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Biology or Engineering?

  1. Dec 3, 2011 #1
    I am torn between which I should choose. I know this sounds stupid, but for some reason I feel like if I choose biology I will be considered ''dumber'' than the engineering counterparts and therefore be less respected because biology is easier than engineering and taking the easy way out of school.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2011 #2
    Firstly, biology is not "dumber" than engineering. Biology is an exact science and it requires hard study in order to become good in it. I don't think any PhD in biology can be called "dumb".

    Secondly, why do you care what other people think?? If people think you're dumb, let them think. You have no responsibility towards them. You just have to do whatever you enjoy and whatever you think is best. Don't listen to the judgements of other people.
  4. Dec 3, 2011 #3


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    Less respected by whom? People who judge you by your degree? Why it is so important that you impress such people?
  5. Dec 3, 2011 #4
    You shouldn't pick a field because of how it "looks." There are plenty of dumb biologists and engineers to go around, lol! I started in biology and then decided that I enjoyed physics more. Truthfully, biology undergrad is less rigorous than engineering, and the job prospects are worse, with lower salaries. However, biology is also at the cutting edge frontier of modern research, and almost everyone can find it interesting. At the graduate level, biology presents its own unique experimental challenges, and you might be surprised to know that there are actually many applications of engineering to biology. Every year, new developments fundamental to life itself are being discovered, and the field is rapidly changing. If you want the best of both worlds, try biomedical engineering! If that isn't an option, ask yourself what is most important/interesting to you, and follow that route.
  6. Dec 3, 2011 #5
    It's not other people, but it's me trying to impress myself. This is more innerself than worrying about what other people say, to rephrase
  7. Dec 3, 2011 #6
    I wouldnt major in bio or bioengineering unless you know that you want to get a phd, and do research for the rest of your life, or go to med school. the real world job prospects for those degrees are imo non-existant.

    It would give you a lot more options to major in another type of engineering, and then minor in bio if you really like it -- taking something like bio1-2, and biochem.
  8. Dec 3, 2011 #7
    thats the other thing. Unless I become a pharmacist, dentist, or physician, biology doesn't have a lot of options. And all 3 of those are fiercely competitive
  9. Dec 3, 2011 #8
    yeah, the best thing to do imo is dabble in biology with a few classes, and then work on the bio side of research in another field like: math, compsci, mechanical/chemical engineering, chemistry, etc.
  10. Dec 3, 2011 #9
    I agree with Highway. ChemE or EE+minor in biology is probably the best option for you. That way, if you decide to go to grad school, you could always switch into some type of interdisciplinary field, and if not, you'd have good job opportunities.
  11. Dec 3, 2011 #10
    I entered university wanting to study biology, but switched to physics. My reasoning was that if I was interested in some particular field of biological research, then it's easy to get that specialization in grad school, since I'd likely only need to learn from some specialized areas of biology. (e.g. if I wanted to look at protein biophysics, I'd need some courses on biochem and then on protein structure).

    However, if you start out in biology, you can't go into physics so easily in grad school, because you need a ton of undergrad math and physics for anything in grad-level physics to make sense.
  12. Dec 3, 2011 #11
    it's so strange how biology has blown up as one of the biggest areas of science in the last 50 years or so yet job prospects are low 0_0
  13. Dec 3, 2011 #12
    Well, you will get a job, it just won't be a very high paying job! :P
  14. Dec 3, 2011 #13


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    Because we dumb biologists have to compete with all the smart bioengineers.
  15. Dec 3, 2011 #14
    you can get a job, but it will be as a research tech / assistant since all of the work is done in a research lab. that is the domain of a working biologist.
  16. Dec 3, 2011 #15
    So biologists don't get to go hang out in the forest of Bhutan and save tigers all day and take blood samples from elephants, they get to hang out in a research lab in some university?
  17. Dec 3, 2011 #16
    i know more bio grads who work in a lab than a zoo. . . even the chem grads i know are in university labs. it's only the mechanical, electrical, chemical, and civil engineers who have jobs paying 50K+ a year. . . so do what you want with that information, lol.
  18. Dec 6, 2011 #17
    There are lots of people who do CHEME majors and focus towards biotech engineering. There is actually a required course in biotech that first year chem eng students take at Waterloo so it doesn't have to be one or the other.
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