Hello!

I know its a huge question and many people have spent most of their lives to get into their desired field, but really, how does one become a paleobiologist?

I am hoping to start my higher education at the university of Portsmouth or Bristol with their paleontology degrees as these are the two recommended places in the UK for this field, but where do you go from there? My true interest is vertabrate paleontology as I'm a true anatomist at heart. I guess you're thinking "oh heres another one thinking its all about travelling and digging up t-rex bones" but really, I know what it can be like, and heartbreakingly these areas of jobs are so rare I guess I may as well rule them out.

But after someone graduates with their degree where would you go from there? I guess this area requires the top qualifications so perhaps a masters would be the obvious path after this but really I don't think 'getting a masters' is quite so simple due to funding.

Perhaps to narrow it down a little, I would love to work at a natural history museum or be a researcher in this subject but as I don't know anyone of this occupation I don't know how they got there or whether these types of jobs are available anymore!

Many thanks,
Kat

Generally it would be a masters and then a PhD (some peope don't do a masters and go straight to PhD, but you generally need a very good first degree to do that these days).

After a PhD, you would then do 1-3 Post-Doc position lasting 1-3 years each, and then fingers crossed a lectureship would come up.

To work in a museum, you might instead look at a Masters in museum studies, and then enter into curatorial work.



Check out our How to Become a Biologist page: http://www.askabiologist.org.uk/from_th … -biologist

In terms of Masters funding - most universities will have some kind of postgraduate scholarship scheme, so if you have done well in your undergraduate, there are opportunities. A number of charities also provide a similar kind of funding (e.g. living expenses, help with tuition fees, or both). If you have done well in your undergraduate and have some 'added extras' like volunteering, you may be able to secure a PhD without doing a Masters (which are almost always funded - this includes tuition fees and stipend).
If you haven't done quite so well in your undergraduate, it would be well worth getting some experience in curating, etc - see if you can volunteer in a local museum, or help out in a palaeotology research group in a local university.

There are opportunities for palaeontology careers, but I would recommend you remain flexible in what you want to specialise in. If you choose the research path, think about what skills you are picking up and how you could utilise them in a different scenario. This is far more important that the actual subject you are studying as it allows you to move between specialisms whilst you are becoming estalbished.

Lastly, maintain perseverence!

Good luck!