Getting a job in STM publishing: Do I really need a science degree?


Getting a job in STM publishing: Do I really need a science degree?

STM publishing is a fascinating sector, and you will be amazed about the career opportunities it can offer. When looking at Entry-level jobs in this field, many of you might have noticed that they often require a BSc or higher qualifications. Why is that? And is there a way to begin a career in scientific publishing without a Science degree?


When it comes to editorial positions in science, technology and medicine publishing, a degree vouches for some familiarity with the subject, and the specialist jargon. The role of a medical journal editor or a medical writer often involves collating information about a specific medicine or disease and presenting it in a user-friendly format. This means that whoever is in that job will need to be able to interpret that original information, identifying its scientific relevance and suggest changes if necessary; according to The Pharmaceutical Journal, this is most likely if you have a degree in a scientific or clinical discipline.

If you think about it, journal editors often end up influencing what information other scientists see and how – and how well – it’s presented. Writing for Sciencemag careers section, Alice Huang makes the example of peer-review journals: even though reviewers may decide what gets published, editors are the one who choose whether to send a paper out for review or not. She argues that a Ph.D will better position candidates going for highly competitive jobs, as it broads insight into a specific field and facility with the terminology.

However, you can still have a strong CV without having to enrol for a BSc. For example, there are several courses on medical or clinical writing, offered by the European Medical Writers Association and the British Medical Association, that would make your application stand out.

Another CV point that will make STM publishers want to interview you is voluntary experience in a scientific or medical association. There’s plenty of charities and foundations out there that would love you to help out (and pick up a few useful skills while doing so). We recommend getting involved in public outreach and engagement, which you can do at places like The Royal Society of Biology, or learning and development programmes like with The British Science Association.

And don’t forget all the other roles within Scientific publishing that wouldn’t require a degree! Did you consider Marketing? What about Production, or Design, or Events? Or Sales? These could all be great options to explore your thirst for all things science without needing to go back to school.

Get in touch with a.bidetti@inspiredselection to discuss all the amazing roles within STM publishing, and begin your career!