Career outcomes

Graduates who go places

The course material sounds fascinating, all that time using high-tech lab equipment seems really fun, and the internship opportunities mean you’ll graduate ready for the workforce. So what exactly does a pharmaceutical scientist do?

That’s a trickier question to answer than you might think. Although the course is primarily focused on understanding medicines, the skills you learn will translate to a range of chemistry-related or biomedical research opportunities. Our graduates can be found in industries from paint and coatings to cosmetics to food manufacturing. Here are some of our more common graduate destinations.

Biomedical researcher
Biomedical researchers investigate how the human body works with the aim of finding new ways to improve health. Usually based in a laboratory, you’ll conduct experiments and clinical tests, to record and report on the findings. In general, biomedical researchers within a university focus on improving tools and techniques, studying biological processes and the causes and progression of diseases.

Clinical research associate
As a clinical research associate you will use your experience in running experiments, gathering data and documenting the results during clinical trials. Typical employers for this role include clinical research organisations, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and even hospitals and universities. There is growing demand for this role in Australia, as we are one of the leading countries for phase one clinical trials.

Forensic scientist
Forensic science is the application of scientific techniques to help investigate crimes, accidents and other incidents. It’s not always like what you see on your favourite crime investigation TV shows, but can entail tasks such as analysing illicit drugs or suspect situations.

International development officer
For graduates with a desire to work in the social advancement field, one career path is to work with an International Non-Governmental Organization (“INGO”), like the World Health Organization (“WHO”). With a goal to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world, WHO staff work side by side with governments and other partners to ensure the highest attainable level of health for all people.

Regulatory affairs associate
Regulatory affairs involves ensuring a company and its products meet government regulations. For companies producing new products, it is a crucial discipline. A skilled regulatory affairs associate can be the difference an effective product reaching the market or not. Regulatory professionals are expected to know the ins and outs of the medical regulation, and to understand how changing regulations will impact their industry.

Graduate Jeremy Shonberg works for the Therapeutic Goods Administration as a pharmaceutical evaluator, just one aspect of regulatory affairs. Watch his story below.

Product developer/formulation scientist
Product development scientists work in a variety of industries, including food, biotechnology, pharmaceutical science, and medical device manufacturing. They are typically based in the lab, developing new foods, drugs, and medical technologies or researching and developing ways to enhance existing products.

Quality assurance and quality control chemist
These two areas in manufacturing are closely related, but they have important differences. Where QA is about ensuring that development and maintenance processes are adequate in order for a system to meet its objectives, QC is a set of activities designed to evaluate the developed products. QA is a systems-based career, often focused on designing, implementing and managing new systems for the manufacturing process to ensure their quality. A QC chemist is responsible for testing the products themselves. They prepare and test samples from all phases of a manufacturing or other handling process, with the goal of determining if the substance meets particular standards or requirements.

Medicinal chemist
Medicinal chemistry is an interdisciplinary science, drawing graduates from a range of different fields. A career in this area usually involves working on the development and testing of potentially therapeutic compounds. This might be within a company that is developing new products, for a research facility exploring new compounds, or at a regulatory agency testing pharmaceuticals for compliance.

Paints and protective coatings scientist
Not all pharmaceutical science graduates go on to work with products for human consumption. Graduates can find a role working on the development of many of the products we come into daily contact with, such as paints, pigments and protective coatings. These compounds are present in our living and working spaces, our clothing, our food packaging and many, many other products and environments. We are exposed to them on a regular basis, so manufacturers must study them and be sure that they are safe.

Pharmaceutical business
The pharmaceutical industry is big business, and our graduates who have a deep understanding of pharmaceutical products and how they are made are often primed to take on other roles within pharmaceutical companies depending on their interests. John Ta is just one example; after graduating with a Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science he started working at BASF in Research and Development, then moved onto Sales and Business Management and Technical Operations. He's currently a Manager of major projects.

Patent attorney
To be successfully taken to market, new discoveries need to be commercialised and a company’s intellectual property protected.
That’s where a patent attorney comes in. A patent attorney will typically work for a specialist consultancy, advising a range of clients. A law degree is not required, but patent attorneys do need a deep understanding of relevant legislation, potentially across a number of different countries and regions.

Skincare and cosmetics developer
Youthful, clear skin is big business, with skin care and cosmetic companies around the world spending millions on researching and developing new products. There are plenty of opportunities in this fast-moving industry, with competing companies striving for the next breakthrough that will give them the edge. It’s not just big name international cosmetic brands that offer employment
though. Many smaller companies exist in the field and it is ripe for entrepreneurs.