PhD in Biomedical / Biological / Life Sciences – Tips For Application and Admission

The phenomenal response to guest blogger Tanmoy Ray’s previous post on Biomedical Science Jobs and Careers prompted us to re-invite him for a follow-up post. This time he writes about doctoral level programs (PhD degree) in Biomedical sciences.

PhD in Biomedical / Biological / Life Sciences

by Tanmoy Ray

I assume that the readers are already acquainted with the field of Biomedical Science(s) and are considering doing a PhD in the field. For not so informed readers and those who are a little bit confused whether to do a PhD or an MBA, please refer to the earlier article Biomedical Science professions.

Why PhD in Biomedical Sciences

I had already discussed the advantages for doing a PhD in the earlier blog. To summarize – as a biomedical scientist, you are supposed to deal with the most complex machine in the universe – The Human Body. You will be working on the mechanisms and functions of genes, proteins, molecules, cells and organisms in health and disease.

The human biology is ever evolving, and lots of new diseases come up every year, as new bacterial and viral strains get in to the act because of adaptation and evolution. To successfully diagnose and deal with those diseases, a biomedical scientist needs to have in-depth theoretical knowledge and excellent technical skills.

A doctoral degree a.k.a. PhD is just the paving stone towards a research career in that field. Even if you are thinking about a Marketing role at the top in a Pharmaceutical giant, or wish to start your own biomedical (or biotech) company, a PhD is not only handy but essential in most cases.
Read How to choose your PhD topic

Why PhD Abroad vs India

It is not that there are no good research institutes in India. But, to have good career opportunities within the bio-medical research sector (academia or industry), a PhD from abroad is highly desirable. In the academia, there are lot of prestigious and generous fellowships for foreign-return PhDs and Post-docs.

Prestigious Indian institutes like IISC, CCMB, IISER, NCBS, TIFR, THSTI, NIBMG, JNCASR etc. do give preference candidates with foreign PhD. Biotech companies sometimes even mention that a PhD from US or Europe is desirable. The same goes for the prestigious universities and colleges.

Another factor is that the number of good institutes to provide quality PhD education and training is still limited in India in comparison to the number of PhD aspirants in the field of biomedical sciences.

If you fail to get a good PhD fellowship (like CSIR), you might end up with a stipend too meager to get satisfied. A PhD is of course not about earning big bucks.

But, when you devote the most important five years of your life to something, a healthy stipend is necessary, unless you are too motivated and don’t care about money. Then you will also have better exposure to training, facilities, funding and guidance. Last but not the least; overseas education has its own advantages.

How to get an admission for a PhD abroad

Usually you will need an excellent track record throughout your Bachelor and Master studies. It is possible to get a fully funded MS-PhD (or a direct PhD) position in the US, Canada, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand after a 4-year Undergraduate degree, provided you have got above 80% (or GPA 8.5) in your Bachelors, excellent recommendations and have conducted one or two solid research projects. Additionally, you will also need very good scores in GRE and TOEFL (or IELTS).

To get in to the top universities in the US and Singapore directly after Bachelors you will ideally need 150 – 155 in Verbal, 160 – 165 in Quantitative and 4.5 – 5.0 in the Writing section. Desirable scores in IELTS and TOEFL would be 7.5 – 8.0 and 100 – 112 respectively.

In Europe, a Masters degree is essential to get in to a PhD program irrespective of the length of your Bachelors degree. GRE is not mandatory for European PhD programs, but they do ask for more extensive research experience.

Top institutes like Max Planck or Oxford favor candidates with 2 – 4 years of research experience (excluding the project experience during Bachelor or Master Thesis project) and 1 – 4 quality publications.

When it comes to publications, candidates get more credit for two quality publications (e.g. PubMed indexed and/or with Impact Factor of at least 2.5) over candidates with eight papers in non-indexed journals.
Read PhD in USA for international students

Applying to International PhD Programs in Europe

One of the important issues Indian students face when applying to PhD programs abroad is the availability of funding to cover their tuition (or bench) fees, living expenses and research consumables.

Hence, it would be really wise to target the International PhD Programs in Europe. These programs, also known as Structured-PhD, come with automatic funding for students irrespective of their nationalities, and cover all the expenses.

The PhD students get supervised by some of the top-notch scientists in more than one lab due to the rotation programs and extensive collaborations. But, please bear in mind that these programs are also extremely competitive.

On an average 100 – 160 candidates compete for 1 position. More often than not, around 60 of those applications come from India & China combined. Some of the best programs have been listed below along with the links to their respective pages.

Best PhD Programs in Europe

We’ll break this up by geography, so it’s easy for you to refer to for further research.

PhD in Germany


PhD in Switzerland


PhD in UK


PhD in France


PhD in Austria


PhD in Spain


PhD in Finland


PhD in Belgium


Advertised PhD Positions

It would be also useful to keep looking for the advertised PhD positions. Unlike the structured programs, the advertised positions are available all year round. The best thing would be to keep looking at some useful search portals and sites regularly.

Some of the useful portals are – Scholars4dev, NatureJobs, Marie Curie Actions (ESR Fellowships), EURAXESS, FindAPhD, PhDPortal, DAAD. Other than that, you should also check the University and//or Department pages to check the available positions.

Popular countries in this category are Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Netherlands, Germany, Korea, Singapore, Japan, China (Including Hong Kong), Ireland, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, France, Austria, Belgium etc.

Once you find a suitable position, try to deal with it as a job advertisement. Read some of the related papers on the project and even those not published by that lab or supervisor.

It would also be a good idea to contact the supervisor via email, and try to get further information. That could help your application after you have submitted the application.


Open or Forced PhD Applications

One of the most effective ways of finding a PhD position abroad is sending open applications to the Principal Investigators, Group Heads or Professors directly.

Basically, you start with browsing through the research profiles of professors and shortlist the ones you find interesting to work with.

Then you send the PI short email containing your brief profile and research interest along with your CV as attachment.

In this case, it will be critical to shortlist only those scientists who are working in the area where you already have some idea and you are really passionate about.

It will be a bad idea, and even useless, if you are from Molecular Pharmacology background and you approach someone working in the field of Developmental Biology.

You will also need to read some of his research papers and get an idea of the lab profile as well. Professors usually receive a lot of emails with such requests. So, do not feel low if you do not hear back from them.

It is kind of similar to the concept of Pain Letter and you need to know How To Write A Pain Letter, and understand Why It Is More Effective.

This approach could be very effective if you have work strategically. There is no point of sending the same CV and email to 10-20 professors in a single day.  

Suppose you have got experience and interest in protein biology. You could approach PIs who are working in the field of biomarkers and/or drug target discovery. Rather than just sending a vague or generic interest, it would be great if you write that you would like to work on post-translational modifications (PTM) of proteins since the modified proteins could be novel biomarkers and drug targets.

If you are from Chemistry background, you could approach PIs who are working in the field of peptide therapeutics or drug designing. Alternatively, as a Molecular Biologist you could also approach a lab that is working on drug screening and you could propose to work on drug target validation and setting up assays.

Other examples would be – with a background and interest in Immunology, you could target a group working on Cancer Drug Discovery and propose to work on Immuno-modulatory Therapies. Likewise, if you know about Molecular Modeling and Docking Studies, you can join a Biology or Pharmacology lab who is working on drug discovery.

The idea is that you should try to stimulate the PI with your ideas. Mere expression of interest of doing a PhD is not going to work in such cases. After all, PhD is all about working on your own (and new) ideas under the supervision of an expert in the field.

This could be very tedious and lengthy in nature. But, the chance of getting a great project and avoiding stiff competition (like in the case of International PhD Programs) are very high. In fact, few universities (especially in US, UK and Australia) recommend prospective candidates to contact the PIs beforehand and to check if the PI is happy to consider you as a PhD candidate in his/her lab.

Being clear about what you want and impressing the PI with a concise and nice CV will help you to get 1-2 replies after sending 10 emails. It is all about contacting the right person at the right time. So, you will need a good strategy.

Do your research and get familiarized with the techniques in the lab. If you don’t enjoy working with animal models, then there is no point of joining an in vivo Biology group.

Sometimes, you also waste your time and energy if you target a wrong lab while following the Open Application approach. It is very unlikely to get a response from a Proteomics lab if you have not got solid knowledge about Proteins and hands-on experience with Mass-Spec.

Admission Tips for PhD Applications

I would finish this blog with a few PhD application tips.

