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Physiology Degree

Discussion in 'Mature Students' started by grey, Sep 14, 2003.

  1. grey

    grey New Member

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    I have begun studying AS level chemistry, biology, statistics and sociology (which I intend to drop). This year I recieved 5A*'s, 4A's, and a B for my GCSE's. I was wondering if you would be able to answer the four questions below that are bothering me:

    1) If I didn't decide to do a PhD in physiology and just done a BSc in physiology, what science related jobs are available to me, what do they involve and what is the pay like?

    2) If I did decide to do a PhD in physiology on top of a BSc in physiology, what science related jobs are available to me, what do they involve and what is the pay like?

    3) I'm not interested in work outside physiology, in fact I would like to have a very successful career within physiology, so would you recommend that I do a PhD in physiology? And what univeristies/colleges offer this opportunity?

    4) Most entry requirements are BBCc, why not AAAa like at Oxford? Is this an indictation that the physiology degrees at other places are not very academically rigourous, not respected, allow less able people who may possibly be lazy, an insurance for medical candidates who fail to get ABBc, and in some aspects inferior to Oxford's physiology degree?

    Thanks for any responses
     
  2. Squeak

    Squeak New Member

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    ummm..entry requirements bear absolutely NO relation the the difficulty of the course...merely its popularity (if that)....

    hence unis like oxford/cambridge/bristol/nottingham asking for relatively high grades...and course like medicine/law asking for mainly As at Alevel...


    If you seriously want a career in academic research science a Phd is the only way to go... if you are as interested in physiology as you state, a Phd will be what you want to do anyway.

    pay is not great in academia. there is a bottle neck in the transition between the short term research joobs that most people take after doing a Phd and a permenant job (eg as a lab head, or university lecturer).

    In academia you can work as a research technichan without a PHD...which if you find the right job, working for the right person, can be almost as rewarding as working as an independant researcher...the trouble is finding that kind of job. reasearch tech pay sucks.


    if you want to work in industry, ie for a big pharmacuetical company or for a biotech start up, a PHd is less essential.

    if you really want a career in research science/ in industry...try and make sure your degree contains at least some molecular biology/ genetics...or that you get some experience of it in your later trianing...its an essential tool in nearly every knid of biological research these days and the sooner you learn it/ master the techniques, the more employable you will be.
     
  3. grey

    grey New Member

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    Thanks Squeak! Any figures for people with PhD's doing academic research e.g starting £30K then up to £50K? What sort of things do they do? What sort of estalishments hire physiology PhD graduates? Is academic research the most highly paided career out of research in science in industry and lecturing? Where can I go, and who can I speak to for more advice?
     
  4. Squeak

    Squeak New Member

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    hee hee...try more like £15,000 up to around £22,000 including london wieghting for a Phd research scientist (otherwise known as a postdoc)...noone does academic research science for the money....you do it cos you enjoy it. you work hard cos you enjoy it and your next job depends on the research grants that depend on your experiments working. generally you have a bit more freedom than you would have in most jobs ( ie the world does not come to an end if you are in the lab at 9am every morning...however long hours are the norm :)...

    pay is more like £30,000 to £40,000 once you are a senior tenured lecturer/ professor.

    the career structure in academic science is very loose and you find your own way. Most post doc jobs last between 1 and five years. it becomes difficult to remain a postdoc after about 6 years, as funding is hard to come by if you don't graduate to a more permenant job, but these are hard to come by. A permenant job is usually a teaching job, heavily combined with running reserach group...most science lectures at big universites are also research scientists.

    Sucess depends on experimental results and making smart career chioces.

    work in industry is better paid....but much less freedom both time wise and intellectually ( though that is changing and there is more "academic" style research in big drugs companies, as opposed to the pure drug development stuff that used to go on).

    work is either in universities, research institutes ( no teaching, sometimes funded by charities like cancer research UK).

    there are lots of possibliltes to expand your career beyond bench science, into stuff like medical journalism, or say going to medical school :)...

    sorry if any of this sounds harsh, I have really enjoyed working in research science...its a challenge and its exciting....nothing quiet like the kick you get from a good run of results, or knocking ideas around at international meetings (a lot of which are in glamerous locations :)...but you have to be prepared for the periods where nothing will work. If you are lucky these will be few and far between...but most folk go through bad patches from time to time and it can be extremely fustrating. Going to medical school is just the next step for me, looking forward to doing some research alongside a clincal job :).

    try contacting your local university. most will have a school liason officer and many will run special events. if you are a girl, try looking for an organisation called WISE (women in science and engineering)...who run courses lasting several days at universities.

    good luck.
     
  5. Smaysie

    Smaysie New Member

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    Grey,

    Have a look at www.inpharm.co.uk for industry jobs for both PhDs and non-PhDs that are not lab-based. Although academia does not pay well (relatively), industry certainly does (depending on the role you choose)

    e.g. Academia
    - Scientist with BSc might expect to start on as little as £13k
    - Scientist with PhD might expect to start on say £18k

    Industry (lab-based)
    -Scientist with BSc might expect to start on £18k and climb to £30k
    -Scientist with PhD might expect to start on £25k and climb to £50k upwards

    Industry (non lab-based e.g. marketing department/medical department etc)
    Mainly non-PhD's but can expect to earn £40k+ in some marketing roles, outcomes research, evidence based medicine, clinical trials, regulatory affairs with 5+years experience

    All ball park figures but have a look at the types of roles available...... it's not all test-tubes!!

