU funded FunDivEurope research programme looking at forest biodiversity and its effect on above-ground productivity. I travelled to Poland to assist with field work (tree-coring) and analysed samples in the lab in Cambridge as well. This fed into my final year research project.

Gender: Female

Current employment/place of study: University of York

Achievements (Publications/Projects/Promotions/Career Changes): Funded PhD project (I’m currently doing a Masters by research).

Hopes for the future: Academia.

Memories, experiences and influences whilst at the Department of Plant Sciences: I really loved it. The department was so friendly and engaging and very enthusiastic. The evolution of organelles course in 3rd year really caught my interest and led me to the project I’m working on. The year group really seemed like a cohesive group – we would all help each other out. I think Portugal definitely helped!

IA Subjects: Biology of Cells, Evolution and Behaviour, Physiology, Maths for Biologists.

IB Subjects: Plant and Microbial Sciences, Cell and Developmental Biology, Animal Zoology.

Any summer placements/projects undertaken as an undergraduate: With Beverley Glover and Sam Brockington, between 2nd and 3rd year, on the evolutionary history of the cuticle.

Gender: Male

Current employment/place of study: AECOM

Achievements (Publications/Projects/Promotions/Career Changes): Published masters research in major journal on transcription in the apicoplast of the Malaria parasite.  Now working as a Graduate Consultant for AECOM in their Sustainability team, helping buildings and major housing developments achieve a high sustainability rating.

Hopes for the future: Make the world a healthier and happier place.

Memories, experiences and influences whilst at the Department of Plant Sciences: Amazing times in the tea room, being in one of the most open and friendly and collaborative places not just in Cambridge, but anywhere I’ve ever been in the world.  There’s nothing like the Plant Sciences department!

IA Subjects: Maths A, Physics, Chemistry, Biology of Cells.

IB Subjects: Plant and Microbial Sciences, BMB, Cell and Developmental Biology.

Any summer placements/projects undertaken as an undergraduate: Working on the C4 Rice project, which aims to stop mass malnutrition and hunger becoming a reality in 2050.  I was identifying transcript levels in two important cell-types essential to C4 photosynthesis; the genes I found were put into real field trials just a few months later!

Gender: Male

Current employment/place of study: University of Bristol

Achievements (Publications/Projects/Promotions/Career Changes): Studying for a PhD.

Hopes for the future: I hope to continue using my scientific knowledge and training, either in research or industry.

Memories, experiences and influences whilst at the Department of Plant Sciences: A brilliant and friendly department. Excellent and inspiring teaching, but the atmosphere in the department was always lighthearted. The 1B field trip to Portugal was definitely a highlight.

IA Subjects: Biology of Cells, Chemistry, Mathematical Biology and Physiology of Organisms.

IB Subjects: Cell and Developmental Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Plant and Microbial Sciences.

Any summer placements/projects undertaken as an undergraduate: I spent 8 weeks in the summer after part IB investigating algal superoxide production in Prof Alison Smith's lab. This was an enjoyable and useful experience and I would recommend a summer project to anyone considering research.

 

Plant Science Graduates - Class of 2011-12

Gender: Female

Current employment/place of study: PhD student, University of Oxford

Achievements (Publications/Projects/Promotions/Career Changes):  I did my research project in David Baulcombe's lab and that was part of the impetus that made me apply for first a scholarship to study in America and subsequently a PhD. During my time at Harvard I worked on C. elegans, not plants, and it made me realise how underappreciated plants are as a model organism to work on.

Memories, experiences and influences whilst at the Department of Plant Sciences: I had a fantastic time in the Plant Department during my undergraduate. It was the perfect balance of academic and friendly that made learning so enjoyable.

IA Subjects: Physiology of Organisms, Biology of Cells, Chemistry, Mathematical Biology.

IB Subjects: Plant and Microbial Sciences, Pathology, Cell and Developmental Biology.

Gender: Female

Current employment/place of study: Schools’ Liaison Officer, Emmanuel College

Achievements (Publications/Projects/Promotions/Career Changes): After working for a year as a Horticultural Consultant at an Environmental Consultancy Firm (ADAS), I started work as Emmanuel College’s Schools’ Liaison Officer with a view to doing my teacher training in the future.

Hopes for the future: I am in the process of applying for a mixture of teacher training placements and more hands-on science roles. I’m finding that I am able to apply to a really wide range of scientific jobs and just need to be a little bit more decisive!

Memories, experiences and influences whilst at the Department of Plant Sciences: An incredible range of lecture topics, relaxed lectures with plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion and a great feeling of community. I felt very supported and encouraged doing my research project and trends essay in the lab and in the tea room – part IIs are really made to feel at home. I’ve been in contact with my supervisors since graduating and they continue to offer great advice and support.

IA Subjects: Biology of Cells, Evolution and Behaviour, Mathematical Biology, Physiology of Organisms.

IB Subjects: Ecology, Plant and Microbial Sciences, Pathology.

Any summer placements/projects undertaken as an undergraduate: “The effect of heterologous expression of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase in Nicotiana benthamiana on the movement of tobacco mosaic virus,” I investigated the movement of a GFP-tagged virus through plants transformed with a gene anticipated to enhance antiviral defences with Dr John Carr.

Gender: Female

Current employment/place of study: Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP (PwC) Sustainability and Climate Change consultancy department (and loving it!)

Achievements (Publications/Projects/Promotions/Career Changes): Mphil in Environmental Policy (Land Economy Department University of Cambridge).
PwC consulting projects for private and public sector clients include- life cycle assessment work, ecosystem service valuation, climate risk modelling, environmental policy analysis, green energy technology analysis.

Hopes for the future: Help to develop an accounting framework for nature to encourage businesses to consider their impacts on the environment.  Work for a large multinational company to improve their sustainability strategy. 

Memories, experiences and influences whilst at the Department of Plant Sciences: Inspiring teaching and very supportive tutors- always available for extra questions or chats, great atmosphere across the department e.g. beer afternoons! Great variety of topics both in lectures and department talks. Loved the trips to the botanic gardens and other field trips.

IA Subjects: Maths A, Chemistry, Biology of Cells, Physiology of Organisms.

IB Subjects: HPS, Ecology, Plant and Microbial Sciences.

 

Read more: alumni pre-2011.