  • Don’t go for PhD just for the sake of doing or just to get a degree under your belt. Staying focused and motivated for 3 – 5 years during PhD is not a cup of tea for everyone.
  • It is as important to find a good supervisor as getting a good project. Developing and maintaining a good and transparent relationship with your supervisor or advisor is very critical.
  • Do check the lab profile (previous publications, funding and any links with Pharma/Biotech Company. If the PI has got some patents and/or funding from industry – it could be very good for your future, but you might face problems like too much pressure (60 – 80 hours of work and studies per week) or not being able to publish more papers due to commercial sensitivity.
  • Do check the profiles of current students and staff. It would be nice to move to a lab where there are people from 3-4 different nationalities. Moving to a lab abroad, where there are people only from one or two nationality, might not be a good idea.
  • Do check beforehand if the amount of scholarship is good enough according to the standard of the city you will be moving in. If you have got a lavish lifestyle or moving in with a dependent (not working), then living on a monthly stipend of GBP 1,200 in London or AUD 2,100 in Sydney could be painful.

Also read How to get into PhD programs abroad
Jobs after MS in biomedical engineering, biotechnology, life sciences in USAAuthor Bio: Tanmoy Ray (connect with him on LinkedIn) has a Molecular Pharmacology background with 5 years of research experience in the fields of Cardiovascular Medicine, Cancer Biology, Biomarkers and Drug Discovery.

He has worked at the University of Oxford (UK), Utrecht University (Netherlands) and University of New South Wales (Australia).
Please post your queries on – Bioinformatics careers

Read these related posts:
Careers in Diagnostics
Jobs after MS in Biomedical Engineering, biotechnology, life sciences in USA
Careers in Agricultural Science
Careers in Translational Medicine

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  1. Eyunni Sanjana says:

    Hi Tanmoy,

    I am currently doing my final year BSc Biotechnology from Hyderabad. I want to take up either Genetics, life sciences or Biomedical genetics. However, I was very keen on going abroad to study. Unfortunately, since my course is a three year one, US universities seem to be ruled out(the good ones at least).

    I would like to know any other opportunities/universities- both in India and abroad where I can apply with a three year degree. Also, I would like to know if one can do a Masters in India and a PhD from the states. And if yes, what would the procedure be like?
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Sanjana,

      You can have the following options –

      1. Do your Masters from India, an then apply for a PhD in the US (I assume US is your preferred destination). For the procedure, you can refer to the article above – you’ll need to crack GRE and TOEFL (or IELTS); and then either trying to get in touch with the PIs personally or applying directly to the Department at different universities. I would suggest you to do your Masters from one of the top institutes (if you intend to do it from India). The reasons being – getting exposed to good research facilities and training; getting good recommendations (it is very likely that at top institutes, the Faculty could be an Ivy League alumni or might have done Post–doc from a reputed US university; or even have got some collaborations going on), researchers from the US come to attend seminars/conferences at the top institutes quite regularly.

      2. Go for MSc in the UK. In the UK, MSc will be 1-year. It will give you good enough knowledge, exposure and credentials to be able to apply for a PhD program in the US. UK and US universities collaborate extensively; so you might get some useful reference during your Masters. Personally, I would advise this option. You’ll get opportunities both in US and Europe. More importantly, getting two degrees from two different countries (in fact continents) will help you in a long way to get a good PhD position in the US.An MSc degree from any of the top 40-50 UK universities will help your cause. However, a Masters from the UK will be expensive w.r.t. Masters from India, but it’s definitely good value for money.

      Best Wishes,


  2. ananya says:

    Hi Tanmoy

    I am currently pursuing bsc. microbiology 2nd year from DU . and i am keen on studying in Abroad for my masters in biotechnology
    i read your earlier article and it says germany finland , netherland have affordable rates to pursue masters . Also i know B1 level german .
    so i wanted to ask that to get admission in german university is there a competitive exam like they have GRE fr US n UK

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Ananya,

      For doing MSc from Germany, GRE is not mandatory (except few universities like TU Munich or RWTH Aachen etc.), but it could be an advantage in order to beat competition. However, IELTS or TOEFL would be compulsory.

      Knowledge of B1 level German will be of great value during application (and to socialize after you reach there). As far as my experience goes, students apply to German programs either without any knowledge of German language or maximum A1-A2 level. So, you will definitely get some serious attention. Since you’re in 2nd year, I will also suggest you to go for the B2 level. That will be a tremendous advantage. If you manage to get 65-70% aggregate in your B.Sc. and score 6.5 – 7.0 in IELTS, your knowledge of B1 level German language will help your application a lot.

      Good Luck!

  3. Amritha says:

    i have completed B TECH in biomedical engineering from CUSAT and planning to go for pg.but i am little bit confused.Which subject should i take for mtech or should i go for mba for a better career.

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Amritha,

      The topics of choosing a subject for M.Tech or choosing between M.Tech or MBA have been discussed in the earlier blog (where you initially posted your comment). My suggestion would be keeping a balance between your own interests and career goals.

  4. Neha says:

    hello sir,
    I have recently completed my M.Sc in biotechnology from DAV college, Panjab University, Chandigarh. Now I’m planning to move to Australia but I’m confused in opting the courses, whether to go for a PhD program or an MBA ! I want to get placed in a good company. Which among the two have better future scope and career? will they raise a question if I go for MBA after Masters? It seems difficult to be a part of their research team as I have got only 60% in my graduation and the post graduation result is awaited (will be around 69-70%). Please suggest me the right career options. Thank you !

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Neha,

      Whether to go for MBA or PhD – this topic has been covered in the earlier blog and in comments.

      For MBA at good B-School in Australia you will need at least 2-3 years of work experience along with GMAT score. Even if you opt for Fresher MBA, no one is going to ask you anyway. You need to justify your decision in your Personal Statement (or during Skype interview).

      You can get in to a PhD program with that marks. What you need is a good research idea and approaching the right Professors or Group Leaders. Please refer to the blog post above.

      Best Wishes,


  5. Arunabh says:

    Hello Tanmoy Sir,
    I want your suggestion on something which has been bothering me since long. I’ve graduated from DTU (erstwhile DCE) with Biotechnology as branch. I had received acceptances for MS in COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY (CB) from Purdue University and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. On the last moment, I had changed my mind not to pursue this very stream. I don’t know why, but I have apprehension about the kind of job I would get. Being placed at Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, et cetera seems lucrative (I’ve seen students who study CB get placed at software companies) but sitting in front of a blank screen and writing codes is not something I’d ever want to do. Of lately, I’m thinking of going for MS in BME the next fall. I’ve no idea what salaries will a US Biomed company be giving me, but I do want to earn $100,000+ because I’ve always been a topper academically, and I can’t stand if I do not end up earning more than my competitors at school and college. I know that interest matters, but I also know that salary forms the basis on which a person’s worth is made known to his/her parents and society. I’ve always wanted to be a scientist working on crucial biological projects, and I also want to be into leadership position, for example, the kind of people who earn their MBA from schools like Wharton. For the time being, I’ve got to choose between MS in CB or BME (I don’t like CB because I don’t want to become a software developer or go into academics, but I like it because we can get into data sciences at Google, et cetera, and also analytics). In the end, like five years down the line, I want to earn the above mentioned salary, and I want to be in reputable job, and most importantly, I want to go the work happily and return home happily doing the work that I love. I anticipate your reply soon.

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Arunabh,

      It’s good to see that you are very clear about your interests and goals; and I really appreciate your candidness.

      In your case, I would like to suggest the following programs:

      PhD/MBA Joint Degree Program – Yale University
      MS/MBA (Bioengineering) – Stanford University
      M.Eng./MBA (Biomedical Engineering) – Texas A&M University
      PhD/MBA – UCONN
      PhD/MBA – Penn State
      MS/MBA – Rutgers
      PhD/MBA – Wake Forrest
      MBS/MBA – Tufts University
      MS/MBA (Biomechanics or Biomedical Engineering) – University of Tennessee
      PhD Bioengineering – Caltech (Rosen Center for Bioengineering)

      These programs are very competitive – some of them require both GRE and GMAT scores. But, reading your comment I believe you have got what it takes to get admitted in to those programs.

      I would slightly prefer the PhD/MBA over MS/MBA in your case – since you wish to stay in research and earn a handsome salary. However, you can even earn that much (USD 100k+) with MS-MBA qualification within 2-3 years after joining a biotech company in the US. With a PhD under your belt, you can even go beyond $150k per year.

      Do spend some quality time to research about those programs. I hope you will find them useful. Another tips would be once get admitted – try to get your project (or collaborate) with a spin-out or start-up company. I know few PhD students who got patents approved during their PhD studies. They are doing very well after finishing PhD.

      All The Best!

