BSc in Nanobiology: A good start for eventually pursuing a scientific career?

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BSc in Nanobiology: A good start for eventually pursuing a scientific career?

Postby MCE » Wed May 11, 2016 9:08 pm

Hello everyone!

I'm thinking about enrolling into nanobiology in September. Erasmus MC (Rotterdam) and TU Delft, both located in The Netherlands, collaborate in teaching this undergraduate programme. I've copied and pasted a very brief summery of what exactly nanobiology is:

"Nanobiology uses the language of maths in the context of physics to understand the complexity of biology. Uniquely, the programme offers a strong fundamental background in maths, physics and modern biology, right from the start. The aim is for cross-disciplinary thinking to be standard and to bridge scientific fields with ease. In addition to the integrated theoretical topics, students are introduced to advanced practical skills in laboratory experimentation, information technology, programming and research methods." Source:

The same universities also offer a MSc in Nanobiology, which seems like a no-brainer to apply for after you've got your BSc in Nanobiology.

One of the reasons I'm scared of enrolling in this BSc, is that nanobiology seems so specific for an undergraduate programme... Even though it's supposed to be somewhat broad in the way that it covers (cell)biology, physics and mathematics, it seems that after your BSc you don't have many other MSc options to choose from except for MSc in nanobiology (the one posted above). Even though I think I'm going to like studying it, I don't know yet whether I want to work in this field. I'm at the beginning of my academic career, my vision and future plans might change drastically along the way. Would this be a reason to look for another BSc?

Another reason I think enrolling in nanobiology might not be a good idea is because of the career prospects. First of all, I'm not sure yet if I want to be an academia because a) from what I've read, the jobs are pretty scarse in this sector, b) I don't know if I prefer academic atmosphere over industry atmosphere and c) academia pays significantly less than industry. With a field like nanobiology, it seems to me that academia is the standard choice to make when considering industry vs academia, as nanobiology is a new field and there's still quite some research that needs to be conducted. So would this mean that there would be relatively little jobs available in my workfield?

Finally, the website of the universities state that it's a pretty hot field at the moment. I haven't been able to find much information about nanobiology specifically, whether as a study or as a working field, so I'm not entirely sure about this. Also, trends can rise fast but dry up even quicker. What if that happens with nanobiology? Am I then going to be qualified in a very specific research field where there isn't any bread to be made anymore?

All these things are really bothering me because I'm trying to plan a succesful career in which I can work with a subject I like, but I don't want to spend a lot of time and effort for something that turns out to be fruitless in the end. I'm hoping to have a conversation with one of the undergraduate programme's supervisor about my questions, but I'd like to have some insights of you as well. I'd greatly appreciate any insights!

One last thing, is there a place where I can learn a lot of ins and outs about careers in science? I've already found the career booklets on the sciencemag website which are of great use, can you guys recommend me any more reading material?

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Re: BSc in Nanobiology: A good start for eventually pursuing a scientific career?

Postby D. Martin » Thu May 12, 2016 7:20 pm

Honestly, a BS is just the first step. As long as you get a good scientific foundation, it does not matter too much the name of the degree. Most of your classes will not be advance courses and you can always take some electives. Focus in getting good grades, your PhD and, especially, postdoc will truly dictate your scientific career not your BS. So, study hard, do some research and an internship (if possible) and you will be on your way.
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Re: BSc in Nanobiology: A good start for eventually pursuing a scientific career?

Postby Dave Jensen » Fri May 13, 2016 9:48 am

Personally, I've been very disappointed in nanotechnology, as it never really blossomed into all the jobs that were forecast when people started talking about all the prospects. I would get as much training and education as possible in science and math with the BS, and then focus later, in a MS or PhD, in some specialty that you're intrigued with. Not certain that it would be nanotech. There ARE nano-biotech combination technologies that look very exciting, and perhaps you could get in on that wave,

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