I am working as a project assistant in a lab in India. My role is similar to that of what a research assistant does in academia. But I'm not familiar with the use of the title 'project assistant' in the U.S or Europe. Should I specify my job role as a research assistant while applying for a PhD position in Europe or in the U.S? Or is there a perceivable difference between the two titles and if so, which one has more weightage during applications?

  • Instead of using titles which might be misleading, simply explain what was your responsibility and what you achieved in your role. Aug 17, 2020 at 16:39
  • Ask your supervisor what your official title is. If it's Project Assistant in your country, use Project Assistant in your CV. Sep 7, 2021 at 15:20
  • OP, it's been a year now. How did you end up handling this situation? What worked, what didn't? Sep 7, 2021 at 16:45
  • I asked my professor if it was okay to change my role to Research Assistant and he agreed. So I applied with that title. Dec 29, 2021 at 13:29

2 Answers 2


Best answer from Dimitry. Yes include your duties, but stress the research part. Avoid using sentances like " I accomplished this or that" and don't try to impress people by using too many technical terms. Remember that the brightest people have the ability to explain the most complex terms elequently in laymans terms.


Note that titles are given to people, not assumed by them. Only use titles as formally assigned to avoid any hint of possible fraud. Research Assistant (RA) in the US is a specific designation.

But if you are formally a Project Assistant, then you could explain somewhere that it is "similar to" a research assistant in other places. Be prepared in any interview to explain further.

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