Professional development and training in science

February, 2016

Discover how postgraduate study or professional qualifications can help you get ahead in the science and pharmaceuticals sector…

Do I need to do postgraduate study?

This will depend on the occupation you wish to pursue. For some specialist areas a Masters or PhD is required. Some large recruiters require postgraduate qualifications for graduate schemes and companies have fast-track management programmes for those with a Masters and relevant experience.

You could also consider a Masters as a way to specialise. For example, a biology graduate could choose to study bioinformatics.

For more information on entry requirements and career development in the science and pharmaceuticals sector, see job profiles.

To find postgraduate science and pharmaceuticals courses in the UK, search postgraduate courses.

Should I join a professional body?

There are professional bodies in most areas of science and pharmaceuticals, and membership can help with career progression. It can also offer a number of other benefits, such as:

  • chartered or registered status;
  • conferences and training events;
  • industry news;
  • networking.

Which professional qualifications are recognised in the sector?

Professional bodies offering training, professional development and accreditation include:

  • Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) - represents pharmaceutical companies of all sizes. Provides qualifications for those working in the pharmaceutical industry including medical representatives.
  • British Pharmacological Society (BPS) - professional association for pharmacologists in the UK. Supports those training or working in academia, industry and the health service and offers a Diploma in Advanced Pharmacology.
  • Geological Society - the UK's national society for geoscience. Accredits geoscience degrees and MScs that provide a quicker route to chartered geologist or chartered scientist status.
  • Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST) - professional body in the UK concerned with all aspects of food science and technology. It can award registered scientist and chartered scientist status.
  • Institute of Physics (IOP) - the only body that can award chartered physicist status. It also provides professional development opportunities for those working in physics.
  • Royal Meteorological Society - professional society for weather and climate. Offers vocational qualifications in meteorology and an accreditation scheme for its members to become chartered meteorologists.
  • Royal Pharmaceutical Society - the professional body for pharmacists in the UK. Provides support for continuing professional development (CPD).
  • Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) - UK professional body for chemical scientists. Offers professional development opportunities, global networking and awards the status of chartered chemist.
  • Royal Society of Biology - accredits degrees that provide a fast-track to becoming a member of the society and can award registered scientist, chartered scientist and chartered biologist.