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L.Rich

Am I Good Enough to do a PhD?

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Hello, this is the first time I've posted on a forum so I'd really appreciate any advice anyone may have.

 

I've almost completed a degree in biochemistry and chemistry and I am interested in doing a PhD studying MS. I generally get 1sts, although they're never the highest, but I feel I am a hard worker and I genuinly have a massive interest in this subject and would love a career in research if possible. My biggest concern is my relative lack of biochemistry lab experience and I don't know how much this may hinder me. Whilst I initially lacked confidence in chemistry labs during my degree, my final year chemistry project really boosted my confidence and I really enjoyed my project and would feel comfortable working in a chemistry lab now. I have already done a non-experimental project about MS and have a pretty good grasp (I think!) of the theory behind the disease. I wondered whether, with enough biochemistry lab experience over the summer I could develop good enough lab skills in this area to convince somebody I would be good enough to do a PhD.

 

 

Thanks.

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Based on what you've said, if I had to make a bet right now, I'd totally bet in your favor. You've got this.

 

ETA: Sorry I don't have any real advice. I'd encourage you to go for your dreams though. You're good enough.

Edited by the asinine cretin

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Normally you build up skills during the PhD, so a good grasp of fundamentals and the willingness to work hard are more important. No one expects someone to pick up serious research skills during a short period of time (e.g. over the summer),

 

Unfortunately there is also a certain focus on grades, unless you have already done undergrad research in someone's lab and he or she would like you to join (or at least write a letter of recommendation).

That said, you should be aware that there are comparatively few pure research positions (i.e. being in the lab and doing experiments) out there.

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Thanks very much for those comments, I shall take the advice on board!

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... Wow... quality of posts since I've been gone.

 

Alright, so you would need to have research ideas. Idea for research. And if you don't have those, your advisor would clue you in or someone who wants to put you to work for him/her at low pay. That's simple enough for economics. But if you don't have your own research ideas that sucks for you. You want a Ph.D and want to do research. What do you want to research? Well, if you know that, you've already got yourself grounded. The next is knowing what tools and methods to use to go about generating the next building block on that research (and considering possible time constraints).

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... Wow... quality of posts since I've been gone.

 

Alright, so you would need to have research ideas. Idea for research. And if you don't have those, your advisor would clue you in or someone who wants to put you to work for him/her at low pay. That's simple enough for economics. But if you don't have your own research ideas that sucks for you. You want a Ph.D and want to do research. What do you want to research? Well, if you know that, you've already got yourself grounded. The next is knowing what tools and methods to use to go about generating the next building block on that research (and considering possible time constraints).

There are plenty of PhD positions where a professor already has an idea of the topic, and just needs a student to do the work. Also, it is possible to do your PhD in a company (you will still have a link with a professor at some uni, but all the work is done at a company). Companies will typically first find the money and the topic, and only then look for the student. So, although you will always have some freedom in research, there are plenty of PhD positions where you can apply without having good ideas for research yourself.

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There are plenty of PhD positions where a professor already has an idea of the topic, and just needs a student to do the work.

This is especially true in the US. Unless being paid by startup funds or TA positions, chances are that you are paid by grant that has things to fulfill. And considering that the stuff you are going to do has to be in line what the lab does, you generally only develop something after already working there for a while. Coming in with an idea is nice, but is rarely really useful.

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