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Studying Studying Biology or Medicine in different countries

  1. Sep 24, 2012 #1
    I just graduated from high school and I want to continue my formal education by studying for a bachelor's degree in science. Biology is the science I am most keenly interested in, but here's where my dilemma kicks in: should I study Biology or Medicine? (I assume you're from the U.S., so let me remind you that in Europe you can study Medicine right after you graduate from high school.)

    On the one hand, I like the research component of Biology; a career in research or R&D(because I don't want to get involved in the academia) fits my personality and interests to some degree. Also, I can go on to study Biology in a British University, which is thrilling because I want to emigrate from my native country, Romania, and this is my get-out-of-there-ticket.

    On the other hand, I too find the practical side of Medicine appealing. I believe that I have the right skillset a doctor should have, whereas I don't see myself discovering anything ground-breaking in Biology. The downside of studying Medicine is that I could only do it in Romania. Since I abhor this place, I don't know whether I could cope living here another 6-10 years.

    To recapitulate, I am in a very novel position in regards to choosing what to study right now because apart from skills and interests, my decision is also influenced by the fact that I want to emigrate from Romania.

    Here are some possible outcomes:

    1) Study Medicine in Romania. Graduate debt-free. Live a somewhat miserable life. Embark on an interesting and relatively 'safe' career.

    2) Study Biology in the UK. Graduate with a ton of debt. Maybe live a bit happier. Choose a degree with lots of career options, none of which are deemed 'safe'.

    Please chime in with any advice as to how I am to decide what and where to study.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2012 #2
    Study Biology in the UK. It's just that simple. Do what makes you happier.
  4. Sep 28, 2012 #3
    Or in Germany, where your tuition fees will range from minimal to zero. Universität Göttingen offers a B.Sc in Molecular Ecosystem Sciences that is completely in English. If you know German, then you will have other options elsewhere in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. If you know French, there's Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and France. In France, there's also the classes preparatoires aux grandes ecoles. The "BCPST" (Biologie, Chimie, Physique et Sciences de la Terre) track is the one you'd want. Or perhaps "PCSI" (Physique, Chimie et Sciences de l'Ingenieur).

    Dutch university colleges (for instance, Amsterdam University College) offer bachelor's degrees taught in English. The tuition fees for EU students are ~1700 euros/year. The educational model there looks like it's loosely based on the American (although it does come from Europe) liberal arts model. On that note, Freiburg also has a new liberal arts and sciences program (taught in English) and biology is one of the available majors.

    Denmark also offers some science degrees in English. The tuition fees are little higher than in the Netherlands though. Or maybe the fees for non-EU citizens were. (http://studyindenmark.dk/study-in-denmark/find-your-international-study-programme-1/bachelordynamic/masters-natural-science [Broken])

    I don't know if all EU citizens can get the same loans those from the UK do, but I hear they are reasonable ones. If I recall correctly, one need not pay them back if they do not earn over a certain amount of money. Something in the order of 20k GBP/year? It's also only a small percentage of one's yearly salary that goes into paying the loans. You should look into this.

    I'm in a similar position, in that going for a very applied, professional degree would be a sound financial decision. Then, I could go back to school for math or physics when I'm 40 or something. Or, I could just leave the country, get into some debts and study math/physics elsewhere. Do you have any responsibilities, financial or otherwise, toward your family that would require you to be close to them?

    The way I see it, doing biology shouldn't be a problem if you can do it debt free. You can also go into medical research. ;)

    Hope this helps. Let me know how this works out for you.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  5. Sep 28, 2012 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Why? Is it a funding issue?
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