Hi all,

After a career in Marketing I decided to study Natural Sciences (Biology) at the Open University. I am now in my early 30s, studying the 120 credits and my idea is to finish the degree by 2018 as I don't want to loose any more time.

As the Open University is distance learning, I am a bit concerned about not getting any hands on experience, and I was wondering if you have any recommendations or ideas on how to look for working experience. I have been searching in Google but I still feel lost and any help/advise will certainly help a lot.

Thank you,


It depends a bit on what sort of biology you are interested in. Some options would be to volunteer for conservation organisation, zoos, aquariums etc. Approach such organisations and be prepared to help out with anything that is needed - even if its adminisatrtive rather than hand on science. Getting a "foot in the door" can be key.

If you are more interested in biomedical science or lab-based biology then it may be harder since as a distance learner you won't regularly come into contact with lab-facing academics. That said I would ask your OU tutor for advice. You might also consider contacting another (local) university's biology department (and/or specific researchers whose work you find particularly interesting) to enquire about possible volunteering opportunities.   Do be prepared for knock-backs - it is actually quite hard for many lab-based biologists to accomodate volunteers from outside their own university as there are quite a lot of insurance/security/safety issues that apply to anyone "working" in potentially dangerous lab environments.