  6. apurvi says:

    hello sir, i read your article for biomedical science and got fascinated , so i decided to opt for bsc in biomedical sci.
    i got good marks in my 12th boards and was sure that i will get admission in delhi university but unfortunately admission got closed in the third cutoff itself. then i have taken admission in bsc life science in ramjas.
    i want to know that through life sci in future can i opt for biomedical sci career.if yes,then how and plzz tell me about future abroad(foreign) studies after this.
    thank you and plzz reply.

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Apurvi,

      You could definitely switch to Biomedical Science with a Bachelor degree in Life Science. Even if you continue with Life Science for Masters, you could go for PhD in Biomedical Science. I don’t know what are your subject combinations. But, if you are studying Physiology, Zoology, Chemistry – then you could definitely get in to mainstream biomedical domain.

      I believe you have got in to a 3-year program. So, the best thing would be going for MSc first (either in India or Europe). Try to get some quality research experience during your Bachelor – go for internships during your vacations; preferably in the field of Biochemistry / Pharmacology / Molecular Cell Biology.

      Let me know if you have got any further queries.

      Best Wishes,


  7. Mukul says:

    Hello Tanmoy sir,

    I am an MBBS student from New Delhi, India currently doing internship.
    After MBBS, I do not want to go into the clinical side and am really interested in pursuing MS Biomedical Engineering and god willing, a PhD after it.
    However, I am keen on doing my masters in Biomedical Engineering only from the US, since I want to settle there eventually.Kindly guide me as to how to go about the whole process.I am aware that Biomedical Engineering is hard for MBBS students to get into initially but I have read profiles of a couple of people who did MBBS from India and then pursued Masters in BME from US, therefore I know that it can be done and i really want to do it.Just that I do not know how to go about doing it?Also, being an MBBS student, since I do not have much experience in lab research do you think it would be a good idea to send emails to a few professors in US and offer them my services as an unpaid position initially, just to learn the tricks of the trade of lab research and also try to make contacts and then try to get into the BME program at that university itself.Please let me know what you think.Any guidance from you on the issue would be much appreciated.

    Thanking you,

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Mukul,

      It’s relatively tough to get in to MS Biomedical Engineering with MBBS background – the main reason being Biomedical Engineering includes core topics like Bio-Mechanics, Signal Processing, Instrumentation Engineering. Hence, universities take students with background in Bio-Medical Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering.

      But, it is NOT impossible at all for MBBS graduates to get in to MS BME programs. You could try the following options-

      Get in touch with the program/course directors and discuss your profile and interest. If you have got good grades in Physics and Mathematics during your Class 12 (+2), and if you score really good in GRE – you can definitely get in to good universities even if you don’t have any lab experience.

      Get an MSc in Biomedical Engineering from the UK. German and few other European universities usually do not take MBBS graduates for Masters BME programs. Universities like Warwick, Leeds, Nottingham, Glasgow etc. would be really good for your profile. Then you could go for PhD in Biomedical Engineering in the US (you will still have to clear GRE in that case).

      I hope this helps.

      Best Wishes,


  8. Das says:


    what is the qualification of a doctor to practice stem cell therapy to patients? What are the courses offered (India) or the degrees to do to become a practitioner of stem cell medicine after MBBS? Where are the career opportunities after stem cell medicine?

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Dear Das,

      As per my knowledge, an MD-PhD degree would do the job for you.

      To be honest, I am myself from Bio-Medical background, and I am not 100% sure about the the qualifications needed for practicing Stem Cell Therapy to patients. I would suggest you to consult someone from Medical/MBBS/MD background.

      Regarding the opportunities in Stem Cell Medicine – the prospects are brilliant. Be it cancer, cardiovascular disease, stem cell therapy has got tremendous potential. If you are interested in both research and clinical work, Stem Cell Therapy would really suit you.

      Good Luck!

  9. Prashant Rathore says:

    Hi I am Prashant I have done 12th in 2012 but I have no idea that what I do,so mujko thik guidance den me medical field me apna best career bnana chata hun or abrode (USA) me job krna chata hun or me M.B.B.S is leye ni kr ska becoz meri arthik poor condition h so mujko biomedical or kici or degree ke bare me jankari de Jiska all country me bhut crage ho or salary bhi M.B.B.S doctor k brabr ho ,I means name,kam,achhi kamayi ho jisse me apna ghar ki poor condition change kr dun.thanks.

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Prashant,

      I assume your last qualification is Class 12. First of all, I would suggest you to finish your graduation first (preferably in bio-science). Put as much effort as you can to come up with best possible grades. There are lot of options available to fund your higher studies in abroad, provided you have got the potential and ambition.

      Two more things – you can change your family’s fortune even without going abroad for studies or job. Secondly, don’t think your financial condition as the end of life. I agree that it could be really challenging, but there is always a way if you have got the burning desire.

      aur waise bhi “kosish karne waalo ki kabhi haar nahi hoti”!

      All The Best!

  10. Alva says:

    Hi Tanmoy,

    I am 29 years old. I have a B.Tech. degree in Electrical Engineering from one of the top IITs (GPA 8.58/10), with 2 publications in reasonably prestigious journals. Post that I also did an MBA from IIM B. I have 5 years of work experience, all of it business consulting, of which the last 3 years was in one of the most prestigious global management consulting firms. Despite all this glamor and success-on-paper, I had begun feeling very hollow and I felt that I would be a much better fit back in scientific research. I left my job (at a point when I was still performing very well – so this was voluntary) and travelled for the past 7-8 months. A lot of my management consulting experience had been in pharma and medtech, and I had felt for sometime that I should give biomedical engineering a try. I now plan to apply for an MS for next fall, the purpose of which would be to explore the different subjects within Biomed and I feel fired enough by the research, I would go ahead and do a PhD. Otherwise I would go back to the industry either as an engineer or back in the business world in healthcare. In the meantime, I’m also doing a short internship in medical imaging back in IIT – this will also help me to ensure that my decision is not based on my view of the field from afar.

    I wanted to ask you:
    1) With my kind of profile and having not directly been involved in engineering for so many years, what are my chances of getting a top university? Which universities should I realistically aim for? I am open to US/Europe/Australia/Singapore
    2) If I decide to join the industry as an engineer after finishing the MS, what kind of salary should I expect? Would I have any advantage due to the MBA degree and work ex? Obviously I would do this because I find core engineering work more meaningful than business work, but I still want to be aware of the monetary aspect of this trade off.

    Thanks for reading this long comment! And looking forward to your reply.

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Alva,

      It is true that getting a fully funded PhD is really competitive. But, the most important criteria for getting and completing a PhD is self-motivation. Skills and techniques could be taught, but motivation cannot. From your comment I do feel that you have got the motivation. Since, you are also doing an internship in Medical Imaging, you are already on the right track.

      I would strongly advise you to contact the PIs and Group Leaders personally. Target the labs that incubate spin-off or start-up companies.You might lack technical skills. But, your business consulting experience could impress few PI straightaway. These days a lot of PhD graduates fail to make it to the Post-doc stage due to the lack in vision in terms of business development and entrepreneurship. Since you haven’t got a relevant Masters degree, so getting a PhD position could be difficult in Europe. But, you never know – so do try countries like Netherlands (Utrecht, Maastricht, Leiden, Wageningen, VU Amsterdam, NKI, Rotterdam, Groningen, TU Delft, TU Eindhoven), Sweden (Lund, Uppsala, Umea, Karolinska), Denmark (Copenhagen, Aarhus, TU Denmark) – all those places are very good for bio-medical engineering, and especially for Medical Imaging. Simultaneously, also keep your options open for MS in Germany, UK, Ireland. Regarding positions in US, you could go for MS-PhD – you have to find a supervisor first and have to crack GRE as well.

      Even if you do not finish a PhD, MS in Biomedical Engineering will also help you to get extremely well-paid jobs. Biomedical engineers (without MBA degree) can earn something between $60,000 – $140,000 per year in the US. The median annual wage for biomedical engineers was $86,960 in May 2012 (US Dept. of Labor / Bureau of Labor Statistics).

      One final tip – try to combine your knack for medical imaging with the field of biomarkers. The quest for non-invasive imaging biomarkers is growing exponentially, both in US and Europe. Also look up for preventive markers and pre-clinical drug development.

      I hope this helps.

