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Careers Centre

Neuroscience - using your degree

Introduction

Popular career areas for Neuroscience students:

A degree from Scotland’s first university is a perfect start to any future career. The University of St Andrews has a reputation for excellence and the ability to attract the brightest students worldwide. With this as a starting point you are well on the way to impressing future employers.

Neuroscience is a wide and varied field of study, encompassing the workings of the brain and the nervous system. Graduates of Neuroscience degrees go into a range of career areas, described in more detail by the British Neuroscience Association in its Career Guide for Students:

Review your degree skills

The profile below identifies the skills that can be developed based on subject/benchmark statements developed by UK higher education communities:

Intellectual skills and attributes

Professional / subject-specific / practical skills

Where do our Neuroscience graduates go?

Recent Neuroscience graduates
Illy Systems - Accounts Manager Phoenix Futures - Quality Officer (Clinical Governance) UPenn Center for Neuroscience & Society - Researcher                               
Oregon Health & Science University - Research Assistant II University of Edinburgh - MSc by Research Integrative Neuroscience        University of St Andrews - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Psychology and Neuroscience

Southampton University - Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery

ESMT European School of Management and Technology - Graduate student  
Graduates who are established in their profession
Neurocrine Biosciences - Scientist- Behavioural Neuroscience Omya - Market Development Manager Axol Bioscience Ltd - Product Specialist (Field Application Scientist)

KPMG UK – Analyst

AstraZeneca - Vice President and Head, Neuroscience Innovative Medicines United BioSource Corporation (UBC) - Project Associate
Giulia

Giulia graduated in 2015.

She is currently studying for an MSc by Research Integrative Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh.

Read Giulia's case study.

Anna Orban

Anna graduated in 2014. 

She is currently a Research Assistant II at Oregon Health & Science University.

Read Anna's case study.

 Visit the Graduate Destinations page to see what graduates and postgraduates from your School are doing now.

Network with alumni

Many jobs and internships are not advertised.  One of the best ways to find out about these ‘hidden opportunities’ is by networking. Networking can also help secure a job that is publicised or is part of a training scheme. Your contacts can open doors, set up meetings, help prepare you for interviews, and provide you with an inside look at a company or industry.

Neuroscience Student & Alumni Network Group

This group allows neuroscience alumni and students to stay connected, as well as make new connections. Join to receive regular updates

How to contact alumni

There are two main ways to contact alumni on-line:

  1. Saint Connect - brings together alumni and current students to facilitate networking, enable informal mentoring, provide industry discussion groups, and enable graduates and students to stay up to date with their student societies and sports teams.
  2. LinkedIn - most comprehensive resource to connect with alumni is the University of St Andrews LinkedIn – Alumni Tool. There are also many LinkedIn St Andrews Groups, mainly based on location, which you can join to network with fellow students and alumni, eg St Andrews North America Careers Link.

Postgraduate study/research

In 2014, 43% of Neuroscience graduates went on to do further study. Advisers can discuss postgraduate applications – vocational and academic.

Summer internships/work experience

Campus Opportunities:

Work experience is becoming ‘essential’ in the UK when it comes to securing graduate level employment.

During the 2015-16 academic year, more than 90% of the UK’s leading graduate employers offered paid work experience programmes for students and recent graduates. Altogether, 55% of St Andrews finalists had completed some element of work experience with a graduate employer whilst at university – much higher than the survey average. More than two-fifths had a part-time job during term-time and three-fifths had some form of casual vacation work. Source: High Fliers –The UK Graduate Careers Survey 2016.

Case studies

Neuroscience Student & Alumni Network Group
Work experience opportunities and summer research openings are regularly posted to this group. Join to receive email alerts.

UK work experience opportunities

Careers A-Z Pharmaceutical or Biotechnology industries - How to gain experience/internships

The Scottish Life Sciences Internship Programme

Provides students with paid, relevant work experience in the Life Sciences sector. Open to undergraduate students in 1st, 2nd or 3rd year, who are studying a Life Science degree at a Scottish University. Placements last from ten to twelve weeks between June and September each year. ScotGrad website.

The Vienna Biocenter Summer School

Provides a unique opportunity for approximately 25 undergraduate students to work side by side with leading researchers in a dynamic scientific environment.  Further details.

Child Health Research Summer Studentships

These are non -clinical projects based in the UCL Institute of Child Health. Up to eight studentships are available to students studying science or medicine with maintenance support of at least £190 per week. Further details

Imperial College London - Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP)

UROP is a research opportunities programme available to students from within and outside Imperial. Further details

Medical Research Council

The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) is a world-class research laboratory. The LMB Summer Studentships scheme is aimed at undergraduate students who are considering a future in academic research. Summer students join one of the research groups at LMB and carry out original research, working alongside LMB scientists with full access to the world-class facilities at the LMB. Further details

Biomedical Vacation Scholarships (Wellcome Trust)

These awards provide promising undergraduates with hands-on experience of research during the summer vacation, with the aim of encouraging them to consider a career in research. Further details

EASTBIO Undergraduate Research Placements (BBSRC)

EASTBIO allocates several Research Experience Placements awards annually to excellent undergraduate students during the summer holiday. The scheme aims to provide students with a first-hand opportunity to experience research in a British lab, thus encouraging them to consider a career in scientific research. Further details.

International work experience opportunities

Some of these international opportunities are open only to citizens and or/students of specific countries:

INSIDER TIP: Many Institutes around the world run short summer courses for postgraduates. These courses sometimes hire course aides to help with logistics. This is a great entry level position for students keen to get experience working in labs. Search for a job title such as ‘course aide’ or ‘course assistant’ together with the name of an institute (e.g. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory or Marine Biological Laboratory). If that doesn’t work, try contacting the people responsible for directing a given course and simply ask if there are any opportunities along these lines.

Key links and resources