Alternative Careers

There are many careers outside of clinical medicine that may be of interest to students pursuing the MD degree. A great place to start learning more is the Association of American Medical Colleges website, in particular the alternative careers section with information about these fields:

  • Public health and service
  • Public policy and government
  • Communication and journalism
  • Informatics
  • Pharmaceutical research
  • Consulting

In addition, we've noted more resources below, including dual-degree programs; on-campus recruitment; SLIM: Systems, Leadership, Integration, and Management; alumni relations; and more.

Dual-Degree Programs

Pursue a dual-degree program to gain knowledge and skills in another field of interest. Many medical students each year opt to extend their education an extra year to complete Columbia's Master of Public Health or Master of Business Administration program, in addition to their MD degree. Read more about our dual-degree programs.

On-Campus Recruitment

Our Office of Student Affairs partners with the Mailman School of Pubic Health's Office of Career Services to bring companies and organizations to Columbia University Medical Center for recruitment opportunities in health care consulting, international health policy, research, and more. These opportunities are for medical school graduates not considering a residency program. Recent organizations seeking to recruit our students are the Boston Consulting Group, Doctors Without Borders, and McKinsey and Company.

SLIM: Systems, Leadership, Integration, and Management

SLIM works to provide opportunities for our medical students to gain the background knowledge and essential problem-solving skills to lead health care into the future. Part of its mission is to provide students the ability to become agents of health system transformation through exposure to performance improvement theory and practice. Recent internships completed by students involved with SLIM are placements at the Montefiore Office of Strategic Planning, Massachusetts General Hospital Administrative Fellowship Program, Centere Corporation, and UCLA Health Administrative Fellowship Program. These are wonderful opportunities for students considering alternative careers to engage in early in their medical school training.

Alumni Relations

Our Office of Alumni Relations helps to connect students to alumni working in alternative careers in the corporate, nonprofit, and governmental sectors throughout the United States and abroad. Many alumni are open to speaking to current students about their career trajectories.

Additional Resources from External Groups