    Health research roles in the NHS and Royal Colleges such as information scientists, health programme managers, clinical audit managers, market researchers, systematic reviewers.........

    All are very interesting...... and challenging roles.
     
  6. Smaysie

    Smaysie New Member

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  7. grey

    grey New Member

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    I do trust you all :lol: however I would like to go to a web-site were there is pay information and information related to getting into industry, does anyone know of any research-industry web-sites that I can go see??? excluding inpharm thanks, I'm really happy now I realise there is a chance of me getting £50K+ :D
     
  8. Smaysie

    Smaysie New Member

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    Go to http://jobsearch.monster.co.uk/ or http://www.pharmiweb.com/Careers/

    Some positions will reveal salary, others won't, as to a certain extent it's negotiable and basic salary may not include bonuses/stock options/BMW (!!)/health insurance etc.

    As an ex-industry bod it was not unusual for the late 20-somethings and early 30-somethings to be on £45k basic + up to 40% bonus + Audi TT + free health care and good pension/stock options etc but it is not easy to get into the jobs.

    See individual company websites such as GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Novartis etc. Also, competition is hot for many of these jobs and in order to get eg top drug marketing roles etc paying big bucks you may have to start at the bottom of the ladder to gain sales experience

    For the record, if money is your motivating factor why contemplate physiology? Why not go into banking and read 'The Journal of Physiology' with your cocoa at night?

    And doing a PhD? - you have to really enjoy your subject to motivate yourself through the tough times. A PhD is really only necessary if you want to be a lab/science based group leader and pursue a career in that direction and you certainly don't do a PhD to increase your earning power or get Dr in front of your name.
    It's a tough slog for the majority and for some it leads to more questions about future career than answers. In reality, PhDs should come with a health warning!

    Good luck, sounds like you have plenty of time to decide what you want to do.
     
  9. Smaysie

    Smaysie New Member

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    Oops! Ha ha! Sorry fluffy - true in a medicine context you are completely correct, but for someone who wants to do physiology instead, as Grey does, then a PhD is mainly useful for climbing one ladder and that's the post-doc/career scientist/group leader/world dominator version.

    I speak with the experience of having done a PhD, and the reality that it does not open all doors (sometimes a good old BSc will suffice) and no need to go through the trauma of writing up and realising what you've done is goddamn awful anyway! Tee hee!
     
  10. quant

    quant New Member

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    A good many of my friends that did a PhD and lecturing etc ended up as Rocket Scientists in the investment banking world eventually. Some gravitated back to research a great deal richer. London pays silly salaries of 100-200k, sometimes more in bonuses.

    I left all of that to apply for 2004 entry to medicine. Take it from me, money really doesnt make you happy. I am happier now then I ever was working in London. I made some great friends and had some exciting times in investment banking, but at the end of the day, I want to do something that gave me job satisfaction .. even if it pays peanuts.

    Incidently, I think Loughborough has the best rep for Physiology, at least I think it came top of the QAA listings or some other list I saw somewhere.
     
  11. Smaysie

    Smaysie New Member

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    Completely agree with quant there - money does not make you happy - in some cases the more you earn, the more you waste!

    Top Universities for Physiology are probably Loughborough, Sheffield, Newcastle and Bristol
     
  12. melsie

    melsie New Member

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    Have just read through this thread and had a chuckle.
    I followed the PhD route myself, and got out after a year and a half of a post-doc position paying 18k in Reading. Having picked a commercially useless topic like behavioural ecology in insects to study, there were no prospects of me ever earning the sorts of salaries some of you guys have been mentioning. I would have been lucky to get another post-doc position, let alone a permanent lectureship (which BTW would only pay around 24k).
    I totally agree with all your comments re pay etc., Squeak and Fluffy.
    If you want a research career that's highly paid, you need to make the choice early on to study a subject in which there is a lot of money, and where you could end up working for AstraZeneca, Pfizer etc., otherwise you'll be stuck in a university and then you REALLY have to be doing it for the love of the subject. It worked for me for a while, but I'm not that dedicated to the cause of insect sex!
     
  13. grey

    grey New Member

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    I agree with "money can't buy you happiness" but it can sure buy you a double fronted semi-detached house, 2 cars, and all the stuff (future) children want!

    What is an average salary (not for science, just in genreal) and what is a good one?

    I like physiology but I wouldn't say I love it, however I don't think it's possible to get any descent (really well paided) science jobs without a PhD (or am I completely wrong?). I like physiology so obviously I want to make as much money out of it a possible. I might follow up that Journal of Physiology (as long as there is a lot money to be earnt there)! As long as my BSc and PhD don't have to come from Oxbridge to earn a lot fo money I should be fine? I was thinking of doing medicine but the "money:trails and tribulation" ratio is not early high enough. :D
     
  14. Smaysie

    Smaysie New Member

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    Honest!!! ...and it made me laugh.