      Best Wishes,


  11. Riya says:

    Hi Tanmoy
    You are doing a great job by helping people in need….I really appreciate what you are doing.
    I too had a query.I have just completed my 12th std and i am planning to do my bachelor’s in biomedical science from Australia. Is that a good option? I also intend to stay back there only as i have many family members there. In addition to that, job opportunities for biomedical graduates also seem to be very poor. Is it possible to earn those 60 PR points in the duration of student visa?…..I have also tried calculating my PR points but different websites show different results.
    Your reply will be very helpful.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Riya,

      Australia will be a good choice. Although there are not many pharma-biotech companies in Australia engaged in R&D. But, due to relaxed (relatively) Post Study Work and Immigration rules, it is a good destination indeed. The education is expensive indeed (comes next to US only). But, there are several scholarship schemes both from the Australian Govt. (IPRS, AusAID, Endeavour, Prime Minister Scholarship etc.) and Universities – ranging from 25% – 50% of tuition fee waiver. The quality of education and research are really good. Besides, it is English speaking and very multicultural.

      Regarding job opportunities, Bio-Medical sector is competitive. Unless your grades, aptitude and motivation are more than average, getting a job could be tricky. Staying close to NSW could be an advantage, but Sydney is expensive though when you compare with Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and other student cities. The biomedical sector is relatively recession-proof. You can get equally good opportunities in the academia as well, if you fail to get one in a company. You need to keep your eyes open.

      In response to your query about PR points – I am afraid, I am not the best person to answer that. To my best knowledge, getting a PR is possible in Australia. But, I am not at all up-to-date with the Point Systems and related rules. You could try contacting an immigration consultant.

      Best Wishes,


      • Riya says:

        Thank you Tamnoy for your reply. I am planning for Deakin University in Melbourne as my uncle lives very near to the university. My aim will be to perform the best in my bachelor’s and concentrate on a wholesome development during the bachelor’s duration so that better job opportunities can come my way.

        • Tanmoy Ray says:

          You’re welcome Riya.

          Deakin is a nice choice for Bachelors in Bio-Medical Sciences. Deakin’s national and international rankings are also impressive.

          Good luck with your studies and future career. More importantly, have fun and enjoy the world of Bio-Medical Science.


  12. samiksha latkar says:

    Hello sir,
    I am doing in microbiology. What should I do after graduation M.Sc or M.B.A ? What are the supportive courses for careear in microbiology?

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Samiksha,

      Regarding your question about MBA vs M.Sc. – it totally depends on your interests and career goals. You could refer to the previous blog comments (there were several queries on the same topic) and the previous blog as well.

      Regarding courses on Microbiology – you could go for M.Sc. in one of the following streams:
      Medical Microbiology
      Industrial Microbiology
      Terrestrial Microbiology
      Agricultural Microbiology
      Food/Dairy Microbiology
      Environmental (Aquatic or Aero) Microbiology
      Geo-chemical Microbiology

      Best Wishes,


  13. Pavan says:

    Hi Tanmoy,

    I am glad to find your blog. I have done my B.Sc in Biotech in 2009 and planned for MS in abroad in same field( Bioinformatics, Biotech) but unexpectedly entered into software industry(ERP applications) in India and spent 6 years and couldn’t able to continue my studies. However I always wanted to pursue my higher studies. Now I would like to do my masters and I have many questions in mind. What would be the ideal field for me? Should I do the in Biology groups as per my educational background or MBA as per my work experience ?. I am interested in both sectors but unable to decide. What are the chances to get jobs if I do MS, How it will help in my career further. Can I do MS/MBA in US, EU and Australia universities with 3 year Indian degree?, and how can I utilize my work experience to get a job there? I might be asking many questions at this time. I would appreciate if you can suggest me with your expertise.

    Thank you,

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Pavan,

      You can definitely get a job in the US after doing MS. But, considering your profile, I would advise for MBA over MS (since you are enjoying the current domain).

      It might be hard to get a MBA in the US with 3-year Bachelor degree (although there are options for pre-MBA and Pathway programs)). But, options of Europe are there for you. Sameer or Manish can guide you better with that.

      In a nutshell, if you are equally open to both options – MBA would be more fruitful at this stage of your career.

      Best Wishes,


  14. Richa says:

    Hello sir,
    I am currently pursuing my MS in Biotechnology in USA from Johns Hopkins University. I ll earn my degree in dec 15. after graduating i have two choices with me , either look up for a job in my OPT period which or pursue phd.i know some indian students who have done their phd in biological science , but are struggling hard to secure a job after studying hard for almost 5-6 years. even if they managed to get a job , they are paid extremly poorly.This factor is highly demotivating for me, i would really appreciate if you can throw some light on the job prospects, oppertunities after doing phd in biological science in USA.
    thx, a lot

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Richa,

      The scenario is like that even in Europe. Approximately 5-10% PhD graduates get absorbed as Post-docs in the academia. Ideally you need to have 2-4 quality publications (1st or 2nd author) and good recommendations to get a Post-doc anywhere in the world.

      In case you are little skeptical, you could go for a Research position – RA or Staff Scientist during your OTP period. 2 years of work experience will help you a lot later on. You could go for both academia and industry after finishing PhD.

      PhD in bio-medical is all about self-motivation, nice ideas and of course luck as well. If you are really passionate and keen to to become a scientist – go for PhD after finishing MS. Choose the lab carefully. A lab that publishes hell lot of paper, but in very low impact factor journals – might not be a good option. Likewise, if your potential supervisor says s/he expect one or two quality publication from you – that also might not be the best place to be.

      Try to find labs where:
      – PhD students get at least 3 decent publications during their PhD
      – have got strong collaborations in and outside US. If you get an opportunity to spend a year in Europe, Asia or Down Under – that would really look good on your CV (and excellent for future opportunities)
      – some sort of involvement of pharma-biotech companies or spin-off companies
      – you get decent time for personal and career development (workshops, attending conferences abroad, training courses etc.). If you spend all your time on the bench and in front of computer screen – that’s not an ideal PhD

      Of course you might not find a lab with everything, but try to tick as many boxes as possible.

      US PhD graduates are valued all around the world. So, try to be open about relocating to other parts of US and even outside US. Life during and after Bio-Medical Science PhD (at least the first 3-5 years after PhD completion) are hard. But, if planned and executed properly (along with little bit of luck), it’s a very satisfying career to have.

      One final tip – do not assume what’s going to happen with you by looking at others. I got my job after MSc in the UK (within 2 months) when 90% of international students struggled to get a job within 6 months of completion of course; and I was not like a topper, genius or the most luck person out of the lot.

      Stay motivated and enjoy!!!

      Best Wishes,


  15. Banhi Chowdhury says:

    Your blog was really of great help to me.. Thanx a lot for providing such an in depth information regarding this biological science field.. I graduated from university of Calcutta in zoology with 75% marks.. M pursuing my masters degree in genetics from university of Calcutta.. But I am highly confused about what to do next.. I am not interested in doing my phd considering the tenure it usually takes to complete.. What are the job opportunities open in this field? Can you please suggest whether a phd or a mba would be a better option for getting a high salary job..!!

    Thank you..!

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Banhi,

      If you are not interested in PhD – do not go for it. Instead try to go for jobs in the industry or academia. In Kolkata you can try TCG Life Sciences (Chembiotek), Bose Institute, TATA Medical Center, IICB etc.If you are okay with relocation, you can find several opportunities. At entry level, the competition will be cut-throat, and the starting salary might not be handsome everywhere. At this stage, focus on gathering experience. 2-3 years down the line, you can take a call whether to go for MBA or trying for senior research positions like Lab Manager, Research Officer or Research Coordinator.

      However, considering the fact that you got 75% in B.Sc. from CU, I would have preferred you going for PhD after 1-3 years of research experience. But, no point of doing a PhD if you are not motivated.

      Drawing a salary-comparison between MBA graduate and PhD graduate is not fair .Both are quite different. Generally, an MBA graduate will earn more than a PhD graduate. But, there are lot of perks and freedom for a PhD graduate – relaxed work schedule, more holidays etc. Then if you produce novel findings, you can get them patented and make good money through licensing.

      I would say – ask yourself if you enjoy science and research. That’s why it is very important to spend some quality time (2-3 years) after finishing M.Sc. Then you would be in a better position to take a call between pursuing MBA or PhD.

      Best Wishes,


  16. GAURAV LAMBE says:

    Hi Sir !
    I wanted to know about Post doc or career opportunities after PhD in medical sciences. I want to go for post doc abroad andI am currently pursuing PhD in mumbai in tertiary hospital. Thank you !!

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Gaurav,

      Regarding Post-doc positions I can give you very limited advice – find labs where more or less similar line of research work is going on. The PI will evaluate your ideas more than your technical skills and the values that you can add. Try to network with the right people.

      Good Luck.

  17. Sakshi Gautam says:

    Hello Sir,

    I have completed M.Sc. (Hons.) in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. My GPA score is 8.37 and GRE general test score is 306. Yet to sit for TOEFL and GRE Subject test in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology and expecting good scores. I am preparing for Fall 2016 admission in PhD in the US. Currently I am working as a lecturer in Biochemistry in a local private university and teaching undergraduate students..
    The problem with my profile is that my M.Sc. did not have thesis work but only lab rotations. I do have a good knowledge of handling various biochemical and biophysical techniques but I don’t have any written thesis or publications. I wanted to know whether my profile will be considered for the Graduate program or not.


