A graduate research student is someone who is conducting research while working towards a master's degree or doctorate. They can specialize in a variety of subjects, from medicine to Victorian literature. Graduate research students often work with the assistance of tenured professors to design and conduct their research studies. They use the research tools at their disposal, from library archives to laboratory equipment to SAS statistical software, to conduct research that they will use in their dissertation. Depending on their university, graduate research students may also need to help their supervisors with their own research or teach and supervise undergraduate students.

By definition, a graduate research student needs to be enrolled in a graduate degree program. They have to complete a bachelor's degree (and sometimes relevant internships) before pursuing additional education.

The stipend graduate research students receive depends on their institution or department. However, their average salary is $32,119 a year.

What Does a Graduate Research Student Do

There are certain skills that many graduate research students have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, communication skills and detail oriented.

Learn more about what a Graduate Research Student does

How To Become a Graduate Research Student

If you're interested in becoming a graduate research student, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 76.3% of graduate research students have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 12.3% of graduate research students have master's degrees. Even though most graduate research students have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Graduate Research Student

Graduate Research Student Career Paths

Average Salary for a Graduate Research Student

Graduate Research Students in America make an average salary of $34,658 per year or $17 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $60,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $19,000 per year.
Average Graduate Research Student Salary
$34,658 Yearly
$16.66 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Graduate Research Student

There are several types of graduate research student, including:



A researcher is someone who studies how to apply the scientific method within their chosen field.

Their primary responsibilities can be performing systemic investigations, overseeing internal research, or serving as the lead author on reports or articles. They are often tasked with things like collecting data (either quantitative or qualitative) and using that data to solve problems.

They can work in academic settings or in areas like the industrial, government, or private sectors. They need to have exceptional attention to detail and be both accurate and specific in their findings. They also need to ensure that their research is complete and thorough.

It is also important for a researcher to have a curious mind and to question why things are the way they are. Soft skills that can be important for a researcher include communication, leadership, and moderation. They must be able to lead project teams, moderate discussions, and communicate their knowledge clearly and persuasively.

To become a researcher, you will typically need to have a Ph.D. or similar degree. Researchers can work in a wide array of areas including sociology, medicine, and psychology. There are also researchers who work in the sciences like biology, chemistry, and physics.

  • Average Salary: $67,145
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Research Fellow


As the name implies, as a Research Fellow, you will be conducting research and analysis of comprehensive results, literature, and data. You will be supervising research assistants and recruiting study participants for specific studies.

For the educational requirement, a Research Fellow needs to have a doctorate relevant to the discipline and should have published papers that are peer-reviewed. As a Research Fellow, you can be supervised or independent.

The top skills Research Fellow applicants include in their resumes include Molecular Biology, Data Analysis, Cell Culture, Research Projects, and Ph.D. You might want to brush up your knowledge on these things and make sure you are knowledgeable in the field you will be applying to.

You can earn an average annual salary of $49,120 with a job growth rate of 8%. You can also explore other careers like being a Research Scientist, a Scientist, and a Senior Scientist.

  • Average Salary: $53,823
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Research Technician


If you have a passion for science and enjoy the challenges of solving scientific research, analysis, and investigation, then you might consider a career as a research technician.

Generally, a research technician or research scientist is a person who helps scientists with their research and experiments in a laboratory. Research technician is a job that offers you job satisfaction, the flexibility of work, high salaries, variable tasks, and a stable employment market.

A technician position may bring a satisfying role as the key member of a laboratory or may act as a stepping stone to a Ph.D., medical, or other job opportunities.

  • Average Salary: $43,034
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Graduate Research Student Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active graduate research student jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where graduate research students earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Graduate Research Student Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
7New Jersey1,059$43,402
8New York979$39,612
11North Carolina854$29,169
32New Mexico231$32,327
33South Carolina222$30,027
35New Hampshire198$35,561
37Rhode Island165$35,392
42West Virginia134$32,544
46South Dakota99$31,634
47North Dakota87$29,759

Graduate Research Student Education

Graduate Research Student Majors

21.9 %
11.2 %

Graduate Research Student Degrees


76.3 %


12.3 %


4.3 %

Top Colleges for Graduate Research Students

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




4. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition




5. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




6. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




7. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition




8. Georgetown University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition




9. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition




10. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Graduate Research Student

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.7% of graduate research students listed lab equipment on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and communication skills are important as well.

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Graduate Research Student diversity

Graduate Research Student Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among graduate research students, 52.8% of them are women, while 47.2% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among graduate research students is White, which makes up 54.0% of all graduate research students.

  • The most common foreign language among graduate research students is Spanish at 41.8%.

Online Courses For Graduate Research Student That You May Like

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1. Data Management for Clinical Research


This course presents critical concepts and practical methods to support planning, collection, storage, and dissemination of data in clinical research. Understanding and implementing solid data management principles is critical for any scientific domain. Regardless of your current (or anticipated) role in the research enterprise, a strong working knowledge and skill set in data management principles and practice will increase your productivity and improve your science. Our goal is to use these...

2. Foundations of Health Equity Research


Introduces students to the core principles of health equity research. Covers topics such as defining health equity, engaging community and policy stakeholders, patient-centeredness, cultural competence, and dissemination of research findings. Content will recognize different geographic, cultural, and social contexts where health inequities occur...

3. Research Methods For Business Students


A-Z guide to writing a rockstar Research Paper with a bulletproof Research Methodology!...

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Best States For a Graduate Research Student

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a graduate research student. The best states for people in this position are Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New Jersey. Graduate research students make the most in Pennsylvania with an average salary of $48,842. Whereas in Massachusetts and Maryland, they would average $46,911 and $46,087, respectively. While graduate research students would only make an average of $43,402 in New Jersey, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Pennsylvania

Total Graduate Research Student Jobs: 1,563
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Massachusetts

Total Graduate Research Student Jobs: 1,594
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. New Jersey

Total Graduate Research Student Jobs: 1,059
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Graduate Research Students

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Top Graduate Research Student Employers

Most Common Employers For Graduate Research Student

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration$63,230$30.4042
2California State University$58,411$28.0848
3Rutgers University$55,295$26.5843
4Morgan State University$45,856$22.0531
5University of California Press$45,605$21.93114
6University of Wisconsin System$44,927$21.6034
7University of Washington$44,291$21.2942
8Cleveland Clinic$43,990$21.1534
9University of Illinois System$43,987$21.1534
10Clemson University$41,664$20.0333

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