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Does Medical Physics require Organic Chemistry?

  1. Nov 15, 2008 #1
    I'm only a high school junior, but I am debating on whether to take AP Chemistry in senior year or wait till the first/second year of college (it's required either way).

    However, I have a pretty odd situation since I took pre-AP Chemistry over the summer (not my own school's) and everyone who's taken PAP Chemistry at my school says it's incredibly difficult, but it pays off in AP Chemistry. Since I don't have the same foundation as they do, I fear taking AP Chem will hurt my GPA, knocking me out of top 10, knocking me out of automatic admission into UT.

    If Med Physics doesn't require Organic Chemistry, I'll just wait till college to take my General Chemistry course...
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2008 #2
    You should look at programs you are interested in to find you response (note: look at accredited programs)

    I have other points on AP courses however... even if you take them, in my opinion, it's often best not to use them to get credit in a field you plan on continuing in. In my day, AP coursework was viewed as something to do to get credit for non-related general education credit. I've noticed students who come in with AP credit are other over their heads in college coursework...especially if they skip courses based on AP credit. I've seen exceptions... but often I've seen students in over their heads.

    That said, I find it disturbing that you're more focused on your GPA and easy, guaranteed admittance than on challenging yourself. The people I know who go the furthest challenge themselves the most (without, of course, risking sanity). If you want to be admitted to an a College Honors or Scholars Program, they look for the numbers of AP courses you've had. What can an Honor's program do for you? Link you to the best faculty via honors courses and provide research funds (research will help get you admitted into a graduate program). Then, if you want to go into medical physics, don't you think maybe you'd want to take an organic course (or two) anyways? The students who do best in graduate programs went above and beyond in their undergraduate programs. Should you be getting yourself in that mindset already?
  4. Nov 16, 2008 #3


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    I agree with Physics Girl PhD.

    I'm not sure what exactly AP is... I'm assuming it's some kind of advanced placement highschool course that perhaps give you credit for a first year course at a university. (Which, if I understand it, just sounds like a bad idea - having high school teachers instruct university level physics.) But playing the marks game at the high school level can get you into trouble later on.

    Anyhow, with respect to the original question, in general, no, you don't need organic chemistry for medical physics. However, it would certainly help with the radiobiology and you do have to pick up a certain amount of it at some point, so if you have the chance to take it, I would.
  5. Nov 17, 2008 #4
    I'll be doing physics courses for the rest of my educational career if I stay on the path, so why not get out the introductory classes now?

    I don't know how it is at other schools, but I am in no way earning my high GPA through "easy" classes, as I already spend the entire day from when I get home till 12~2 AM finishing studying and HW. My school is highly competitive and highly work focused, so don't think high schools are crap education.

    If organic chemistry is completely worthless to me in Medical Physics, I don't see the point in taking it besides "for fun," of which I don't have the money nor time to do.

    On a lighter note, would you say Biochemistry or Organic Chemistry? It seems to me that radiobiology would utilize Biochemistry a lot more...
  6. Nov 22, 2008 #5
    ochem is a prereq for biochem at most schools.
  7. Nov 22, 2008 #6


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    That's exactly what it is. AP courses are intended to prepare students to take AP exams administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the people who also administer the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) that many universities and colleges in the USA use as a tool to help select students for admission. Most universities and colleges grant credit for specific introductory-level courses based on AP exam scores.

    I agree that it's usually a bad idea to use AP credit to skip courses in a subject that you're planning to major in.
  8. Nov 22, 2008 #7
    There is the key. There is no problem in taking AP psychology, getting a 5, and opting out of a humanities course in college if you are planning on being a physicist or engineer. All the colleges I looked at needed certain bredth requirements, so use these AP credits to get them out of the way, but still take the essentials.
  9. Nov 28, 2008 #8
    Definitely take the class!

    As a sidenote - AP classes are not necessarily inferior to 101 courses offered at universities.
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