    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Sakshi,

      In terms of profile, you do stand a good chance to get a Graduate position along with RA//TA. When it comes to PhD admission, the most important requirements are self-motivation, aptitude and creativity. You have got a decent GRE score, and familiar with few lab techniques – that’s an added bonus. Moreover, you are also planning to take the subject GRE. So, you do stand in a good stead.

      In order to increase your chances, do contact few PIs before submitting applications to the University. Since you are targeting the Fall 2016 intake, this is the high time to start that (if you haven’t started yet). In order to get effective mentoring – focus on Associate Professors rather than Professors; and not Assistant Professors.

      One final advice – do not just target top ranked and prestigious universities. In fact, the university brand name matters much more during Post-doc phase. Try to build your profile in a way that can showcase continual development. At the end of the day, you will be getting a Doctorate degree and earning more or less same amount of monthly stipend.

      All The Best!

      • Sakshi Gautam says:

        Thank you so much for your reply and the valuable advice Sir. And Yes I have started working for the application process seriously :)

  18. liza chatterjee says:

    Hello Sir,
    i am from a biological science background having graduated in zoology from the University of Calcutta with 80% marks. i recently took admission in The University of Calcutta for my masters in Neuroscience. i want to do PhD in this field.. can you please suggest me a good topic of research in neuroscience..and also please do mention about the different institutes in india as well as abroad where i can pursue my PhD in my field.
    And what are the criteria required to get selected by the various universities abroad in neuroscience..?

    Thank you..

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Liza,

      Hot topics in Neuroscience are: neuro-degenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s etc.). neural circuit, Memory research, stem-cell therapy, You can also look in to the Developmental Biology of the Brain.Refer this article –
      Make a habit of reading related articles on Nature. Science, NewScientist, Science Daily etc. to keep updated.

      Good institutes in India – TIFR, CCMB, NCBS, IISC, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Christian Medical College Vellore, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, KIMS, National Brain Research Centre, DAV Institute etc.

      Good institutes in abroad – John Hopkins, University of California (San Diego, Los Angeles, Berkeley), Stanford, UCL, Oxford, Cambridge, Brown University, Maxx-Planck, University of Zurich, Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU), MIT, Caltech, Imperial College London, Duke University, Baylor College of Medicine, Columbia University, Karolinska Institute, Trinity College Dublin and many others.

      Criteria for PhD – Masters degree along with Thesis in relevant area, sound knowledge and experience with lab techniques, GRE + TOEFL/IELTS scores and Motivation + Research Idea(s).

      Good Luck!


  19. Apoorva Uboveja says:

    Hello Sir
    I really wanted your suggestion about something that has been bothering me regarding my future. I have done B.Sc in Biomedical Science from Delhi University and M.Sc in Biotechnology from South Asian University. Currently, I am pursuing PhD in Biomedical Science from Ambedkar institute of Biomedical Science, Delhi University. I am little confused about my options after PhD,other than Post Doc. If you can help me with some suggestions, I would be really grateful.
    Thank you

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Apoorva,

      You can get Scientist positions in pharma-biotech companies. Biotech companies do prefer PhD candidates. So you will have lot of opportunities. The starting salary might not be great everywhere (if you compare with other domains like Engineering, IT, Hospitality etc.). But, companies like Piramal, Biocon, Advinus, Jubilant, DRL, Novartis (not too much R&D work in India though), Sun, Aurobindo, Abbott, Wochhardt etc. are good ones to start with.

      All The Best!


  20. Tanvi Sethi says:

    Hi Tanmoy

    I have done my Btech Biotechnology from Kurukshetra University. After that I worked in TCS as a software developer for two years. Now I wish to again go back to my field and pursue a masters from abroad. However I am confused between Biomedical Sciences and Biomedical engineering. I have an affinity for both of them. But the job market isnt good. This is what I have read. Also I am not keen on doing a PhD after my masters, instead I wish to get into the industry and do the research and finally down the lane maybe after 5 years take up leadership roles. Can you please guide me through this. Or else please suggest some alternative courses that would suit my profile. Also I have taken my GRE and IELTS scoring 316 and 7.5 respectively.


    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Tanvi,

      If you haven’t got in-depth exposure to bio-mechanics, signal processing, MRI and related stuff – MS in Bio-Medical Sciences would be better for you. Since you have worked as a software developer for 2 years, Bio-informatics or Genetics would suit you. I would also suggest GWS for specialization.

      Considering your test scores, I am quite hopeful that you will get in to a good school with decent Scholarship. I would definitely suggest US, Germany, Singapore and Canada. After finishing MS you could get well paid jobs in the industry. It is of course possible to get promoted as Lab Manager or Research Officer after starting as a Staff Scientist. But, if you want to climb higher than that – do keep MBA on your cards (since you are not interested in PhD).

      Hope this helps!


    • Tanmoy Ray says:


      Do consider the domains of Bio-Statistics and Big Data Analytics as. You can definitely go far even without MBA or PhD, provided you are quit good with programming and leadership skills.

  21. Shyam says:

    Hi Tanmoy,

    Really appreciate your blog and the effort you take to answer queries.

    I am a graduate in Chemistry (with Physics and Mathematics as subsidiaries) from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala (80% marks in Science and Maths) and have a PG in Biotechnology from Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu (63% marks). After my PG, I worked with Jubilant Biosys, Bangalore, as a data annotator for biological databases (4 years). I showed good progress during these 4 years in the company, starting off as a trainee and making my way through to a Project-coordinator. Later, I worked for a research institute which (again) dealt with biological data annotations (4 yrs). I managed co-authorship in 7 peer-reviewed and PubMed-indexed publications from here in the area of biological signaling pathway annotation (minimal wet lab involved). However, I had to quit the institute due to some personal obligations. For the past three years, I am at my home town taking private tutions for a living.

    Now, since I am relieved from my obligations, I would like to pursue a PhD in Life/Biological/Biomedical sciences/MBA dual degree from the US (since I have experience in both industry and academic settings). I plan to take my GRE and TOEFL in the middle of Nov (since most of the universities have a deadline of Dec 1 or later). What I would want to know from you is the following –

    1) I am close to 35 yrs old now. Will this be considered a negative during the review process?
    2) Will this gap of 3 yrs since my last working engagement affect my chances?
    3) Will not having a great wet-lab experience affect my chances negatively?
    4) What kind of Universities should I be looking at with my profile? I did see the list you had put up here as a response to an earlier question. Are Penn State, UConn and Wake Forest the best options? if I choose to do a PhD in Biological/Life/Biomedical Sciences only (and not a dual MBA degree), what kind of Universities should I be looking at (considering my profile)? Could you suggest 4-5?

    I would greatly appreciate if you could answer these questions.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Shyam,

      Your profile is a little bit tricky one. But, I will try to answer them to the best of my knowledge and experience. Below are the responses to your specific queries:

      Age is not a bar (especially for PhD) if you have got the motivation, skills and knowledge. In Australia, average age of PhD students within bio-medical domain is 30+. In US, Lab-Techs get enrolled for PhD program quite late.
      The 3-year gap could be a blocker, but not the end of life. Start approaching Professors/PIs rather than worrying about universities. The key is always finding the right supervisor. Get your interest and ideas matched with the research profile of the potential supervisors. If s/he gets convinced, you will not need to worry about age, gap, funding etc. However, you will have to fulfill the university/department requirements (GRE score, TOEFL or IELTS score etc.). Since you have got 7 publications with years of relevant experience, you will have good chance. You just need to explain the reason of your gap.
      There are lot of PhD projects without wet lab. Moreover, techniques can be taught, but motivation cannot be.
      As I mentioned earlier, forget about the universities. First write down your key research interests and expertise, Then start finding the professors working in those areas.It might take a little time in your case, but don’t get demotivated. It’s just a matter of writing the right mail to the right person at the right time.

      All The Best!


  22. tanu garg says:

    HI Tanmoy,
    I am TANU GARG . I have completed my btech from a up state government college and i am pursuing my mtech from NIT, BHOPAL, I am doin my project dessertation work from IIT, KANPUR in molecular oncoloy lab. i want to pursue my doctoral course from abroad . please tell me what can i do?

  23. Alok gupta says:

    My daughter is studying in bsc (bio) now she wants to join ms with phd in good university in USA .she wants to be a good teacher may be school or collage . Kindly advisee how should we proceed .

