How to become a research scientist and PhD student: Jaz's story


"What I do is genuinely exciting and I think I'm really finding out something new about the world that is completely unique and completely mine."

Jaz is a research scientist at the National History Museum in London, working towards a Biology PhD. A PhD involves researching a unique question in order to find out something new.

Jaz's research focuses on investigating how life could have survived back in ancient history when there were extremely cold temperatures. Their work has involved studying cells and DNA (the building blocks of all life on Earth) and has even included a trip to the Arctic!

"I'm so glad that I get to work with such inspirational people, in such inspirational places."

A scientist collecting samples in the Artic
Jaz has recently been to the Artic to collect soil samples. Analysing the DNA of living things in the samples will help their investigation into how life survived through the coldest period in Earth's history.

Jaz's career path

Jaz's career pathway

What to expect if you want to be a research scientist

  • Salary: Variable ranging from £14,000 to £60,000
  • Working hours: 35 to 40 hours per week
  • Entry requirements: Usually at least a 2:1 degree in a relevant science subject. Most research scientists also have a postgraduate qualification like an MSc, an MSci or MBiol. Many employers prefer you to have, or be working towards, a PhD. Experience of working in a research environment is also very useful

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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