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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43 thoughts on “PhD in Biomedical / Biological / Life Sciences – Tips For Application and Admission”

  1. 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
    Regards,
    Sanjana

    Reply
    • 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,

      Tanmoy

      Reply
  2. 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

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  3. Sir,
    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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  4. 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 !

    Reply
    • 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,

      Tanmoy

      Reply
  5. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  6. 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.

    Reply
    • 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,

      Tanmoy

      Reply
  7. 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,
    Mukul

    Reply
    • 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,

      Tanmoy

      Reply
  8. Hai,

    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?

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  9. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  10. 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.

    Reply
    • 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,

      Tanmoy

      Reply
  11. 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.
    Regards,
    Riya

    Reply
    • 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,

      Tanmoy

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
        • 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.

          Tanmoy

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

    Reply
    • 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
      Immuno-Microbiology

      Best Wishes,

      Tanmoy

      Reply
  13. 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 M.sc 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,
    Pavan

    Reply
    • 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,

      Tanmoy

      Reply
  14. 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

    Reply
    • 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,

      Tanmoy

      Reply
  15. Sir,
    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..!

    Reply
    • 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,

      Tanmoy

      Reply
  16. 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 !!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  17. 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.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  18. 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..

    Reply
    • 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 – http://www.nature.com/news/neuroscience-the-brain-interrupted-1.16831
      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!

      Tanmoy

      Reply
  19. 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
    Apoorva

    Reply
    • 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!

      Tanmoy

      Reply
  20. 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.

    Thanks
    Tanvi

    Reply
    • 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

      Reply
    • Tanvi,

      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.

      Reply

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