  24. Tanmoy Ray says:

    Tanu Garg & Alok Gupta – You will find the answers in the blog (above) itself and also in few comments. I have mentioned how to start, where to look and about different types of approaches / application methods.



  25. Pinsy says:


    I have completed MSc biotechnology and have almost three years of experience. I have cleared IELTS and I am going to take GRE exam within few days. I came to know that in GRE exam, at last we are given a chance to send scores to 4 universities. I want to apply for USA or canada. Kindly give me idea for which universities I should send scores if I want to pursue PHD in biotech/mol bio. Please reply as soon as possible I am very close to my exam.

    Thank u.

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Pinsy,

      I am not sure what kind of score you are targeting. If you manage to score 150+ in Verbal and 160+ in Quantitative, you could target universities like: Cornell, Princeton, John Hopkins, Duke, Michigan, NYU, Boston, Northwestern, Florida, Minnesota, Brown, Purdue.

      I would say name two universities within Top 50 (QS or Times Rankings), provided you are anticipating more than 310. Choose one between 51 – 100 and one within 101 – 200.

      If you are anticipating below 310, go for 51 – 200. Such universities would be Baylor, Boston, Northwestern, Minnesota, Brown, Michigan State, Purdue, North Carolina, UIC, UCSB, Arizona State, Tufts, Iowa State etc.

      You could also choose one safe one – under top 300 like University of Iowa, University of Rochester, Virginia Polytechnic, Buffalo SUNY.

      Hope this helps!


  26. neeta says:

    m a student of delhi university doing masters in biomedical science final year.My GRE is in sep. i am planning to do research in USA..but i am not sure which university to apply in as my score in bsc wasnt great.i scored mere 59% in bsc and 68% till now in msc. so do i have chances?
    plus i mailed many professors personally..two of them replied that too said not to mail them but come through application process…
    how should i secure a seat then nd which university will take me with this profile

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Neeta,

      First of all, grades are important but not everything. Adcom will judge you on the basis of your overall profile – grades, practical experience, SoP, recommendation and GRE score.

      You could target those rank between 201 – 400.

      Best Wishes,


      • neeta says:

        hi tanmoy
        i have given my GRE with score 296
        plz suggest me univ in US where this score is acceptable and i stand good chance of getting through

  27. brett smile says:

    I m a medical doctor and resident in the clinical pharmacology speciality. I m also familiar with moldcular dynamics, docking, qsar and pharmacophore modelling (publications). I have also experince in chromatography techniques and programming. Right now I m considering application to a phD. Can you advise me ? Is it a god idea to apply for a position in drug discovery (medicinal chem, screeening..) or should I consider pharmacokinetics or even general pharmacology ?
    Do you think that I can secure a phD position if beside my profile I can get good ielts score ?
    Thank you for your good and extensive review

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Brett,

      You can have excellent PhD opportunities. Knowledge of Pharmacology along with Drug Chemistry, Chromatography with Medical background is a very rare combination. Plus you have got publications as well.

      If you enjoy drug chemistry (drug designing, screening etc.), you should definitely go after drug discovery. Drug Discovery is a very broad field, which involves protein chemistry, pharmacology, drug designing, medical physiology etc. You have got an ideal profile to explore the field.

      Wish you all the best……


  28. Kaivalya says:

    I am a fourth year undergraduate student pursuing B.Sc (Research) at Indian Institute of Science with Biology as my major and Materials Science as my minor. I have a CGPA of 7.0 out of 8. I have had courses in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Engineering (Algorithms and Programming, Electronic Engineering, Introduction to Earth Sciences and Material Science) and Humanities in my first 3 semesters. As a Materials Science minor, I have taken courses on Structure of Materials, Material Kinetics, Material Thermodynamics, Biomaterials, Organic electronics. Additionally, I have taken engineering courses on Polymer Science and Engineering, Scientific Computing, and Electrochemical Engineering.
    I have carried out three summer research projects in Cell Signaling, Cancer Genetics, Protein Biochemistry at NCBS, Bangalore; ACTREC, Mumbai, and University of Wisconsin-Madison (as a Khorana Scholar) respectively. I’m working on building scaffolds for breast cancer cell lines for my final year project at IISc. Currently, I have a GRE score of 323 (153 – Verbal, 170 – Quant).
    I have a keen interest in pursuing further studies in the field of biomaterials (tissue engineering, drug delivery) and have seen that it comes under the Biomedical Engineering Department of the US universities.
    I wanted to know whether my application would be competent enough for the best Biomedical Engineering programs or whether it would be better for me to apply to Biology Departments. Also, could you give me your views on a funded MS Vs. Phd programs and opportunities. I would be glad if you could suggest me the best universities that best suit my interests. It would also be helpful if you could give your tips on the SOP aspect as well.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Kaivalya,

      Your overall profile is really good and hence you do hold excellent chance to get in to some of the top US universities.

      In case of MS programs (Bio-engineering or Bio-medical Engineering), try for UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, John Hopkins, Stanford, Michigan State, Duke, Georgia Institute of Technology, MIT, Boston, University of Washington.

      For integrated MS-PhD, UC San Diego, Michigan State, Penn State, Texas would be suitable. Give a shot to University of Wisconsin-Madison for obvious reason – the chance of a fully funded opportunity would be high.

      For the specific research area of tissue engineering & drug delivery (and nano-biotechnology) – MIT, Harvard, John Hopkins, University of Iowa (School of Pharmacy), Cornell University (Dept. of Chemical Engineering). You have got exposure to Cancer Genetics as well, so do try to look up for the MIT-Harvard Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence ( too.

      Regarding tips on SOP, have a look at the following links:

      Hope this helps.


  29. Aishwarya says:

    I am doing BSc Life Sciences from Ramjas College (DU). I scored 8.4 cgpa in the first year. I would love do my MSc in Biomedical Science or Cognitive Science. Could you please tell me more about them? Also, do you recommend going abroad as soon as I finish my Bsc (3 yr course) or finish my MSc first.? I want to do research later. Also, what do you recommend- PhD or MBA?( I would prefer working here in India)

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Aishwarya,

      To know more about MS Biomedical Science, please refer to the earlier blog post –

      For Cognitive Science, top universities would be UCLA, University of Michigan, Cambridge, UCL, Stanford, John Hopkins, Radboud, ETH Zurich etc.

      If US is your preferred choice for pursuing PhD, you can opt for doing your MSc either in India or Europe (preferably UK, Germany or Netherlands). You can have various good opportunities in India after finishing your PhD from abroad (US or Europe). I would also suggest New Zealand (University of Auckland and Massey University) for research in cognitive science.

      If you want to stay in research (academia or industry), there is no need to go after MBA.

      Best Wishes,


  30. Vivek says:

    Hello Sir,
    First things first, excellent blog, very rarely do we come across such insightful tips….Thanks!
    Please do have a look at my profile:-

    CSIR-JRF AIR-56(first attempt)…..expecting AIR<50(second attempt)!
    MSc-Biophysics & Molecular Biology-University of Calcutta-85%-Topper! also topped each of the biology affiliated departments of the university.
    BSc-Botany(Hons)-Presidency College,Kolkata-71%
    Class 12-91.25%
    Class 10- 93.4%

    Internship & Research Experience-
    Summer project at NBRC-related to Long non-coding RNAs-well versed in the current techniques used in research.–2.5 months
    MSc project/Term Paper-Wrote a paper(unpublished) related to role of Brassinosteroids in alleviation of plant stress–6 months
    If my Prof/Supervisor is kind enough I may end up writing a book chapter on the above-Springer publications…………Long shot!!!..Maybe!!

    GRE-318,3.5 AWA(not a fan of writing)!……sent scores to UPitt,VirgTech, USouthCarolina, UCRiverside..
    TOEFL-expecting 110/120…(keep u posted)..results due(Sunday 13/9)..
    Subject GRE- should I take it?.is it reqd?..please suggest…..Highly motivated to take it..

    Preferred Destination-
    Europe(but I think I don't stand a chance because they will require at least 1 year of experience plus publications…Aww!

    Please kindly suggest-
    1)which universities should I try?
    2)Am I qualified enough to stand a chance at the Top US univ?
    3)Should I give subject GRE?
    4)Will the AWA score hurt?

    Sorry for a long post…..please help!
    Thanks in Advance

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Vivek,

      With your current profile, you should try the following:

      University of Chicago
      University of Southern California
      UC Davis
      University of Cincinnati
      Michigan State University
      University of North Carolina
      University of Illinois at Chicago
      Boston University
      Clemson University
      University of Connecticut
      University of Kentucky

      In Europe, you can try TU9 and few other German universities. Use the central (structured) application approach. With your profile, the forced-application approach might take longer. You can also give a shot to Imperial, Cambridge and Oxford in the UK.

