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Molecular Biology or Biotechnology? [Undergraduate Degree]

  1. Feb 8, 2008 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I came back to get some feedback from everyone. I am close to the time when my university requires that I choose a certain Subject POST or degree as some know it for my future three years in undergrad.

    Now I always loved Molecular Biology/Biotechnology since they are very much the same but I am stuck between which to take. Now I wanted to get some feedback from you guys/girls, but first the comparison.

    The degrees are both same in the sense of the types of courses except that in Biotechnology the students are required to take 1.0 credits in Physics course/s, and some stronger/tougher 2 and I think third year Chemistry courses.

    In Molecular Biology courses are same except physics is a choice, the harder chemistry courses are also choice with the exception of organic chemistry (I and II) - I find them somewhat easy. Although in Molecular Biology we do need to also take Ecology, while not in Biotechnology.

    After my 4 years in undergrad, I was planning on joining a Masters program here at my university, and the program is MBiotech (Masters in biotechnology). I asked a person who is inside the program about whether Biotechnology undergrad is better for entering the Masters program, they said that it gave no benefit or added help especially since Molecular Biology and Biotechnology tend to teach the same principles. Although Biotechnology is a bit harder.

    My question then is what everyone is advising me to do. I have yet to take the physics course, and when I looked at the course requirements for every year they were both the same with those mentioned exceptions. So your input would be gratefully accepted.

    Thanks again everyone.


    I also wanted to ask what everyone thought of some new types of Masters program. Well the Masters Program that I talked about here, is not a traditional one in which you do research but rather more of a management type. In other words you can't go on to do a PhD. afterwards but would have to do another tradition research Masters and then a PhD. Would you all recommend I do this certain Masters type, which focus mostly on Management aspect of Biotechnology with Science incorporated, and a good one year of internship or should I try to get into a traditional research Masters program?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2008 #2


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    If they really are otherwise the same, I'd recommend going with the biotech route. Getting some physics and a bit more chemistry under your belt will give you more options for your future (I've always been one of the advocates of physics for bio majors too; it teaches approaches to problem solving that you don't learn in traditional biology courses that are valuable beyond the actual physics content itself). The physics and chemistry coursework will also help prep you if you change your mind about a master's in biotech and want to take another career route, such as med school, or heading into industry for a job right after graduation, or into some other graduate program, etc. It's easier to pick up an ecology course later on if you find yourself needing it or with spare time and interest than it is to pick up advanced chemistry courses which are sequence dependent (or if you find the advanced chemistry courses too difficult and want to change majors).
  4. Feb 8, 2008 #3
    As usual Moonbear, always get some wise words from you. Thanks for the input and that is what I was thinking as well.

    The second year chemistry course that everyone told me was hard is called "Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry". I assume it uses a lot of mathematics which might be why a lot of people complained. Maybe you would know more or advice how to approach such a course.
  5. Feb 8, 2008 #4
    In the end of your four years, you're going to get a bachelors degree. How you get it depends on what courses you take. You're being offered two paths to take. You like both paths and both will get you to your end result (both programs are eligible for grad school) so the only question is, which path offers the courses you're most interested in. If you're really interested in the course, there is a better tendency to perform well on the evaluations. So if physics isn't your thing, then don't take it. However, if you feel inclined to believe that physics course will help you then look for one thing, is that physics course offered by the department who is administering your biotechnology program (ie. that physics course is tailored for biotech students) or is that a physics course for physics students. You don't want to end up in a physics course that is too theoretical.
    If you had the option to take something like medical bio physics that may suit you better than taking your typical physics course with e&m, newtonian mechanics, relativity etc..
  6. Feb 9, 2008 #5
    makethings, that is also true. Actually this is the reason I wanted to ask you all because I tend to not like Physics, and yes it is general introductory physics which was tailored for physics students. Now I am not sure if my department would allow me to take another Medical Biophysics course over at the downtown campus of my university (I am tough aware of its existence).
  7. Feb 12, 2008 #6
    Hey I was wondering if you guys could tell me whether or not a Biotechnologist with a Masters degree such as the one described above would make a sufficient salary to support a family?

    Also would a PhD. do better in this sense? Or would it be smarter to think of studying some more business management courses and think of opening up a firm in Canada? I know that the industry here is growing every year, and quite a number of new small business firms in the Biotech industry have opened up.
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