How to become a research scientist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You'll need a good honours degree, usually first class or upper second, in a science subject related to your area of interest. Most research scientists then go on to study for a postgraduate qualification like a PhD.
Integrated postgraduate master's qualifications, like an MSci, MBiol, MPhys and MChem, can also be studied at university. These courses combine independent research and are designed to lead directly onto further study at PhD level.
You'll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
You could do a level 7 research scientist degree apprenticeship.
This apprenticeship typically takes 30 months to complete.
It may give you some of the requirements you need to become a chartered scientist in your scientific field.
Employers will set their own entry requirements.
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
It may be possible to start as a research assistant or graduate industrial scientist and study part-time for a PhD.
UK Research and Innovation and industrial companies sometimes work together to offer Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering studentships. This would give you the opportunity to do a PhD while getting practical research experience in industry.
It may improve your chances of finding work if you've got work experience in a research department or your degree included a placement in a research environment.
As a graduate you could look for postgraduate training opportunities offered through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP). In a KTP you would get the opportunity to run a research project together with an industrial organisation and a university or research body.
You can find out more about a career in scientific research through the Science Council.
You can learn more about careers as a researcher and find useful resources at Vitae.