      If you are really keen, you can take the subject GRE. 3.5 in AWA – that shouldn’t hurt too much.

      All The Best!


      • Vivek says:

        Thanks Sir for the reply, that’s a great list of universities that you suggested. Also, I scored 113 on the TOEFL (told you that I will keep you updated).
        Thanks again, you are excellent with your suggestions and wonderful insights.
        Good Luck!

      • Vivek says:

        Also, I forgot to ask the difference between central (structured) application approach.and the forced-application approach. Please elaborate Sir…
        Thanks again!

  31. ravi says:

    hello Tanmoy
    I an 30 yr old . I am second class student . I was trying for csir from long time but did not qualified yet. I was selected for NET two time. but these day I m little bit confuse what to do next . I m interested to do phd in cell biology but some of my friend suggested me I am to old for phd. can u guide me what to do . I am scare for my career. I have age relaxation up to 33 yr for phd. I don’t have good profile to get good institute in foreign. please tell me is it good for me to do phd because it will take 5-6 yr in india and what will be future after phd in cell biology and also about good institute in india where I can apply for phd after csir jrf .

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Ravi,

      Regarding the prospects (PhD in Cell Biology) in India, please refer to my previous blog post.
      Regarding good institutes in India – you can find the list in the above blog.

      If you are really passionate and have got the patience, go for a full time PhD position. It is also possible to finish PhD in 3 – 4 years in India. Talk to your supervisors and tutors. If you are really unsure, go for a lecturer job (since you have cleared NET) and get enrolled for part-time PhD.

      Best Wishes,


  32. AVISHEK says:

    I am in biotechnology from vidyasagar university.62%. I am interested for Phd in molecular biology/genetics/cell biology/cancer biology.please tell me some university and institute,who will receive low GRE score.please send me a list of university according to GRE score.

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Avishek,

      You can try the following universities (if your GRE score is around 280 – 290):

      University Of Hawaii
      University Of Arkansas
      Oklahoma State University
      Temple University
      Northeastern Illinois University
      Lawrence Technological University

      Hope this helps.


  33. Ruchi says:

    Hi Tanmoy,

    I have done M.Sc. in biotechnology ( bio materials ) from one of reputed university of Taipei,Taiwan.My GPA was 3.26/4. in lifescience from Delhi university & MBA from IP university,Delhi.
    Now I want to do PhD in Biomedical Engineering and same field as masters biomaterial.
    Can you please suggest me the prospective universities where I should try?
    Thanks in Advance

  34. Priyanka says:

    Hi Tanmay,

    I would like to know regarding integrated phd in biomedical sciences from Germany, UK and US universities. Kindly help me to know the value of this course (integrated phd in biomedical sciences).

    Apart, I am MBA graduate from DMS, Pune university (PUMBA) and currently working as a senior market research analyst in a leading healthcare market research firm. I have working experience of 2 years. However, I wish to pursue my education in biomedical research hence I thought integrated phd course would be helpful to me. Kindly suggest.

    Also please suggest best universities from US and Europe

    Thanks for your support in advance.


  35. Animesh says:

    Hi Tanmoy,

    I am in my final year of electrical Engineering from a new IIT with a CPI of 8.2. I have the experience of 2 internships in this area, one of them was at University of Alberta, and I also have a journal paper under review in this area. My GRE score is 321 and I’m yet to take TOEFL. I want to go for a PhD next year in neuroscience.

    The problem I’m facing is, I’m not sure if I want to enter academia after PhD. Would it be a safer option to pursue PhD in Europe or Canada, rather than US, where I might be able to slightly shift career without facing issues in VISA? My concern for asking this question was that it is a common perception that US grad schools are very rigorous and life after grad school is still very competitive in US. This was making me more inclined to look up universities elsewhere as I don’t have any plan to come back to India immediately after grad school.

    Thank you so much! :)

    Best regards,

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Animesh,

      I completely agree with you on the fact the getting a decent position after PhD is not going to be easy in the US. Post-doc positions are competitive and the pay-scale is not always very lucrative. However, PhD graduates from US are in good demand everywhere. You can try Europe; especially countries like Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark and Germany for Post-doc positions.

      Alternatively, a PhD from Canada or Europe will be a good choice.

      However, since you are an IIT graduate, I believe you are used to cut-throat competition. Getting a good position in US after PhD is hard, but not impossible.

      All The Best!


  36. lakhwinder singh says:

    Hello Sir
    I am in final year of M.Sc Biotechnology.I am very keen to do a Ph.D from Canada in the same field.What exams i need to have cleared other than IELTS?I must ask you how i would be able to get scholarship from a Canadian university?

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Lakhwinder,

      For Canada you need to contact a Professor first. Once you find someone who is happy to supervise you, you have to apply to the University using their online application system.

      IELTS or TOEFL should be good enough. But, universities like UBC, McGill, McMaster, Toronto, Queens and the PIs prefer candidates with GRE scores.

      Best Wishes,


  37. Dev says:

    Hi Tanmoy,

    I must say your report on how to go about strategically finding the right Phd admission has been extremely informative. I had done my B.Tech in Biomedical Engineering from Chennai, followed by a Masters Degree (M.Sc.) in the same field from Singapore (CGPA = 4.2/5). I worked in India for about 6 months but now I would like to pursue my career in the field of Research. May i know which Universities in the U.S. and Europe offer good Phd courses in the field of Biomedical Engineering? I would like to say that I have no research papers published. So will it be a difficult process?

    Thanks and Regards

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Dev,

      The fact that you haven’t got any publication is not the end of road. You have got a Masters degree from Singapore with good grades, so you can use that to your advantage.

      Grad schools and PIs do consider the points –
      if the PhD student can integrate to the lab culture
      any previous international experience

      Regarding good universities for Biomedical Engineering in US & Europe, you can get the the listings on Google. The key would be finding the lab where you can undertake the project according to your research interests. It would be also wise to go to a lab, where you can use your skills that you developed during your Masters thesis project.

      Good Luck!


  38. Shilpa says:

    Hello Tanmoy Sir!
    Just came across this wonderfully structured and informative blog. Wish I had gone through it before attempting for GRE. Nevertheless, I could use some help from you regarding applications to US universities for PhD in biosciences, especially in the field of immunology or cell biology for the Fall session, 2016.
    I have a B.Sc Hons. in Biochemistry from Presidency University, Kolkata with a gpa of 7.8 and am currently pursuing M.Sc Biochemistry from University of Hyderabad, where I have been doing better (with so far cumulative gpa standing around 9).
    Having just appeared for GRE (score 307, AWA awaited, expected around 4) and am yet to appear for TOEFL (expected to score around 100-105), I would like some advice from you as to which universities should I apply for. I have already selected to send my GRE scores to the following universities:
    1. Cornell University
    2.University of Pennsylvania
    3.University of Texas,Austin
    4.University of Maryland, Baltimore ( I had intended to apply at UMD College Park but got confused during the exam time and ended up selecting this)
    Please advice what chances do I stand at getting through my wishlist and what other 3 universities in the US should I try for. Also,is McGill university in Canada a good option?
    I have a 2 month internship experience at an immunology research lab of Calcutta University. I also have a project in systems biology from undergraduate, its paper presently in the review stage (submitted). I am also currently undergoing my M.Sc dissertation work, which is related to mitochondrial protein import.This M.Sc project is scheduled to carry on till the end of April 2016, so I can report it in my SOP at this point? I do have the basic skill-sets regarding biochemistry and molecular biology labwork, with additional knowledge of diverse topics like mammalian cell culture techniques, protein purification and basic systems biology analytics.
    How good is my profile for pursuing PhD in immunology or cell biology?
    Also please tell me what universities could I apply for in Europe with respect to my profile.
    Is applying at NUS an ambitious prospect at this point?
    Do suggest.
    Thanks for going through my query!

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Shilpa,

      With your profile, you can try the following Universities:

      US –
      University of North Carolina – Charlotte
      West Virginia University
      Mississippi State University
      Florida Institute of Technology

      Canada –
      McGill University
      McMaster University
      University of Manitoba

      Europe –
      International Max Planck Research School for Infectious Diseases and Immunology (IMPRS-IDI)
      Imperial College London
      Trinity College Dublin
      Wageningen University
      Leiden University
      Utrecht University

      Please note that except Max Planck (central application), you will need to approach the PIs personally for other institutes.

