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Wish to pursue MS in biology. What should I major in as an undergrad?

  1. Mar 30, 2014 #1

    I am an undergrad student who is passionately interested in reverse aging and rejuvenation, stem cells research, or anything else that can possibly bring life extension to this world. However, as I am well familiar with the current job market for biology majors, I think I'd rather obtain a degree in more employable field, get a master's degree in biology, then get a job with my bachelor's degree, subscribe to research journal and do my own research in my pastime. (although I am not expecting to make significant contributions to the society)

    The ideal thing would be majoring in computer science (CS) and take sufficient number of biology courses because a CS degree will open a lot of doors, but I absolutely hate CS and I am not good at it at all.
    Instead, I am considering statistics. But I've heard that I would have a difficult time finding a job only with a BS in statistics and usually I would need at least a MS. Getting a MS in biostatistics might be helpful, but I primarily want to study molecular biology and reverse aging.

    So, my question is, do you think a BS in statistics is enough to get a decent job?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2014 #2


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    Yes, as a statistician. Not sure how that would advance you toward getting an MS in biology. Doing research in biology is going to take more than just a thinking cap and a journal subscription, however. I think these guys doing research in biology hang around labs and stuff, or they go out in the field and collect all kinds of critters. Just sayin'.
  4. Mar 31, 2014 #3


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    It is possible to get a decent job with just a BS in statistics; however, it's worth pointing out that the most lucrative jobs relating to statistics (particularly for those like yourself who may prefer to work in biological or medical-related areas of statistics) tend to require at least a MS in statistics.

    If you are interested in molecular biology, my advice would be for you to pursue a MS (or possibly a PhD) in statistics or biostatistics with a focus on computational biology or statistical genetics. Statistical genetics is a major research field within statistics or biostatistics departments across the US and elsewhere.
  5. Mar 31, 2014 #4


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    Of all the roundabout projects - in order to do the thing that interests you, you want to study something different and marginally relevant that you don't like and doesn't interest you in order to find your way to something that does.

    Biologists are quite employable these days so do a good course in biology with mainly biochemistry, genetics/ molecular biology and cell biology, negligible chance you could contribute as amateur to ageing research.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
  6. Mar 31, 2014 #5
    I would recommend getting a BS in Biology if that is the field you want to enter. Programming skills are in demand in biology, but you don't need a bachelor's degree in computer science to be useful. Understanding the concepts of the field would be far more important. Plus, I suspect you would be behind in grad school for biology.

    My two cents - BS in Biology is not very employable these days. Oversupply combined with an MS being the entry-level degree makes that a tough road. If this is the field you want to enter, don't let that discourage you. It simply means grad school is a necessity. I speak from personal experience, as my wife has an MS in Biology. She has been working for three years now, but getting in the door was a major hurdle. Biology is a popular field, so distinguishing yourself is important. Stats, programming, and other quantitative techniques are good for this.
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