How to become a research scientist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You usually need a first or 2:1 (upper second class) degree in a science subject to become a research scientist. Most research scientists continue to study for a postgraduate qualification like a PhD.
You could study an integrated postgraduate master's course. These courses include independent research and are designed to lead directly to a PhD.
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 2 years and 6 months to complete.
It may give you some of the skills you need to become a research scientist.
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. You would need to study part time for a PhD while you work.
UK Research and Innovation and other industrial companies sometimes offer studentships. This would give you the opportunity to do a PhD while getting practical research experience.
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 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.