1. I'm a first year Biomedical Science student, who's currently taking a gap year. Lucky for me, I got the opportunity to help out a PhD student with her research. What would be my appropriate title? I've once told my cousin about this and was kinda annoyed by how I wasn't getting paid but then she says it's because I don't have a degree yet. Things I do in the lab would be do experiments (I'm in charge of a control cell line), help her collect data from the experiments and analyse them.
  2. On top of helping out in the research lab, I'm also contributing to a review article (under the same supervisor, just different projects). What would be my appropriate title? For now, I'm only helping out with their abstract, conclusion and references. I've read somewhere that that's not enough to be considered a contributor.

1 Answer 1


Titles are normally assigned by others, usually according to some process. A university confers degrees, for example, and a monarch confers knighthood.

But what you are doing descriptively fits the definition of a "research assistant". That is normally a title, however.

"Undergraduate research contributor" not being a recognized title would be seen as descriptive and accurate.

You can ask the supervising professor you are working under what an appropriate "title" might be. Hopefully you are getting something for your work, since you aren't being paid. Learning might be enough, but being exploited isn't a good thing. You should almost certainly expect to be acknowledged by name in any resulting publications.

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