      Best Wishes,


  39. surekha says:

    Hi Tanmoy,

    I am just eagerly looking for your suggestion

    I had done MSc Biotechnology from MS Ramaiah college Bangalore and gained 3.6 Yrs of Experience in IISc and now currently working one of the Pharma company .Am quite interested to do PhD from Europe or USA ,How can I get the PhD position at US universities with only IELTS?

    Kindly reply,


    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Surekha,

      As far as I know, the US universities will ask for GRE score for PhD, even if you find Supervisor. If you are reluctant to appear for GRE, you should try Europe or Australia. You have got pretty good profile in terms of research experience; and that could be a key plus point while getting a PhD position in Europe or Australia.

      Best Wishes,


  40. Somera Rai says:

    Hello Sir

    I have done my graduation and post graduation in biotechnology and i am an average student with a GPA of 3.5 and also i have a work experience of 18 months along with a research paper published in a local journal. I am very much interested in doing a PhD in biological science, right now i am preparing for GRE. Can you please guide me which is better in terms of offering a scholarship to international students USA or UK, also which is better in terms of opportunities for job after completion of the degree. And also am i eligible for a scholarship.



    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Somera,

      Considering the current situations, US will be a better option if you are looking for fully-funded PhD positions. Currently in UK, getting a funded PhD is extremely competitive; so you might need to spend a lot of time on applications. US will be relatively easier, provided you get a GRE score around 314.

      You will also get more job opportunities in the US, provided you are open to both industry and academia. Getting a Post-doc position will be competitive, but it’s not as hard as getting a Nobel Prize in Medicine.

      Good Luck!


  41. leena says:

    Hi Tanmoy,
    I am in final yr Btech biotechnology , my gre score is 322 n cgpa more than 8.9. I wish to do Phd from US in molecular n cell biology and later specialise in immunology. I would like to know which university I am likely to get acceptance and also it will provide a good opportunity for research and publications. Presently I am yet to start my final year project in a reputable organisation but no publications though done a few projects at undergraduate level.

  42. Sai Sahana says:

    Hello sir,

    I’ve completed my in biotechnology and now got an acceptance from University of Technology , Sydney for masters in Biomedical sciences.
    Is it worth taking it up ?
    My GRE score is 318 and TOEFL 105. Is Australia a good decision or other countries like Germany ?
    Please guide me as am not able to take a decision.

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Sai…. Sorry for replying after ages.

      If you are getting a Scholarship (AusAID, IPRS or TFS) – then do go for it. University of Technology, Sydney is good school.

      Each and every country has got their own advantages. Personally I would advise to consider Germany or US since you have got a competitive GRE score. But, if you are getting a Scholarship from Sydney or you have got friends or relatives in Sydney – then you should also consider those things ass well.

      Let me know if you have got any other queries.

      Best Wishes,


  43. ASHUTOSH SAHU says:

    I have completed my B.Sc in ZOOLOGY and persuing masters degree in LIFE SCIENCES form NIT, ROURKELA. I would like to get an idea of what future do I hav in both academic and job prospects. Because I personally want to get into a job after M.Sc. preferably abroad. Can u help?

  44. Pavitra Viswanath says:

    Hi Tanmoy,

    I would be grateful if you took the time to evaluate my profile:
    GRE: 307| 152V 155Q| AWA 4.0
    TOEFL: yet to take (expecting 100+)
    CGPA: 8.6 (upto 6th sem)
    UG: BE Biotechnology at BMS College of Engineering
    Achievements: Silver winner at Biomod, a biomolecular design competition organised by the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. Presented a project where we have developed a targeted drug delivery system using DNA origami for prostate cancer (filed for patent.. almost completed)
    Internships: 2 month internship in the Microbiology lab in Columbia Asia Referral Hospital
    I’m really keen on pursuing my PhD in either Microbiology or Cancer Biology. I am not able to shortlist colleges due to my low GRE score. It would be of great help to me if you can suggest colleges best suited for my profile! :)

    I thought of UT Houston, HT Southwestern, Minnesota Twin Cities, Tufts University, University of Tennessee Health Science Centre, Baylor College of Medicine

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Pavitra,

      All the universities are well chosen.

      I would also advise you to consider Texas Tech & University of Texas at Dallas!

      Good Luck!

  45. Mohsin Khan says:

    Hi, I have completed my Master’s in microbiology in 2008. In my Graduation as well as in my PG I have 60% marks. I have a strong interest of pursuing PhD in infectious biology/ bacteriology. I am not having research experience nor any publication ( except dessertation/ project done from AIIMS). I have been in sales of pharmaceutical products from last 6 years. Kindly guide how to proceed to pursue PhD from European country?

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Mohsin,

      I am afraid that in your case it will be a little hard to get a PhD position since you finished your Masters long time ago, and you have been working in a different field. However, it is not impossible at all.

      You can have two options –

      1. Keep looking for the Marie Curie PhD Fellowships (ITN / ESR). I personally know few persons (similar kind of profile) who got PhD positions. I was myself a Marie Curie Researcher (based at Utrecht, Netherlands). The main criteria for getting Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher (ESR) position is that you should have a Masters degree in the relevant field, and should not have more than 4 years of research experience. However, they do prefer candidate with at least 2 years of research experience. When I applied for the position – I had around 2 years and 3 months of research experience (Oxford). You have some exposure at AIIMS, But, within the same cohort, there was a guy who worked in the Insurance sector (for around 4/5 years) after finishing Masters in the Bio-Medical field. He also got the Marie Curie ESR fellowship. So, you can definitely try this.

      2. Go for a MSc/MRes in the UK or Ireland. That will give you a good push for getting a PhD position.

      Best Wishes,


  46. Aastha says:

    Hi Tanmoy
    I have recently submitted my PhD thesis, have not defended it yet. My PhD is in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. My research work was invivo investigation of the anticancer activity of medicinal plant. Now, I have shifted from India to UAE as my husband is working there. I tried hard but couldn’t find a suitable job for myself. I feel there is no wide scope in UAE when it comes to biomedical sciences. I had planned for post doctorate as well but after seeing the limited job oppurtunities in UAE I am distracted from pursuing post doctorate fellowship. I have no previous job experience. I am in dilemma, what should I do now. Should I apply for a teaching job in India and gain some experience and then go back to UAE and should again try for a job in UAE. Or I should keep applying for post doctorate fellowships in other countries ? What would be the appropriate thing to do at this stage ?

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Aastha,

      I haven’t got that much idea about the job market in the Middle East.

      The only thing that I could suggest – keep exploring. Do not limit yourself to academic positions only. Try the industrial openings as well.

      Try – that’s one of the most popular and comprehensive job portal in the Middle East. When I was not looking for any jobs in the Middle East, I got few relevant job openings through bayt.

      Sorry, I can’t be of more help in your case.

      Good Luck.

  47. Meenakshi says:

    Hello Sir,
    I am planning to apply for Phd- Fall 2016. Can I please request you to suggest me universities matching my profile?
    B.Sc biotechnology – Mumbai Univ 71%
    M.Sc. Biotechnology – Amity Univ 8.61 CGPA
    Qualified CSIR UGC with AIR 54, DBT JRF (Cat I)
    Awarded Summer Research Fellowship by Indian Academy of Science to work as an intern in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
    I also did my M.Sc. dissertation in B.A.R.C. I was working as a JRF in a university for around 6 months.
    My area of interest includes broadly molecular and cell biology.
    My GRE score- 305( 4-AWA), IELTS-7.5. I have appeared for GRE subject test as well (results are yet to come). I have already selected to send my GRE scores to the following universities:
    1) Max Planck
    2) Baylor
    3) Rockfeller
    4) Boston

    Can you suggest me what chance do I stand to get through the colleges that I have applied for? Also it will be really grateful of you to suggest me some other universities that match my profile. I am planning to apply for NUS, but I am not really sure as I haven’t scored well in GRE. Is it too ambitious?
    Thank you so much sir :)

    • Tanmoy Ray says:

      Hi Meenakshi,

      If you are not too keen about any specific country, you can have excellent options all around the world. Your GRE score might look average. But, your overall profile is impressive.

      Do try try some of the International PhD programs in Europe (links provided in the blog itself). Go for the personalized approach as well (based on your research interests).

      Please remember – when it comes to PhD applications, it is never the GPA or your GRE score alone. Motivation and Research Ideas matter a lot. I never gave GRE and my GPA was alright. But I would I admit that I had motivation and had some nice ideas.

      One final advice – do get in touch with your mentors (and other members) at BARC and Amity. They can help you out with not only applications, but references (where and whom to approach) as well,

      Good luck with your applications .

  48. Sameer Kamat says:

    Hello Peepals,

    As with Tanmoy’s earlier post, this one has also reached peak capacity for comments very quickly.


    Instead, please post your queries on – Career advice on Biotechnology careers

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