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Biology or mathematics. Can you help me?

  1. Mar 30, 2008 #1
    My background:I am 26 years old and I want to get a bachelors degree as a means to a better future and to enrich my knowledge. Since I am quite old, I am unsure as to whether I will pursue graduate studies, since I would like to eventually start a family and earn money but my attitude is to wait and see how things will go before making a decision on that matter.

    The purpose of this post is to get information on the job prospects for people with bachelor degrees in biology or mathematics.

    From what I have heard, there seems to be more job opportunities in mathematics (actuarial sciences, statistics, applied mathematics) for bachelor degree holders than in the biological sciences (I have been told that a graduate degree is the strict minimum for getting a job in that field).

    I find mathematics an enjoyable subject but I get the impression that the community is bit too aloof and sectarian for my tastes. I believe the life sciences would be a better fit for my personality type but then again I'm afraid that studying for that would mean that I would have to wait until I am 30 something before I can get a job...(My school has summer courses in math and I can do a bachelors degree in 2 years)

    I was wondering if it was possible to get a bachelors degree in statistics and afterwards work on a minor or major in biology to work in that field in biostatistics or biometrics.

    Basically, I want the solid and intellectually challenging formation that I believe only mathematics can bring me and I want to apply that knowledge to help solve biological questions. What would be the best way to achieve that?

    Merci beaucoup

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2008 #2


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    As you do your coursework, your talents will express themselves. You give the impression of being interested in a biological undergraduate degree with maybe a minor concentration in Mathematics.

    Biology education could set you toward medical related work, or involvement with foods or cosmetics. Microbiology is needed for those broad categories.
  4. Mar 30, 2008 #3
    Philippe, I would recommend you do a major in Biology and a minor or even a second major in Mathematics. Like you added in the end as well, Biostatistics, or Biometrics are currently one of the most needed jobs in I would say probably all Pharmaceutical, and Biotechnological companies. Simple because most Biologists have a problem in solving mathematical problems after collecting all that data.

    So I am sure that if you did something like Biometrics you would be able to get a pretty good job out there. A second thing I would recommend is going to your schools career centre (if they operate one over there) or if not, then trying out your academic advisors office and asking them for advice.

    Hope my input was hopeful, and good luck in your future studies and career chasing.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2008
  5. Mar 31, 2008 #4

    Andy Resnick

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    I second BioCore's advice.
  6. Mar 31, 2008 #5


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    Keep in mind that if you're considering an actuarial career, you should be majoring in statistics, not math. They aren't the same major. Statistics is also highly useful in the life sciences, so you really can't go wrong by combining the two.
  7. Apr 3, 2008 #6

    The Biology world sorely needs folks who are good at math. Better to major in Math with 4 courses in Biology than to major in Biology with 4 courses in Math.

    Stats can be an interesting major, but you've got to be at a school with a strong program.

    Michael Courtney
  8. Apr 4, 2008 #7
    If you really like math and biology, consider biomathematics.
  9. Apr 7, 2008 #8
    I started of my undergrad with biology but later switched to biophysics (which at my school it is pretty much a double major). You will certainly have a good biology background and will be able to do math.
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