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Question About Pre Med

  1. Aug 9, 2008 #1
    Well, I've been kicking around this idea of pursuing a career in medicine, but I'm in a bit of an awkward position to do so.

    I'm 22 years old (23 in November), and after this fall is over I will have everything I need to graduate with my math degree (I just haven't decided if I want to attend during the spring to get a few more classes in or not; maybe I'll do part-time). I enjoy math, but I never intended a career in it; I am only getting this degree because it was sort of my escape pod from a physics program that is a disaster, and gradually getting worse. I had a lot of math on my belt and there was just no way I was going to get my physics degree at this school.

    At any rate, my preparation to go to medical school is laughable. I have one introductory course in chemistry on my belt, and virtually no college-level biology. (Though I sure have tons of physics.) I think I will inevitably need to continue my undergraduate studies, though it won't be at this school (I speak of Bemidji State University). I know the physics program isn't the only thing that's struggling, and I know it's not just because of the economy or anything like that, but because of all-around poor decision-making on behalf of the school's administration (also, I have a desire to leave this town soon; I've been here since sixth grade!). Anyway, I'm quite used to the idea of doing more undergrad work; I was going to do the same with physics. As I've mentioned before somewhere, thus far I've taken out absolutely no loans, so debt isn't an issue. The only difference now is that I'm leaning towards medicine, though I might do both, and this sort-of leads me to my question.

    Just how much more time should I expect to spend in college before I take a shot at getting into medical school? Should I perhaps do a full-blown premed program somewhere while possibly getting another more science-related degree in, say, physics or chemistry, or should I just sort of find some time to cram in some bio and chem and biochem and ochem and whatnot for, like, a year after I get my math degree, and go for it then?

    As for my reasons for reconsidering my original decision to pursue physics, well, I may discuss in another thread.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2008 #2
    While I'm no expert on med school admissions (hopefully someone else can add their advice), I do not suggest getting another degree. I think you should take the courses you need along with a few of the recommended ones (biochem, genetics, physiology) and apply for med school afterwards. If you're worried about your degree, don't be. Med school admissions is not about the degree: it's about admitting people who have the ability and work ethic (as determined by GPA and MCAT) and the desire to help people and overall strong character (ECs, recommendations, personal statement).

    There are plenty of music, history, and English majors applying to med schools, and some schools (such as JHU) actually prefer degrees that aren't biology- or chemistry-related.
  4. Aug 10, 2008 #3
    Biophysics is HUGELY in demand these days.
  5. Aug 10, 2008 #4
    All the MCAT requires is a year of Physics, Calc, Chem, Organic Chem, and Biology. Maybe consider taking an extra semester for these classes, or doing a post-bac program?
  6. Aug 10, 2008 #5
    If I may say, we are in the same situation. Since i was a little boy I envied how medical doctors operate. I've always wanted to be one and still want to be. But here's the confusion; I'm currently enrolled to the undergraduate program in Physics here in our university and from what I could see from our prospectus, I could not find any biology, organic chem etc. And much more to that, I'm starting to like MS and Ph. D. degree holders just like my professors. And here's a bit more, my complete course is BS Physics with Emphasis on Computer Applications (I got no other choice. the Med.Phys program here in our school got scraped away).

    When I graduated in highschool, I always thought that Medical Technology was a appropriate course for Medicine (as what is usually the case here in the Philippines). But just before I finished my Senior Physics subject, I, should I say, got carried away with Physics. After that, I wanted to apply physics in Medicine.

    Then again, I can always take bio/chem subjects after I receive my Physics degree and proceed to Medicine. And after Medicine, I can take Graduate courses in Physics. Then that will mean working in the hospital and also in a university. Sweet!

    It really depends on what you want to push through. If you like both then go for it. Having both won't kill you. hehe.:wink:
  7. Aug 11, 2008 #6
    I was recently checking into the med program for my brother...

    Check the requirements of the med school you plan to go to. Some require certain classes to apply. From what I've read, it is VERY competitive to get accepted. You should have a very good gpa. Also, the MCAT is mostly chemistry and biology. You should probably have those subjects mastered before attempting the test.
    That's what I've found out... hope it helps.
  8. Aug 11, 2008 #7
    A number of schools offer postbaccalaureate premedical programs where one will be able to take the basic math/science prerequisites. I've known a number of people who pursued such programs, did well in them, and are now in medical school or recently finished up. The important thing is to keep your grades up - since you're usually not taking a full academic course load, there is an expectation that you should be able to do very well in them.

    Another degree is probably not worth the time/effort/money unless you have plenty of each to burn without worry, especially as you wish to pursue medicine. Between med school and residency, you'll be quite busy for the next decade (or thereabouts).
  9. Aug 19, 2008 #8
    Thank you all for the responses.

    A postbaccalaureate premed program sounds like it would be ideal. On the other hand, I'm kind of leaning towards getting a physics degree during my premed studies. Money isn't too much of an issue, since as I've said I haven't needed to take out any loans yet. Time is the only issue, and even then I'm not in too much of a hurry to rush into a career. Whatever path I take I'll probably end up attending some kind of educational institution until my early 30s.

    I'm probably going to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (since it's close to home and I'm an MN resident, so the tuition will be less); perhaps I'll see what sort of things they have to offer.
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