Careers Q&A – 2: Becoming a researcher after uni

Q: I’m interested in going into research after I graduate, so I’m interested in the upcoming post, but I’m also *very* worried about whether or not I’m going to be broke in my chosen career path. (especially given my background of being an Asian international student, which means that 1. my parents coughed up a whole lot of money to send me here and I feel the urge to repay them/prove that the money didn’t go to waste and 2. our culture STRONGLY requires that we be able to provide comfortably for our parents when we grow up) Hence, it’d be really nice if either you guys or a guest author could share about their experience in academia and the more practical aspects of it. Also – is psychological research/funding outside of a strictly academic setting common? (for example, would there be companies interested in cutting-edge research on more popular psychology topics?)

A: I feel very related to this comment – it is a very similar journey that I have gone through.  I think most UCL graduate will be able to have the salary that allows them to eat and live in London, so you probably won’t be *broke* per se. However, it does get paid lower in your early careers comparing to your peers who ended up in big consultancy firms and banking companies.  So it might get a bit difficult to financially support your parents outside of your own expenses. Finally yes there is companies (quite a few) interested in cutting-edge research and will provide funding directly or in collaboration with universities – so the fundings are never strictly academic. One last note if you are interested in the research aspect, academia is not the only place to go. I know a friend who works as a research analyst and doing part-time masters, she’s living the best time of her life!

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