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Changing my major to... Chemistry?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by AortaSorta, Nov 8, 2018 at 4:21 PM.

  1. AortaSorta

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    Hi all! Forgive me if I don't do this correctly, this is my first time on this site.

    I was accepted as a high school senior into a 5-year PA program. I was projected to get a degree in Human Bio in 3.5 years and a masters in Physician Assistant Studies in 5.

    I'm a sophomore now, and after doing some shadowing hours I'm realizing that the PA position just isn't for me. I'm much more interested in Med school. My cGPA/sGPA is 3.99. I go to a smaller school and there aren't a lot of majors to choose from.

    However, I want to get myself on the right track to prepare for Med school. The Human Bio track is only for Pre-PA students, so I have to change to something else. I am currently in Organic Chemistry with a 99% in the class and I love it. I am definitely leaning toward Chemistry as a major.

    My question is, would be it better to get a degree in Chemistry (possibly with a minor in Bio) or to just major in Biology? I have heard that the degree is not as important as doing well in Med school prereqs and having lots of experience.

    What are the pros/cons of a Chemistry degree vs a Biology degree in terms of experience, preparation for Med school, opportunities, etc.?
     
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  3. I'mJustCurious

    2+ Year Member

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    Regarding prep for Med school, it'll be the same because you still would have to take the pre-reqs. In the end, choose a major that you like the most and continue doing well in your classes.
     
    looptheloop and AortaSorta like this.
  4. silverqueen16

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    I just switched my major to Chemistry this semester, for a similar reason - totally in love with organic chemistry! Your major isn't important as long as you complete the pre-requisite's. Do something you really enjoy and are good at! If you're concerned about exposure to the kinds of topics you'll explore in med school, you might be able to complete a minor in biology without having to add on a whole lot of credits. Get an anatomy/physiology combo in there somewhere and you'll be golden.
     
  5. Matthew9Thirtyfive

    Matthew9Thirtyfive Emailed your mum telling her how nice she is.
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    I majored in math, but after having the chem profs I had this last year and then taking biochem now, I wish I had majored in biochem. It's so fun. Major in what you're interested in, not what you think will be "better." Adcoms don't care, and you will have a much more enjoyable college career if you're studying what you enjoy. Also, take into consideration the fact that 60% of applicants don't get in. Don't major in something that won't get you into a career you actually would want as a backup.

    I still love math though.
     
  6. Blanky

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    You cant finish human bio, and then walk?
     
  7. Hass_Love_Fitness

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    Another math major here; major in what interests you and not what you think you should.
     
    AortaSorta likes this.
  8. allantois

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    Finish your program
     
  9. Blanky

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    No, DO NOT become a PA if you want to become a physician.
     
  10. allantois

    5+ Year Member

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    Nothing stopping him from doing both. Will only take one additional year it seems
     
  11. AortaSorta

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    Unfortunately my school reserves the Human Bio degree for Pre-PA students because the last 12 credits are completed within the Master's program. It's a downside of the 5 year program!
     
  12. AortaSorta

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    I've explored the idea of finishing the program and then pursuing medical school. The problem is that the PA program seems to streamline its students into PA school, passing over Med school pre-reqs such as Organic Chem II and Physics. It honestly reminds me of a how a nursing program is set up. A large part of the reason for the change is that I'm interested in upper level Chemistry classes that I will not have the chance to take if I stay on the PA track. The Human Bio degree is pretty limiting.
     
  13. BBBallIsLife

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    I wish I majored in Chemistry. Or, at least minored in it. Waited too late to make that decision. So many gunners in my major, everyone seems more laid back in Chem.
     
  14. Obnoxious Dad

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    Before you switch to chemistry, buy yourself a used Physical Chemistry text book on Amazon and see if that would suit you. If I were you I'd finish the PA program and take Org II and Physics at night while you are working as a PA. You will make $150k per year for a couple of years and, if you keep living like a student, have a large pile of cash to pay for med school.
     
    toedrag likes this.
  15. toedrag

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    This ^^^. Physical Chemistry I and II were a complete nightmare.
     
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  16. Kodite

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    I majored in Chemistry and minored in Bio. It's a good major and not as hard as people think. Some things to consider: (1) the career prospects of a BS in Chemistry are not much better than a BS in biology from my point of view, so you would probably want to go to graduate school before looking for a job if you want to work in chemistry (as a back-up plan, for example); (2) the major has more math than you might expect. Even the upper-level chemistry classes only really require algebra, but the equations used are typically acquired by calculus. At my school, math through calculus III and calculus-based physics is required; (3) the major is more based in physics than you might expect. Most of my upper-level courses were about modeling chemical behavior with math, and the textbook would read like a physics textbook (e.g., inorganic chemistry (inorganic also had some units on structure), analytical chemistry (lots of equilibria), physical chemistry).

    I don't think you need to buy a physical chemistry textbook, but I think his point is that an undergraduate degree in chemistry actually involves a lot of math and a lot of physics that you don't see in organic chemistry. In fact, I would say organic chem was the exception, not the rule (many organic chemistry professors at my school joked that they picked the field because it was the only one that didn't require so much math). Physical chemistry really wasn't that bad in my opinion; I performed the same as I performed in my other major courses.

    I'm not sure about whether you should leave the PA program or not; I'll leave advice on that to other people.
     
    #15 Kodite, Nov 9, 2018 at 4:55 AM
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018 at 7:01 AM
    AortaSorta likes this.
  17. silverqueen16

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    Not sure how well this will be received, but my chemistry major doesn't require p-chem. It's a BA in chem, not a BS. I switched not only because I loved chemistry but also because I have a TON of humanities and language credits that weren't counting for anything in a BS program. In the BA program they take up all of the liberal arts portion of the degree. The only chemistry classes I'll have to take besides organic chem 1/2 and gen chem 1/2 are a writing intensive analytical chem course and an additional 4 hours of chemistry electives. With the bio minor it's got me taking anatomy, physiology, cell bio, genetics, and an additional 6 hrs of upper level bio. If you're not hot on p-chem and already have a lot of non-sciency credits, maybe look into a BA instead of BS (assuming your school has one).
     
  18. Blanky

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    Pchem is known to be traumatizing. Can you go for a regular bio major or something "lighter"?
     
  19. ClimbsRox

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    Play to your strengths. It turns out I am better at math and physics than english lit and psychology, despite the latter being considered softer majors. My sGPA is higher than my cGPA. If I chose a "softer" major to get into med school, I'd be worse off. If chemistry is your thing, do it.
     

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