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Medicine and engineering

  1. Dec 31, 2013 #1
    It's my last year at high school and I adore both engineering and Medicine I've been thinking for a while which one to choose, so I wonder if I can go to medical school then to engineering what I mean is to be a doctor and an engineer at the same time, I never think about the salary of the profession as it doesn't really matter to me but I want to do what I'm interested in, I'm really interested in both fields, medicine and engineering. I love math, physics, mechanics and how everything works and I also love medicine and how the body works I would love to have a profession which enables my to make my country a better place. Specifically, Somehow I want to be a heart surgeon and a mechanical or electrical engineer. I'm looking forward to getting in both schools, doesn't matter which one will be the first But I'm wondering if that will affect my life and get me distracted as medicine and engineering are unrelated, Please guys I need your guidance and your help, thanks in advance.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 31, 2013 #2


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    In North America, to get into medical school, you normally have to complete a different undergradaute degree first (or at least meet a set of pre-requisit courses while working towards one). So in that respect, why not apply to an engineering program while you work towards medical school admission? You get a professional degree out of it in case you don't make it into the very competative field of medicine.

    On top of that there are lots of professions that combine the two fields. Have you thought about biomedical engineering? Or what about medical physics?
  4. Dec 31, 2013 #3


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    It sounds like you have some great goals and aspirations. Good for you.

    When you say that you adore Medicine, what does that mean? What have been your experiences with Medicine so far? What kind of patient contacts have you had? Do you volunteer or have some work experience in some part of the medical field?

    In undergrad I chose engineering over physics, and wasn't really thinking about Medicine at all. But a few years ago I got my EMT certification for local disaster preparedness reasons, and started doing paid and volunteer shifts part-time in addition to my full-time EE work. I found that I really enjoy the patient contacts, even with difficult patients. If I had known this when I was back in undergrad, I probably would have changed to a pre-Med major, with the intention of getting into emergency medicine.

    I'd encourage you to find some volunteer work at your local hospital or with your future university's medical response team to see how you feel about patient contacts -- to me, that is the key to deciding if you want to go into Medicine. :smile:
  5. Dec 31, 2013 #4

    Then why won't you go to medical school now ?
  6. Dec 31, 2013 #5
    Probably because he has established his life and doesn't want to spend the next 6-10 years in school
  7. Dec 31, 2013 #6
    There are some interesting graduate school opportunities for people with an interest in medicine and engineering.

    Look at Harvard-MIT's Medical Engineering and Medical Physics program, for example.
  8. Dec 31, 2013 #7


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    That's a fair question. The biggest part is that I am very embedded at the engineering company that I work at currently. I have been here long enough that I have worked on the majority of our successful products. I'm one of the key engineers for designing follow-on products, and for supporting the existing products.

    I may upgrade to Paramedic or Nurse at some point, but probably not to MD (especially all the way to ED Doc).

    What about my question to you about your patient contacts so far? :smile:
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
  9. Dec 31, 2013 #8


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    First, medicine and engineering are not all that unrelated, so I wouldn't worry about that. However, getting into medical school is very, very hard and successfully completing an engineering degree is also quite difficult. I think very few people could do both. There are many required classes to get into medical school that are not required for Electrical or Mechanical engineering so at best, you would be at school an extra year or two for undergraduate. Also, the time investment you need to volunteer and do internships to get into medical school just isn't really compatible with the time investment you need for engineering projects and design electives. There just isn't enough time in the day.

    My roommate in undergrad was pre-medical, I was electrical engineering. We both worked day and night to succeed in our own fields. I don't think either of us were capable or energetic enough to do both.

    I know one person who is an EE Ph.D. and an MD (He's a prof. at Stanford now). He got the EE Ph.D. first, then went to medical school. He is one of the smartest people I know but wasn't able to really start his career until his mid 30s.

    One thing to keep in mind is typically pre-med take "soft" calculus and physics which isn't applicable to an engineering degree. If you took "hard" calc and physics your first year (hard mean 'proof-based', soft means 'not proof-based) you could put off the decision another year. But keep in mind you need extremely high grades to get into med school and hard grades are hard to come by in engineering classes.
  10. Jan 1, 2014 #9

    Currently, Is he working as an engineer or a physician ?
  11. Jan 1, 2014 #10

    My dad is a Physician so I have been around hospitals a lot, besides I have a personality of loving to be helpful so I'm sure that I'll like it, thanks for the idea
  12. Jan 1, 2014 #11


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    Okay, that means that you definitely know about patient contacts.

    Getting back to your question about medical school and engineering -- a good friend of mine who was on the same EE graduate school scholarship as me (see my Bio in my profile), did decide to go to medical school after several years working as an EE at a high level. He told me at the time that medicine was really his passion, and he was willing to sacrafice for a few years to pursue his passion in life.

    He is now a very accomplished OBGYN specializing in high-risk pregnancies, and he is very happy with the decisions he made. BTW -- beyond being a really bright guy, he said that medical school was fairly easy for him because he's always been good at memorization. The first couple of years of medical school are mainly memorization, so because of that, he was able to get ahead of the other med school students, and carry that through clinicals and graduation.

    Best wishes!
  13. Jan 1, 2014 #12


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    He's a professor of EE at Stanford, but his research interests delve deep into biomedical applications.


    He's one of the smartest people I have ever met.

    Maybe something like Berkeman's friend makes sense. Be an engineer or a physician and if you want go back to school. Come to think of it a co-worker of mine quit in 2008 to go to medical school. Sadly I haven't kept up with him but it was a LOT of work getting into medical school while he was an engineer.
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