What’s it like to do a PhD in Entomology?
A PhD in Entomology would allow you to develop skills both in field work, learning methods of sampling and observation to gather the most useful data and in the laboratory to analyse samples. The amount of time you spend doing field work and in the laboratory will depend on your exact project. For example, if you’re studying the life cycle of an insect species you may exclusively study them in the laboratory, with only one species they interact with.
Some typical research topics in Entomology include:
- Developing potential insecticides or methods of managing a certain insect population
- Studying the importance of an insect species on the ecosystem
- How environmental changes affect insect populations
- Studying the life cycle of a species
- Investigating how an insect may cause plant disease
Most Entomology projects are advertised with attached funding. However, some advertised projects require you to find funding yourself, which can be tricky as it must cover both PhD and bench fees. This is also the reason why proposing your own project in Entomology is uncommon.
In a general day, you’ll be in the field observing your insect of interest and how it interacts with the environment or in the laboratory observing the insects out of their natural habitat. You’ll also write up complete sections of your work and discuss difficulties and results with your supervisor and colleagues.
Upon completion of your practical work in the final year, you’ll write a thesis of approximately 60,000 words and defend your work during a viva exam.