2 answers

How does one become a Research Scientist?

Asked Mentor, Ohio

My actual plan is to make it through the Biology program at Case (Western Reserve University) and then be accepted into their Genetics Graduate program.
Just in case that doesn't work, my back-up plan is a research Scientist in Biology. Problem is, I'm not sure how to become one! I'd appreciate some insight. Anything and everything is welcome.
Thanks! #college #biology #graduate #research #students #college-student #genetics

2 answers

Keith’s Answer


If you want to do research, the PhD is the way to go. Getting a PhD consists primarily of doing research, and is the prerequisite for doing a postdoctoral fellowship, a faculty position, and many industry research positions.

I would recommend looking at PhD programs at a few schools--you'll want to apply to a few, and sometimes going to a different graduate institution can help expose you to new mentors and ideas--and seeing which programs and faculty members you'd like to work with.

You can also talk to professors or graduate students at Case about their research. They will also know professors at other institutions who do similar work. I would very highly recommend trying to do a research project with a professor or graduate student at Case, as this will be very good preparation for a PhD program.

Thanks so much, that's great advice!

Linda M.’s Answer

Updated Chicago, Illinois

Hi Rosa,

You already got some excellent advice, but I think you need to consider what specifically you like about genetics and research. You may have limited information and experience on the day to day activities. Do you like thinking about these topics (theory) and preparing reports or presentations? Do you like lab work? A Master's degree may be sufficient if you want to be a bench scientist. For me, a bench scientist is often someone who has input into the experimental design, gathers data, does some data analysis and synthesis, but does not necessarily have the responsibility of running a lab. A Ph.D. brings the responsibility of writing grant proposals, mentoring or counseling, experimental design, budgeting, etc.

You have not specified your organism(s) of interest. I imagine the job opportunities for a human geneticist are very different from a career in other subfields.

Best of luck!

Yeah I haven't actually gotten too deep into what I hope to do - I'm still exploring, I guess you could say. Thank you so much for the answer!