Jobs & Post CC Advice

Katie doing research

Biology is a diverse science and provides a wide variety of opportunities at all levels of training and experience. See your advisor or an appropriate professor in the department concerning these options, or other opportunities to utilize your biology training. The Career Center also has many internships, job opportunities, and information available.

A) Opportunities Before Graduation

The Wildlife Society

Ornithology Exchange

Society of Conservation Biology

American Institute of Biology Sciences

EVINTERNSHIPS listserv – this is a listserv maintained by OBE with internship and job postings from various sources – if you are interested in joining this resource page, contact Shane Heschel in OBE via email.


B) Jobs After Graduation

i. Competitive Post-Graduate Fellowships and Scholarships, such as a Fulbright, Rhodes, Soros, or Watson. see

ii. Teaching in Elementary or Secondary Schools. A student must plan well in advance of graduation for certification for teaching in public schools. This can be done at Colorado College by planning with the Education Department for the required courses and to practice teaching. Teaching in certain private schools does not require a certificate, but the courses and the practice of teaching are very helpful. If the scheduling of classes is arranged in the sophomore year, and careful planning begins in the freshman year, it is possible to major in OBE and be certified within the four years. For more information on the CC MAT, visit

iii. Health Sciences. By the end of the sophomore year, you should be aware of course requirements and admission tests for the particular schools to which you expect to apply. Be sure to go to the meetings called by the Health Professions Advisor, and direct questions to this person.

iv. OBE Paraprofessional. This position in the OBE Department involves assisting and teaching in the laboratory, field and classroom, equipment care and other duties. Applications from graduating Colorado College OBE majors or other qualified applicants are accepted by the OBE Department during the second semester of each school year. Contact the department for more information.

v. Additional links
* National Academy of Science Publications - Careers in Science and Engineering
* American Society for Microbiology - Careers




Funding for graduate work and other post-CC opportunities

A. Competition for national fellowships is very intense, but Colorado College students have been successful in past years in obtaining the following fellowships. Watch for announcements for applications and interviews during the fall of senior year.

  1. Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. For a year of independent study and travel abroad. The proposal should consist of a unique plan, representing a personal passion that is not strictly academic. No formal academic association is expected.
  2. Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. For graduate study with the ultimate goal of teaching at the college level.
  3. National Science Foundation Fellowship. For graduate study as a research scientist, toward a Ph.D.
  4. Hughes Graduate Student Grants.
  5. S. Fulbright. Post-baccalaureate Fellowships. For international study and research following graduation.
  6. Marshall and Rhodes Fellowships. For study in the U.K.
  7. See more at .

B. Institutional Funding. Graduate schools expect to give partial support to incoming students. Some are scholarships (or fellowships) and some are part-time employment as research assistants or teaching assistants. This type of employment is really a paid internship while taking course work and doing research; it may be required as part of the degree program in some schools. In many MCB-type programs, the graduate program pays all tuition and fees and also pays students a stipend for living expenses.

C. Professional Health Science Schools. Student aid is available. There are some fellowships and scholarships available, primarily through the institution; others are available through some private agencies. Contact the Health Sciences Advisor for further information.

C) Applying to Graduate Schools

Information about many types of programs at many universities can be found on department bulletin boards, at the library or you can browse particular programs on college websites. Applications are usually due during November and December of the senior year; the GRE is currently not required or only optional for most Ecology programs, but should be available at this time if it’s mandatory. Admission is usually determined by undergraduate research experiences, college GPA, major GPA, letters of recommendation and statement of interests. Some graduate programs require two courses in organic chemistry as well as a second course in calculus or statistics or modeling. It is necessary to show evidence of ability to conduct research; for example, a senior thesis, more than one block of BE309/409, or summer research project(s) that culminated in public presentation of your work. Since almost all programs will require you to submit a CV or resume, it is important to showcase your research ability (i.e., list all talks/posters you have presented at OBE day or at conferences, and list any potential publications you are working on). A graduate school is more likely to accept a person who shows a definite direction in a particular field rather than one who is only interested in biology in general. High levels of motivation and ability to think independently, demonstrated by meaningful research experience, are perhaps the most desirable characteristics. Admission to graduate school usually means that financial help is available in the form of a research assistantship, teaching assistantship, scholarship, or fellowship.

  1. Getting Started. During your sophomore and junior years you should seriously consider your interests. In what areas of biology would you prefer to specialize? How committed are you, or will you be, to research or teaching? Research is more emphasized for faculty at larger R1 universities, while teaching is more of a focus for smaller colleges. Your motivation is as important as the area of study. The job market is extremely competitive, but there is always a need for qualified, motivated people. Many graduate schools prefer applicants who have worked as interns, or in postgraduate jobs, prior to applying to grad school. In general, graduate schools might focus more on the research experiences of a prospective student than other factors when making admission decisions. Consider taking a year or more to enhance your resume, your skills, and your research experience in order to be a competitive applicant. Browse through the graduate school catalogues online. Talk with your advisor and the faculty member most knowledgeable in the field in which you are interested. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Ask about schools in which you are interested. The critical factor in selecting a graduate school is its faculty. Review the current literature to identify people doing research in your areas of interest and where they are. The principal investigators in your field will have established graduate programs, unless they are associated with pure research institutions. It is very important to also look at PI’s website if they have one, it can provide you valuable information on their current research topics, current and past lab members, their mentorship style and whether they are recruiting students in the upcoming cycle. It is common that most of the professors you reach out to might not be taking any students, and that is okay – you can always apply in another year.

  1. Application Procedures.When you have narrowed the choice of schools, carefully prepare the applications. It is essential to reach out to potential advisors before the application to know if they are taking students, to schedule a conversation with them. This step is crucial because it helps you determine whether their mentorship style might work well for you, their expectations for incoming graduate students and any potential project you can work in their labs. When your potential advisor agrees to chat with you, consider this as a mini-interview: often potential advisors will ask you why you are interested in their lab, what you expect from them, the reason to pursue a graduate study, and the job you want to do afterwards. Also ask them questions about their program, selection procedures, availability of funding, etc. If at all possible, visit the schools and professors, perhaps during the summer before your senior year. But most graduate schools will invite top candidates to visit for in-person interviews in February or March. Be sure to talk with graduate students in that lab and the department. Attendance at regional or national scientific meetings frequently affords a student an opportunity to meet with various leaders in your selected discipline. It is can be advantageous to write an NSF graduate fellowship in order to attempt to get your own grant, but that depends on the program and/or advisor you apply to work with.                                                                                                                                                                                                

  2. Graduate Record Exam. The exam should be taken in the fall of your senior year. You should take both the general exam and one of the two Biology exams (General Biology or Biochemistry, Cell, and Molecular Biology). The scores may then be sent with applications. Many graduate schools do not require the GRE and most do not require the biology subject test – you can find out whether you need to take the GRE by searching on a particular graduate program that you are interested in.

See and for more information. The Biology Subject exams can substitute for the Senior ETS Examination if you take them in the Fall and score high enough.

4. Additional links

* Guide to Graduate Studies in Ornithology

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