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Sciencey stuff. - August 27th 2012, 01:45 PM

I love science at school, I was studying Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths for my A levels, but now dropped Physics. I'd love to study either Biology or Chemistry more at University, but I'm not sure which one to go for (or a mix, Biochemistry). In terms of jobs later in life, which one would be more useful? Either of them seem like just lab-work careers anyway.

I've also heard the going for a PhD can actually be a bad thing, as it 'specialises you too much', is that even sort of true?
   
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Re: Sciencey stuff. - August 27th 2012, 02:13 PM

I'm not sure how it works in the UK, but I've had several people with PhDs tell me (mostly teachers) that merely having a PhD is like a ticket to virtually any job you want, even if it's not in the specific field that you obtained the PhD in. It doesn't always guarantee you a ridiculous six-figure income, but prospective employers do look at postgraduate degrees very closely and are very likely to shuffle you to the top of the stack if you have one.

So, with that kind of job security, you'd be able to devote your personal time to pursuing your interests, and keep a job just for the pay. I guess it depends on whether you're more interested in lab research, or in more writing-centric areas where you do things like contribute to scientific journals and what-not. All else aside you'd be guaranteed a position at any university as a biology teacher.


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Re: Sciencey stuff. - August 27th 2012, 06:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex95 View Post
I love science at school, I was studying Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths for my A levels, but now dropped Physics. I'd love to study either Biology or Chemistry more at University, but I'm not sure which one to go for (or a mix, Biochemistry). In terms of jobs later in life, which one would be more useful? Either of them seem like just lab-work careers anyway.

I've also heard the going for a PhD can actually be a bad thing, as it 'specialises you too much', is that even sort of true?
Go for whichever seems most intresting to you! You have to study it for at least 3 years and a BSc in any of them is good for loads of careers, not just lab work Check the course specifications out on a couple of university websites and see if anything grabs you.

As for doing a PHD, you don't have to decide whether to do one of those for a couple of years yet but they are not considered a bad thing. I think this idea of a PHD being 'too specialised' comes from overqualified people applying to more junior jobs following layoffs in the financial crisis, so don't worry too much about that. You should definitely consider a PHD if you want to work in research or something like the pharmaceutical industry, but again, do it because you are intested in the subject not just for the career prospects

Good luck
   
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Re: Sciencey stuff. - August 28th 2012, 02:51 AM

You could definitely go for both. And there's are many things you could do with it.. straight up biochem, pre-med, pharmacy, engineering.


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Re: Sciencey stuff. - August 28th 2012, 08:50 PM

Thanks, at the University I want to go to, the three subjects Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, and Human Biology all have the exact same first years, which is very good, as it means I can decide much later haha. A PhD is wayy into the future so I guess I'll think about that nearer the time
   
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Re: Sciencey stuff. - August 28th 2012, 08:59 PM

Hey Alex,

I study Biomedical Science and that does have a lot of Chemistry in it anyway so that might be good for you if you enjoy both. If you do enjoy both a lot though then perhaps you could do a joint degree in Biology and Chemistry and then choose one of them to do a Masters in?

Also, I don't think having a PhD could ever be a bad thing. Even if you're specialised too much in one area of Bio/Chem you'd still have a lot of knowledge about other areas due to having a BSc in the subject too.

I hope this helps, take care!
   
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Re: Sciencey stuff. - August 29th 2012, 08:53 AM

I got my HBSc in biology, specifically biomedical science and integrative physiology (core part of human biology). The main area I focused in was neurobiology but in general, biomedical science requires chemistry, although not to the point of biochemistry. Integrative physiology requires understanding how changes in one area can affect another area, sometimes at the organ or tissue level, other times at the cellular or synaptic level. There is some chemistry as well but you have to have a very strong understanding of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology (physiology of pathogens).

Regarding PhDs, they only would make you too specialized if you're apply for an entry-level position. Keep in mind, people with PhDs have to regularly publish in a scientific journal, so they will be involved in research. They won't necessarily be a lab rat, they'll get a brilliant undergrad or Masters or post-doc student to do a goodly amount. This varies though as some PhDs will want to do more hands-on work, whereas others prefer to take a more managerial or supervisory role.

There are a variety of areas you could work in with a PhD. A few of my professors worked clinically with humans, did research on humans and gave lectures. A few other professors worked in the pharmaceutical industry and biomedical engineering but only recently began giving lectures. You can also enter many of these areas and others with a Masters or even a BSc or HBSc.


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