Alternative Careers

There are many careers outside of clinicial 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 Careers in Medicine site.  The CiM Alternative Careers section includes information about the following fields:

  • Public Health and Service (international medicine, preventive medicine, nonprofits & organizations, aerospace medicine)
  • Public Policy and Government (public service & policy making, lobbying and governmental relations)
  • Communication and Journalism (print journalism & writing, broadcast journalism)
  • Informatics
  • Pharmaceutical Research
  • Consulting


Many students considering alternative careers choose to pursue a dual degree program, in order to gain the knowledge and skills needed in their field of interest.  Many students each year opt to extend their education an additional year in order to complete a Master of Public Health or Master of Business Administration program while at Columbia. 

The Office of Student Affairs partners with the Mailman Office of Career Services to bring companies and organizations to CUMC to provide recruitment opportunities in areas such as health care consulting, international health policy organizations, research organizations etc, for medical school graduates not considering a residency program.  Recent organizations seeking to recruit P&S students include the Boston Consulting Group, Doctors Without Borders, and McKinsey and Company.

SLIM (Systems, Leadership, Integration, and Management)
SLIM works to provide opportunities for P&S student to acquire the background knowledge and essential problem-solving skills to lead health care into the future.  Part of their mission is to provide students the ability to become agents of health system transformation through exposure to performance improvement theory and practice.  A list of recent internships includes 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.

P&S Alumni Affairs is also available to help students connect with alumni in alternative careers. P&S alumni work in corporate, non-profit and governmental sectors throughout the country and abroad and many are open to speaking to current students about their career trajectory.