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Research Assistant Degree and Training Program Information

Oct 20, 2019

Research assistants work in a variety of different fields and typically collect data, analyze results, and report their findings to a supervisor. Students usually earn a degree in the field in which they plan on becoming a research assistant.

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Essential Information

A bachelor's degree in history, biology, or economics provides the training for a research assistant position in those respective fields. Biology majors acquire familiarity with the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject, as well as receive training in working in the laboratory. History students also become acquainted with historical research, which prepares them for a career as research assistants. Research assistants with a degree in economics can study serious issues like deficits, poverty and inflation. Most bachelor's degree programs require a GED or high school diploma, as well as satisfactory standardized test scores.


Bachelor of Science in Biology

A bachelor's degree program in biology prepares one for a job as a biology research assistant. Research assistants in this field assist in research and development in areas such as human diseases and environment health.

In this undergraduate program, students learn the basics of molecular, cellular, evolutionary, and ecological biology. Specific course topics often include:

  • Animal biology
  • Organic chemistry
  • Genetics
  • Physics
  • Biochemistry
  • Calculus

Bachelor of Arts in History

Research assistant positions are also commonly available for graduates of a bachelor's degree program in history. History majors typically study the past to help understand the current world. This major trains prospective research assistants to understand major political, cultural, social, and economic events.

An undergraduate program in history usually requires the completion of general education requirements in addition to core courses in the major. A colloquium is generally required for upper classmen. An example of the broad range of courses available is:

  • American history
  • European intellectual history
  • South Asia history
  • 20th century Arab world
  • African history
  • Modern history of the Jews

Bachelor's Degree in Economics

A bachelor's degree program in economics covers the production and consumption of goods or services, including how to distribute scarce resources to an unlimited demand. An economics major also learns to apply economic theories to evaluate social behavior.

The curriculum of an economics degree program combines economic theory with the more practical application of mathematics. Coursework in a typical economics program includes topics in:

  • Calculus
  • Micro and micro economics
  • Economics statistics
  • Econometrics
  • Finance
  • Public policy

Career Information

Graduates of a biology bachelor's degree program are prepared for further education or entry-level careers in a variety of positions, including research assistants. Specific duties of a biology research assistant may include undertaking searches in medical literature. They may also compile outcomes from examining studies and data. The research assistant may also assist their supervisor with specific projects, such as developing new therapeutic methods for curing heart disease.

A history research assistant examines, evaluates and interprets the past to examine the facts and course of events. They may study court documents, diaries, letters, and newspaper articles. Research assistants also perform research, write, and make suggestions, as well as conduct interviews and study evidence.

Graduates of an economics bachelor's degree program who wish to work as a research assistant may work in a research firm or a corporation. They often help social scientists in laboratory, survey and social research. Research assistant also assist in conducting laboratory analysis and can be responsible for quality control or manage data. Research assistants generally work under the direct auspices of a social scientist and help with routine activities.

Employment Outlook and Salary

Jobs for social science research assistants, including those working in areas of history and economics, were predicted to grow 9%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2018, the annual median wage for those research assistants was $46,640, the BLS stated.

The goal of a research assistant is to help a supervisor collect, analyze, and report information in a chosen field. There are many options for education depending on a student's interests, such as a bachelor's in biology, history, or economics.

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