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Suggestions of what to do with a PhD in organic chemistry?

I am reposting this questions with some different wording/more explanation. The last time I tried to ask this question, I got answers that didn't correspond to what I was asking.

I am currently a PhD student at a highly ranked research university. Upon entering the program, I thought I wanted to be a research professor. Once I saw the lifestyle of professors, I decided it was not for me. I then considered a job in chemical industry, but several factors including my experiences as an intern in a large pharma company as well as those of friends have turned me off to these jobs as well. I am currently applying for an internship that will aid in my future career. I am currently considering:

1. Management consulting (This profession seemed to cause confusion in previous questions - I don't have space here to provide a definition, but there is a decent article on wikipedia if you are unsure what this means)

2. Patent Law (yes, attending law school)

Any other suggestions?


A lot of people in my program are undergoing the same issues. I am not particularly interested in doing a post-doc since I am not really interested in a research career. A few of my friends are looking into quantitative research for a bank, but they have more math oriented backgrounds than myself. Thanks!!

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    My answer is really out of curiosity. I am curious about what is the problem with the lifestyle of professors. My sister has a PhD in organic chemistry and has been teaching since she graduated back around 1980 or so. She is now in Virginia but has also taught at colleges in Montana, New Hampshire and another school in VA besides the one she is at now. She is married and has 2 sons. She has worked her way up to a respected position in her school. She is a very stable, responsible person. Is respectability an issue? I am curious what the problem would be? The most reasonable uses of a PhD in O. chem are teaching or research. My other sister has a PhD in Molecular Biology and she works in the private sector in research and at the management level.

    Ultimately you have to go where your heart leads you. Where is your passion? What do you love to do? What can you see yourself doing?

  • 1 decade ago

    Clearly, with a PHD in organic chem from a highly ranked university, you are a very smart individual. Thus, the world is your oyster. If you feel that academia is not the field for you (and i encourage you to rethink this) then you can always head to medical school or law school, both fields would be lucky to have you. You have to ask yourself the same questions as when you decided on graduate school: What exactly do you see yourself doing for the rest of your life? Hope that helps...

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