A good honours degree (usually a 2:1 or above) in a related science subject is required for entry into research in the life sciences. Any subject based in the areas of health, medicine, agriculture, horticulture or biology should be appropriate but specifically, the following subjects will be useful:
Many employers also require candidates to have obtained either a research-based MSc or a PhD, particularly for the higher level roles. It may be possible to enter with just an undergraduate honours degree and to study part time for a postgraduate qualification and then progress on to a more senior role.
Entry to a technician-level job may be possible with a foundation degree or HND but further study would be required in order to progress beyond this level.
Some research councils, such as the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) award studentships to PhD students each year in universities, research institutes or industrial partners. The BBSRC has a funding total of around £43.5million for 2,000 students per year and it can be a good way to get into work in academia, industry and government research. Various studentships are available, see the BBSRC website for further information.
Candidates need to show evidence of the following:
Practical laboratory experience and knowledge of the range of techniques used will improve your chances when applying for research jobs. This experience can be achieved through a sandwich year placement in industry or vacation work. Try to gain experience in both academia and industry as it will help to illustrate how the two environments differ and will inform your future career choice.
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