The Student Room Group

I'm about to graduate and I have no idea what to do.

I'm sure this is not a common story, but I'm about to graduate, and the lack of options is slowly killing my morale.
For context, I'm about to graduate from a Russell Group university with a high 2:1 in Neuroscience. I looked into doing a master's, but I genuinely cannot afford to because who on earth has a disposable £15k lying around after 3 years of uni? I've been looking at applying for jobs, but they require a minimum of 4 months of lab experience or a master's, so I kind of feel like I'm backed into a corner. Has anyone or does anyone know how I can break this cycle? I think I'll lose my mind if I'm employed or have to go back to working in a pub for a year.
Are you only looking at related lab based roles? Are you looking at generalist grad schemes as well? Did you undertake any internships, placements, work experience etc during your degree?

In terms of masters costs, some universities may have some limited funding for these. Also you can get a masters loan from SFE but it usually won't cover the full cost of the masters plus living expenses/maintenance costs. You may also find a research masters is cheaper than a "taught" masters, if you have an idea for a research project you can develop into a research proposal.

That said if you're in final year due to graduate this summer now it's a bit late really to be looking at applying to a masters or a grad scheme for the upcoming academic year/when you graduate I think? These would normally be things you would've started the process for back in December or maybe even earlier for some schemes.

So I think you probably do need to manage your expectations that you'll need to find some interim work to do in the meantime while you plan your next steps.
Original post by artful_lounger
Are you only looking at related lab based roles? Are you looking at generalist grad schemes as well? Did you undertake any internships, placements, work experience etc during your degree?
In terms of masters costs, some universities may have some limited funding for these. Also you can get a masters loan from SFE but it usually won't cover the full cost of the masters plus living expenses/maintenance costs. You may also find a research masters is cheaper than a "taught" masters, if you have an idea for a research project you can develop into a research proposal.
That said if you're in final year due to graduate this summer now it's a bit late really to be looking at applying to a masters or a grad scheme for the upcoming academic year/when you graduate I think? These would normally be things you would've started the process for back in December or maybe even earlier for some schemes.
So I think you probably do need to manage your expectations that you'll need to find some interim work to do in the meantime while you plan your next steps.

I've been looking at lab specific roles such lab research assistant/technician. Most Pharma grad schemes wanted a masters and tbh I did look back in December and there wasn't a lot around. Also according to others, grad schemes don't tend to get released until June because they want people to start immediately after - hoping this is true. This isn't something that I've been thinking about last minute, I've been looking into this for months.
PhDs abroad require masters and even though it isn't necessary in the UK for a PhD, most applicants do apply with a masters. I have a lot of work experience and leadership experience outside of labs, just none specific to labs other than the lab work that I did at university.

I briefly dabbled with the idea of becoming a patent lawyer and applied for some trainee positions but my qualifications can't match those that are applying. Most of the masters that I looked at were £13000-£15000 and that was on the cheap end whilst the uni loan only compensates for about £12000 without taking into consideration the moving and living costs. There is still time to apply for these masters but unless I win the lottery theres literally no hope in funding it.

I was just wondering if anyone else has found themselves in this situation and what they've gone on to do with the life sciences degree but I can't be the only one stuck in the cycle of money -> experience -> money. If I were to take a year out to fund my masters, then I would want a job that can add to my qualifications and experience and not go back to something I was doing at 17 as a part time job.
Reply 3
I graduated in 2023 with a degree in neuroscience from a non-Russell group university. I'm now doing the GDL conversion and have never looked back. Alternatively you should look into the Civil Service fast stream which is a great option. Since you haven't yet graduated you might able to apply for the summer internship which gets you a ticket through the next recruitment process (though the application for this year may have ended) - I did that last year but decided to go the law route. I would absolutely recommend it and they have STEM related stuff if that's what you want to do.
Original post by lapinacolada
I've been looking at lab specific roles such lab research assistant/technician. Most Pharma grad schemes wanted a masters and tbh I did look back in December and there wasn't a lot around. Also according to others, grad schemes don't tend to get released until June because they want people to start immediately after - hoping this is true. This isn't something that I've been thinking about last minute, I've been looking into this for months.
PhDs abroad require masters and even though it isn't necessary in the UK for a PhD, most applicants do apply with a masters. I have a lot of work experience and leadership experience outside of labs, just none specific to labs other than the lab work that I did at university.

I briefly dabbled with the idea of becoming a patent lawyer and applied for some trainee positions but my qualifications can't match those that are applying. Most of the masters that I looked at were £13000-£15000 and that was on the cheap end whilst the uni loan only compensates for about £12000 without taking into consideration the moving and living costs. There is still time to apply for these masters but unless I win the lottery theres literally no hope in funding it.

I was just wondering if anyone else has found themselves in this situation and what they've gone on to do with the life sciences degree but I can't be the only one stuck in the cycle of money -> experience -> money. If I were to take a year out to fund my masters, then I would want a job that can add to my qualifications and experience and not go back to something I was doing at 17 as a part time job.


I meant grad schemes for non-scientific positions - the civil service, large businesses, etc. My understanding though is the recruitment process for grad schemes start early in the academic year so October-November. Recruitment is a long process and they recruit applicants to have a start date after graduation subject to graduating with the expected classification.

Although it's not uncommon for PhD applicants in STEM subjects to have a masters it's not absolutely required. There are also 1+3 schemes where you apply and do a masters then progress into the PhD.

As above though the process for all these things would have started back at the end of last year and so most will probably be closed, hence you probably should also look at interim option. You can look for options which have rolling recruitment/admissions though.

Quick Reply

Latest

Trending

Trending