I would like to know if I can be a research assistant, part time, after college.

I'm thinking about getting into academia, but I want to work first and make some money.

I'm in STEM, but want some hands on experience in sociology/anthropology. This is before going to grad school in either sociology or anthropology (I have my reasons for doing STEM first)


  • a professor accept me as a part time RA? I'll be working a industry job part time too, but the pay hit wouldn't worry me so much.
  • how would I approach a Sociology/Anthro professor for research post-grad as a part time RA? I do have some core Sociology/Anthro courses I have done, so I am not going in blind.
  • How can I request I get paid?

Thanks for the advice


1 Answer 1


Based on your earlier question, I'll assume this is for the US.

Note that most RA money is for support of doctoral students. In some "hard" sciences there might be low level "tech support" positions available, but might not be called Research Associates/Assistants. But they mostly do routine work rather than research. It would give a person access to researchers and, perhaps, the opportunity to talk about research, but the work would likely be routine.

However, I doubt that much of this is available in the social sciences or humanities, where funding is relatively scarce in any case. RA is largely a funding source for doctoral candidates.

If you had some special skill that is in short supply and a professor had a specific need for that skill, then you might have a hope. But just "some courses" isn't enough.

Field work might be open to a part timer with few skills. But you would be under the close supervision of someone else farther up the chain. You wouldn't have a lot of opportunity for independent action.

If you want a career in academia in US, you need to get into a doctoral program. Making some money isn't the right path in the short term and if you get a funded position as a doctoral student then you should have sufficient funds to get by, though not with an extravagant life style.

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