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Math major can I really do anything?

  1. Sep 3, 2014 #1
    Hello, so recently I have developed a very strong interest in Biology and have been in a debate with my self if I should continue of the track I am on currently ( transferring this next year to UC Santa Cruz for applied math major) or if I should follow my interests in biology and wait another year so I can go to UCSC for their bioinformatics major.

    The bioinformatics major has way more requirements and would require me to take 5 semesters of chem ( since I didn't take any in high school I have to take an intro course) and 2 semesters of biology and some computer science classes. But the curriculum seems extremely interesting.

    SO...The question is, with a math degree, can I keep computational biology/neuroscience/bioinformatics graduate schools a strong possibility? If I go the math degree route I wont be able to take many bio related classes if I want to graduate on time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2014 #2
    Anyone have any advice?
  4. Sep 6, 2014 #3
    There are plenty of professors in applied mathematics who work on biology problems. The professor who taught my applied PDE's course worked on the system of PDE's which describe the potential across neurons (if I recall correctly).

    The key is to identify what kind of work you'd like to do and see if there are applied math researchers who are doing it. If you find researchers in engineering, biophysics, bioinformatics etcs who are doing what you think is interesting, email them and find out if an applied math major would be enough to get into a graduate program working for them.

    I've seem numerous cases where a student worked for a professor in a different department, say engineering, while pursuing a physics degree, so it's not inconceivable that such an arrangement is within the realm of possibility.
  5. Sep 6, 2014 #4


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    At my university, I know a lot of people doing a math specialist degree who are planning to go into physics or biology. However, those looking at biology do tend to take a couple of biology courses in the undergrad (which may require a couple of semesters of chemistry).
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