• Question: what did you do to be a scientist ?

    Asked by Leahhoughton08 to John, Emma on 16 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: John Paterson

      John Paterson answered on 16 Jun 2019:


      After leaving school, where I did a lot of science subjects until Highers (Scottish A-levels) I chose to do a degree at university that was to do with science. Then after getting a degree I did a Masters. This is a kind of degree that universities offer if you’ve already completed your first degree. It only lasts a year and often involves you doing research, but you’ll do quite short research projects that last about 3-4 months. Then after that I applied for a PhD, which is a 3-4 year qualification where you do lots of research about the same topic (like I study plants and pollinators). You often get paid for this and this is when you’re becoming a professional scientist. After the PhD, I would hope to get a job as a researcher or lecturer at a university but there are other options.

      That’s the way most people become a scientist, there are other ways to get into it but they’re not that common. But people do these qualifications at different times – I know some people who did a PhD straight after university but I didn’t come back to do a PhD until working in another job for 8 years.

    • Photo: Emma Markham

      Emma Markham answered on 17 Jun 2019:


      To become a scientist I had to study an undergraduate course in science at university for 3 years. When I graduated I was qualified to be a scientist, I have then worked in lots of science roles all around the world. Depending on what type of scientist you want to be you can study for a lot longer, studying a PhD at university if you want, but many roles in scientist does not require this.

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