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Microbiology major for pre-med?

  1. Sep 29, 2009 #1
    Microbiology major for pre-med???

    I just have a quick question for you guys. I have recently been accepted to the University of Iowa and I picked to major in Microbiology. Would this be a good major for someone who is considering going to med school? Are there any pros and cons? Thanks for any replies!

    Here is the coursework if you are interested:

    Microbiology Major Course Requirements (taken from uiowa.edu)

    Biological Sciences: Principles of Biology I and II (2:10 and 2:11)

    Biochemistry: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I and II (99:120 and 99:130)

    Chemistry: Principles of Chemistry I and II (4:11, 4:12)
    Organic Chemistry I and II (4:121, 4:122) and Organic Chemistry Laboratory (4:141)

    Physics: College Physics I and II (29:11 and 29:12)

    Mathematics: One semester of college Calculus. Micro majors may choose from: 22M:16, 22M:21, 22M:25 or 22M:31. Note: 22M:16 is a 1-semester calculus course. 22M:21, 22M:25 and 22M:31 are each the first semester part of one year calculus courses.

    Microbiology: A total of 21 semester hours (General Microbiology (61:157) for 5 semester hours and Advanced Courses* for 16 semester hours.

    * Most advanced microbiology courses are open only to students who have obtained a grade of C or higher in General Microbiology (61:157).
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2009 #2


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    Re: Microbiology major for pre-med???

    That looks like a typical pre-med background. Some of my friends in university majored in biology or biochemistry during their pre-med program. The university did not offer degrees in pre-med, but biology, chemistry or biochemistry, in addition to math, physics, geology or geophysics, and other sciences and humanities.
  4. Sep 29, 2009 #3
    Re: Microbiology major for pre-med???

    Go Hawks! I happen to go to Iowa as well. As far as pre-med goes, you can do it with any major. You could go out and choose something like Dance if you really wanted. However, being a physics major myself, I would have to highly recommend checking out the Applied Physics track. There's a track for Applied Physics of Medicine designed specifically for pre-med students.

    Here's the track requirements
  5. Sep 30, 2009 #4
    Re: Microbiology major for pre-med???

    I've actually been planning to attempt a career change into medicine after I finish my physics PhD (long, boring story), so I've been researching the course requirements myself. Obviously I can't give advice on this, but I'd be happy to share what I've learned by looking into this.

    As Pjfoster correctly said, you can major in anything you want and still go to med school. All you need to do is take the prereqs. So the next logical question is: what are the prerequisites? This differs from school to school. But I've found that if you take two semesters of biology, two of general chemistry, two of organic chemistry (all with labs), and a course in biochemistry, then you should be good to get into most places. Here are the requirements for U of I's med school:

    http://www.medicine.uiowa.edu/osac/admissions/requirements.html [Broken]

    As you can see, they also have requirements in math, English, and social sciences. Of the various med schools I've looked at, they have slightly more prereqs than most schools. But hey, you're just starting undergrad. Unlike me you've got time on your side, and you should have plenty of room to fit all of this stuff into your schedule. So your microbiology major looks good, just add the English and take some psychology and/or foreign language.

    Oh, just one more random comment. Pretty much all med schools emphasize that in their admissions process, no major is preferred. An art history major receives the same consideration as someone who did astrophysics. But they most certainly do care about your GPA. If you're really good at biology, then you've got no problem. But if not, then you might want to consider majoring in something easy so that you can do well and get somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.8. If I knew back in undergrad that I wanted to go to med school, there's no way in hell I would have majored in physics. Think carefully before choosing a challenging major.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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