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What qualifications do you need to be a scientist?

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Quick Answer

A career in science requires a four-year bachelor’s degree in one of the sciences, and course requirements depend on the field of study. Industrial research or independent work may require a doctoral degree, which may add four to eight additional years of study. Responsibilities include problem solving, running experiments and research.

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The many types of scientists include agricultural, computer, earth, library and materials scientists, as well as archaeologists, astronomers, biologists, chemists, mathematicians, military scientists, physicists, psychologists, social scientists and ophthalmologists. Famous scientists include Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin, Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Louis Pasteur and Sir Isaac Newton.

Science majors have varying requirements. For instance, an astronomy major requires a broad math and science background, including computing. Classes that teach how to write, research and present papers are important. Most astronomers hold an advanced degree in physics or astronomy, and around 100 universities offer advanced degrees in astronomy.

Earth science encompasses areas such as the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and pedosphere. An earth science major may include the study of geological science, ocean and atmosphere science, geochemistry, geophysics, palaeontology and climate. Many universities offer degrees in earth science. Graduates with advanced degrees in earth science find jobs with engineering firms, energy companies, colleges, universities and government agencies.

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