Joining a learned society – what’s in it for me?

Rachel Taylor, Careers Consultant, highlights one way of developing networks which you may not have considered. And it has other benefits too….


I recently attended a conference entitled ‘Enhancing the Employability of Biosciences Students’.  The event was hosted by three learned societies and a key theme emerging from the day was that being a member of a learned society holds a wide range of benefits.  This is particularly the case for students from STEM disciplines or those who are keen to pursue a career in research.  At the conference we heard from a PhD student who had been offered his PhD off the back of a presentation he delivered at a conference run by the Physiological Society.  There were also a number of students speaking who had completed internships run by learned societies.   Many of the speakers were affiliated with a society in some way and all spoke about the benefits it had had on their career.

So what are these benefits?

  • Many societies publish their own academic journals to which members are likely to be given access
  • Networking – access to an academic community which could include UG, PG, PhD, research & academic staff, teachers and members of the public
  • Access to scientific meetings
  • Specific career insights and information
  • Competitions & Awards
  • Funding
  • Placements & internships
  • Summer Schools
  • Bulletins/newsletters
  • Training workshops
  • Professional development opportunities
  • There are tons of them! You are very likely to find one that relates to your area of interest BUT it can also be quite a challenge to identify the one which is the closest match

The service offered and the cost of membership will vary. Some are free to join and others are much more expensive.  Here at the Careers Service we would always urge you to do your research before committing to anything that has a cost attached but if you can see a benefit for you in terms of career it may well be worth considering!

Want to find if there is a learned society in your area of interest?


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