• Question: Is it hard to become a Scientist? And how many years do you need to study in University?

    Asked by alisha to David, James, Mike, Suze, Will on 13 Jun 2011. This question was also asked by ayishae, muhammedalir.
    • Photo: Mike Dodd

      Mike Dodd answered on 12 Jun 2011:

      Heya, I studied at Bath university for 4 years to become a biochemist. In that time I was able to work in labs in America twice. University was a great time and really interesting. I worked hard to get into university, but as long as you enjoy science at school, it’s not hard to get in. You just need to have fun learning and be curious. I always found that being curious drove me on to the next step of my science life. You can do 3 year courses too, but I wanted the chance of working in another lab for a year. If you are still interested in science after that you can do a PhD too. This is another 3 to 4 years. You have a lot more control on what you look into. Hope that helps 🙂

    • Photo: William Eborall

      William Eborall answered on 12 Jun 2011:

      I did a biochemistry degree at York university which took 4 years. Three of those years were actually studying at the university, but one was spent working for a big drugs company – doing research for them and finding out what it was like to work as a researcher in a big company.

      As to whether it’s hard to become a scientist – it depends. The degree isn’t a piece of cake, but none are. If you’re interested in the degree you’re doing it’s a labour of love that’s worth it and you do have a lot of fun along the way.

    • Photo: James Marrow

      James Marrow answered on 12 Jun 2011:

      I did 3 years as an undergraduate, then 3 years for my PhD. That was followed by postdoctoral research (a bit like PhD, but you don’t need to write a thesis, just papers). Even though I’ve now got a full time job at the University (15 years ago), I’m still studying and learning.

    • Photo: David Ingram

      David Ingram answered on 13 Jun 2011:

      I did 4 years of a Mathematics degree (no it’s fun really) then 3 years of a PhD and year as a research fellow to become what most people think of as a scientist! This was a lot of formal training and helps sometimes but the most important thing is the kind of mind which makes you look at things and say “How unusual – why did that happen? can we explain it?”. I think this is learned at School and comes from imagination and interest, and a desire never to stop learning.

    • Photo: Suze Kundu

      Suze Kundu answered on 13 Jun 2011:

      I did a BSc (Hons) degree in Chemistry for three years, then took a year out, before doing a one year MSc in Analytical Chemistry, and finally my PhD now, which I’ve been doing for three years, and will hopefully finish by the end of the year. I had funding for three and a half years for my PhD, so I was quite lucky! All in all, about eight years at University.

      I think that you have to work hard to be a scientist, but then again, if you want to do well at anything you have to put in the effort, as this is then realy worth it in the end when you get good grades. A good grade means that you have more choice as to where you want to go and what you want to do when you get there.

      I think that science can be seen as a hard thing to study, but at the end of the day, all it takes is for someone to explain it to you in a way that makes sense. If you don’t understand something, ask questions! At the end of the day, these big clever scientists weren’t born with all of this knowledge in their brains, so they have asked questions along the way, and either done experiments to find out the answers, or have brainstormed with other people to make sense of everything. Questions are the answer!