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Chem.E, dual major or language minor?

  1. Apr 8, 2013 #1
    I'm going to school for chemical engineering with an emphasis in biotechnology, in the hopes of working for a corporation out of school, but eventually founding my own business. As I looked at the curriculum for chem engineering however, I realized I'll have a LOT of free time if I only do the major and nothing else. After researching for a bit, I came out with two possible options for myself.

    1. I could obtain a minor in Japanese(language) while taking a below-average course load. I already know a good deal of Japanese, but I'm hoping it would make my skill official and it would also bring me from 'conversational' to 'near fluent'. My dad is really pressing me towards this option, because he feels that with increasing globalization it will put me above other fresh graduates in terms of finding a job.

    2. I could obtain a second undergraduate degree in biochemistry while taking an above-average course load. This option is more appealing to me, because I feel it will give me a broader understanding of biology, biochemistry, and the processes being used. Also, I feel it would help me in the 'start my own business' portion of my aspirations, and I can always spend a few months in Japan to bring myself to fluency via immersion.

    That said, any Chemical Engineers in here? Which one would you think would benefit me the most in the long run? Will I gain any significant benefit in terms of job finding or designing products from having the extra background in biochemistry?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 8, 2013 #2


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    If I was in that position, I'd probably go for option 2, just because it would be a lot easier to self-study Japanese (assuming you are genuinely interested in learning more) than biochemistry, which probably involves a lot of lab work that you wouldn't have access to otherwise. I can't comment on which would be more useful for your career aspirations, though.
  4. Apr 13, 2013 #3
    It occurred to me that this is probably more academic advising related than career advising. If a mod would be so kind as to move it to the proper forum, I'd be eternally grateful.

    Thanks for your input. Definitely something to consider.
  5. Apr 15, 2013 #4
    You say your going to have a LOT of free time with the ChemE major??? My whole class was on campus almost 24/7 during the junior and senior years because the work load is such a nightmare. Biochemistry is pretty demanding too I hear. If you want to do two degrees, you'll want to spend 5 to 6 years in school. Unless you're some kind of brainy super student.

    Have you considered switching to bio-engineering instead? Its fairly similar to ChemE plus a bunch of biochemistry stuff.
  6. Apr 15, 2013 #5
    Since I'm a transfer student and have already done all the pre-reqs and then some, if I ONLY take my ChemE classes I will barely qualify as a full-time student most semesters.

    At the school I'm going to Chemical Engineering has a standard option and a biotech option. I'm planning on going the biotech route, which will already have me taking 2 biochemistries, one upper level biology and several ChemE/biotech crossover classes. That said it would bump up my Fall and Spring semesters from 12 credit hours to about 17/18 credit hours(very similar to the recommended course load for a standard 8 semester degree).

    I am at the top of my class at my current community college, but do you think I would just be asking too much of myself? Also, would the payoff be potentially worth it, in the job market and potentially later as a business owner?

    The only thing I would be gaining from the Biochem degree is a bunch of lab work, physical chem 1 and biophysical chem, then maybe 2 biologies.
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