    Don't need a PhD to make money and you don't have to go to Oxbridge either!

    Average salary? How long is a piece of string?

    Average salary for a graduate...say £16-20k

    'Good' salary for a graduate....say £35k for starting in IT consultancy/banking or something

    Only an opinion and varies widely across disciplines......
     
  15. quant

    quant New Member

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    It seems to me that, in the majority of cases, you need to make large compromises if you want to make money these days.

    When I left uni in 1988, I went straight into the RAF. Pay was pretty good, but most of it went on bar bills cos thats the kind of social life you have as a young officer ;p

    When I left the RAF, I went into IT, a big compromise as I disliked computing at uni. Back in 1991 I started on 13K as a graduate trainee programmer. Within 3 years I was earning 20k,

    Then I created my own limited company and worked as an IT contractor and earned about 70-80k .

    Then I joined an investent bank on 35k - took a big pay cut cos I was learning new languages etc .. and wanted a foot into investment banking.
    Within a year I was earning 70-100k. By comparison with early 1990's, graduate programmers these days in London are given 25k minimum I would guess, some 30k+. If you are good, this soon gets whacked up to 50k+ which is a nice salary. While I was making hay, I was sensible and paid off the mortgage on a little 2 bedroom house ...

    London, of course, is an exception, and most IT jobs for graduates outside are only offering about 18-23k.

    As IT is one of the better paid jobs, I just thought this comparison might be useful. Even on 70k, its still bloody difficulty affording even the most modest of houses, unless you tie yourself t a big mortgage or have a second earner in the family.

    Like you said too tho grey, you have to weigh up the i/o factor. I think medicine is pretty well paid from what I have read, tho you could argue that the i/o ratio is somewhat unbalanced considering hours, stress etc.

    Me, I've been thru all the salary-chasing mularkey, and I am more than happy to earn 20k for the rest of my life in return for job satisfaction (easy for me to say possibly as I have an un-mortgaged house now).
     
  16. canicula

    canicula New Member

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    I agree. I'm currently working as an IT consultant (been doing IT for about 15 years) and have a very nice salary with company car etc.

    I'd rather do something that I really enjoy again for less money. IT has lost its edge (for me anyway).

    Cheers,

    Ian
     
  17. grey

    grey New Member

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    Aslong as I can make a descent living out of physiology I'll be happy. I was going to do Medicine but like I said it's way too stressful and difficult for me (diahorrea patients, people dying on me, surgery). I was going to do it just for the money, job title, my parents and I like science and I was going to be hugely cheeky in the interview and say "I want to heal people" LOL! However this thread has been really enlighting, and it's definetly worth doing a job which you will be satisfied with, however unfortunately for me a good proportion of job satisfaction will be lost when I get my montly pay check and can only turn up to work in a nissan cherry! :(
     
  18. grey

    grey New Member

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    Unfortunately for me my parents think I should be happy to deal with diahorrea patients, people dying on me and surgery! They just want a slice of a my pay check if I was to become a doctor and to boast to my uncles and aunts. LOL! GENERATION GAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHH If my physiiology career turns out to be a disaster I will get so many "I told you so's........"! :x LOL!
     
  19. Squeak

    Squeak New Member

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    I agree you shouldn't be doing medicine if its not what you want to do and you feel pressured into doing it....thats not a reason to do any career.

    re: the rest. It would be interesting to see how your perspective changes as time goes on. Most well paid jobs are well paid for a reason, be that high levels of stress and responsibility, long hours, unbearable tedium or an unholy cocktail of all three...and some would say thats a fair description of medicine ;)...each to their own.

    Where, when and how you find your self happy can also be surprising.
    In my case it really has had very little to do with my bank balance, though have to say a touch of fianacial security wouldn't go amiss.

    I hope you find whatever it takes to be happy in what you do.
     
  20. DamianUK

    DamianUK New Member

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    Pharma sales

    If your looking for a science based job (even tenuously) that also has attractive salery then maybe you should opt for medical device or pharmaceutical sales.

    Thee are both jobs i have some expereince of. Most start at 20K, however thay also offer bonuses as a percentage of turnovr typially 5-6K a year. When you have 2-3 yrs expereince the money can be very good and one friend of mine who is a medical rep in the NW took home 42K after tax this year and as he said " i don't even get out of bed till 9". Admittedly he does entertain alot and is not always in his pit till that time.
    At least in these jobs you have the oppertunity to research new drugs an if you want you can stay ni the lop medically speaking. Or you can just work hard enjoy your free time (i.e. no science reading...only joking i do enjoy doing that) and take home a hefty pay packet then sales is worth looking at.
    A word of warning though a PhD isn't nessesary for these jobs though effort is. Yuo need to eother organise work shadowing or a ref from someone who who is already in the industry!!

    Hope this helps,
    DamianUK
     

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