advice: apply for Research Associate with MSc although "PhD required"?


want to ask for some advice ... ive been studying in molecular life science fyi
as a BSc you usually end up as a technician. instead, you can also go to a PhD, which is usually directly linked to a MSc title.
one of the paths im thinking about, is that i could do lab work with my MSc, and not go for a PhD. and later i could still think about doing a PhD. but when i'm looking for vacancies in academia, i usually find this: a "research assistant" position requires BSc (so i could do that indeed). but a "research associate" position, which i believe is a step higher than an assistant position, usually reads "requires PhD"..... eeeeehm, hellooooo? what happened to the MSc? :/
anyways, my question is ... if there is a position about a research associate and it says "requires PhD" do you think i can apply for it anyways, although i "only" got a MSc?
ive done 3 research internships (about 1.7 years), thats more experience than a BSc, plus, the associate pays better, and i think i 'deserve' that job title, and not 'just' the assistant.
hope you know what i mean lol


I'm in a fairly similar field to you (biological sciences), and have done a BSc, MSc and am now doing my PhD. In my lab and others we closely work with, a lot of people who are writing up or who have just finished their PhD tend to get Research Assistant posts prior to securing a Research Associate post after say 12 months. From what I've seen I'd say you definitely wouldn't get a Research Associate with just an MSc, and it would be fairly unlikely for you to get a Research Assistant post as well, unless the post was doing research in an area closely linked to say your MSc research. That's just based on what goes on at my Uni (top 5 Russell Group). The Research Assistant posts advertised at my Uni that I've seen usually ask for a PhD as 'desirable' rather than 'essential' so I guess it depends on the job/person specification.


I agree, I really don't think you would have a chance of a research associate position without a PhD. In my field (clinical psychology) you usually need an MSc to get a research assistant position, but anything 'higher up' than that requires a PhD. And some people with PhDs take research assistant positions too- some of these posts are really good for experience even after a PhD and some are also pretty well paid. It's not necessarily about whether you are capable of doing the job or not, a lot of it is just to do with what other applicants will have, qualification-wise. Unfortunately in academia, for the most part there is only so far you can go until you need a PhD to get any further, although I'm sure there are a few exceptions! Best, KB