I recently received this email and I think it would be great if anyone with an opinion would give their two cents.
This past winter I took a microbiology class for the first time and I fell in love. Now I am currently doing my doctorate in public health in an area that has nothing to do with microbes but I've felt this pull to the sciences since I started. (I must mention that the last time I saw a science book was in high school.)
So my question is: Is it possible for an over thirty something grad student to catch up on the world of research? I don't expect to go for a tenure track position but at least industry. Do you know of many who have made the switch from some other field to science? Thank you.
I don't mind if you shared this with your blog friends so I can get multiple feedback. Thanks a million
Public Health Grad Student
Dear Public Health Grad Student,
I don't think age or the last time you picked up a book are a problem for successfully completing a graduate degree in microbiology, or any other science. If you have the drive, dedication and the passion, I think it's doable. I know one person who actually made the switch from public health to graduate school and they are doing fine. However, I do not know what they were studying at the School of Public Health. I switched from a communications degree and job in public relations to basic science. I had to take all the required prerequisites to get into graduate school before I could apply, which took about 1.5 years. Once in graduate school, I found the first semester quite difficult as I got up to speed, but after that I had no problems.
Also, I don't know if you are in a position to relocate or not, but if you aren't, you might want to look at the types of jobs available specifically in your area and read the requirements and specifications for open positions, including education and research experience. You might find that you are interested in positions that require a masters degree, which would ultimately take less time and still allow you to get research experience (assuming you do not enroll in a MS program that is only course based). Actually, a MS degree qualifies you for many good jobs in microbiology, so if you are worried about how long graduate school takes, you might want to consider this option.
I hope this answers you question and if it doesn't, I hope one of the commenters will do a better job. Feel free to email me if you want more specific answers or have any other questions.
I am a post-doctoral researcher trying to develop into a tenure-track faculty member. When I am not geeking out in the lab, I might be found reading, playing with my cats, playing computer games or shopping for shoes.
I also love getting email, so feel free to contact me at microbio.xx AT gmail DOT com