Many graduates end up in government related positions for a fulfilling career at the federal, state or local level both domestically and abroad.

Search for  jobs and internship opportunities in Public Policy, Government Relations, Public Affairs, Political Campaigns, Non-Profit, Law, Communications, and Foreign Affairs at Daybook. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Career Outlook section can help you learn about emerging fields that might require your skills. Learn about working for the federal government and to make sense of the position rankings (PhDs will want to apply for positions GS 11 or higher) and learn all the acronyms. They also have information on how to find and decode vacancies, along with tips on the application process.

You can also search the Cornell Doctoral Alumni Career Outcomes for names of organizations that graduates have gone on to join.

Federal Government

Creating a Profile and Applying to US Federal Positions

Great tips can be found at Do note that positions advertised on this site are often only open for 3-5 days. Therefore it is imperative to have a profile and most of your materials prepared in advance.

Jobs and Fellowships

Look for short-term hands-on opportunities for graduate students and postdocs, many of which are paid.

The federal government has openings for talent from virtually any field. Check out their thematically focused listings that include the job series codes for your field.

Career Possibilities in Federal Agencies

There are many federal agencies, offices and services that employ individuals with PhDs. A master list of federally funded R&D centers is now maintained by the National Science Foundation. A few examples:

  • Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Department of Energy (DoE)
  • Department of Homeland Security Research
  • Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • National Agricultural Library
  • National Technical Information Service
  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • National Institutes of Standards and Technologies (NIST)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
  • U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Defense Technical Information Center
  • National Library of Medicine
  • Office of Scientific and Technical Information (DOE)
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

See additional National Labs in a list here. Read a post on the difference between a job in industry vs. a national lab. In addition, campuses across the world seek chemical hygiene officers, biosafety experts, or core facility directors. There are many more positions requiring PhD expertise as part of another job function, such as risk analysis of new technology development for entrepreneurial companies, grant funded centers, career and professional development or teaching center offices. Be sure to broaden your search based on your transferrable skills.

State Government

Career Possibilities in State Government

Many State government agencies, offices and services employ individuals with PhDs; a few in New York State are provided as examples. There are many more positions requiring expertise as part of another job function, such as  in economic development..

  • Department of Agriculture and Markets
  • Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
  • Office of Children and Family Services
  • Department of Health
  • Office of Mental Health
  • Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
  • Empire State Development (ESD)
  • Environmental Health & Safety Association of NY (SHESHA)


From Cornell's State Relations Office


About New York State - Access the official site of New York state government

New York State Senate

New York State Assembly

Capital Semester - Cornell students can combine a full spring semester of Cornell credit with a paid legislative internship in Albany, New York

Cornell Cooperative Extension - Learn how CCE works with people to help improve lives and communities through partnerships that put experience and knowledge to work

Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities - Learn about the public policy interests of more than 100 independent colleges and universities in New York State

New York State Voter Information -Get informed about elections in New York State

Local Government

Thinking of Running for Office?

314Action offers some informational videos for candidate training on what is involved and tips to succeed in your campaign.

Find your local representatives

Get involved by learning about the issues facing our municipality-you do not have to be a registered voter or a citizen to chime in your opinion on bills being considered, issues that affect you at Cornell and to practice civic engagement.

New York:

Find my senator

Find my assemblymember

Remember, even if you are ineligible to vote in New York, your local government officials want to hear your perspective and opinions since they also represent all of Cornell's population.

Cornell Career Services Canvas Module-Government

Use your Cornell NetID to access pages that explain:

What is unique about applying to federal government jobs?