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chem major or minor

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by patch_o, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. patch_o

    patch_o Member
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    Hey guys i have a question for you all. My o chem teacher told me today that i should get a chem major to go with my bio major. I was planning on getting a chem minor, but wasn't all that sure about a major. I liked calc and ochem 2, but i was just wondering if med schools will see this as to sciency? What do you guys think.

    thanks
     
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  3. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member
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    Your decision should be based on your like of chemistry. Do you like chemistry, would you find yourself enjoying earning a minor in it? I doubt medical schools will look and say wow that's too sciency.
     
  4. MD2B_81

    MD2B_81 Junior Member
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    I am not sure on a "technical" standpoint, but I am a Chemistry major with Biology minor. The advisor at UW Madison said that she is very interested in Chemistry majors because so few of them apply to medical school anymore. I am especially interested in the research aspect of chemistry, and she said that that related very highly to the progression of medicine from a biochemical standpoint.

    I am not sure if this answers your question. This advisor also told me (whether or not it is true is determined at you discretion) that she likes to see a broad diversity of educational backgrounds for the entering classes. I would recommend doing something that makes you different than others you are applying with.

    Let me know! I am biased towards Chemistry, I love it.
     
  5. BassDominator

    BassDominator Senior Member
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    I totally agree with MD2B_81. Having a chemistry major/minor will definitely make you unique in the eyes of the admissions committee. They must be so tired of seeing all those biology majors.
     
  6. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    why would you want to waste anymore of your life in a hideous lab? Please, there is nothing special about chem majors, chem and bio majors are all that apply to medschool (practically)
     
  7. ad_sharp

    ad_sharp Senior Member
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    I did both majors. I would say that it probably helped a little, but you should only do the chem thing if you like it. It can be a real pain.
     
  8. MD2B_81

    MD2B_81 Junior Member
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    Of course insulted at your post Cerebrus, I feel it was also ignorant and unjustified.

    I would agree that many applicants are Biology or Bio/Chem, however a solid grounding on chemistry explains 90 % of biological principles and is therefore an itegral part of a pre-medical students preparation. Do you find Pharmacotherapy and pharmacokinetics useless and mundane as you inferred about chemistry? You realize that is a large part to medicine, the medication aspect, right? You also, then, realize that apart from the trials and testing it is entirely chemistry, right?

    Before you get on your high horse and become so darn condescending, I would evaluate your facts and opinions very carefully. I know a bunch of liberal arts majors who were accepted into medical school - it is true that change is good, especially with healthcare in its current situation.

    Preferences are one thing - and if lab work isn't for you, then it isn't for you. Chemistry intimidates many people, especially with the classes above and beyond organic chemistry. Perhaps physical chemistry and group theory aren't as closely related to medicine as, say, genetics and cells, however how related is ecology and botany?

    I would have to say your tone is not what most speak with on this forum. Any reason for that?

    Have a nice day
     
  9. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
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    i was thinking about minoring in chem as well...but decided against it cause i already had 2 other minors on in the works. that and i didnt want to take the second installment of pchem. the first was hard enough.

    but if you like chemistry and feel interested in the material then you should go for the major/minor. if you want some more time to do other things with then id opt for the minor. you're intellectual curiosity should still be satisfied enough with the minor and your social life wont suffer too much.

    go ochem!
     
  10. musiclink213

    musiclink213 My room is a mess
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    i know in my school, for the bio majors, once they get past the sequence that i required (gen and orgo) they only need 2 morte credits for the minor. i don't know about other places, but here, it really isn't that hard to get a chem minor.
     
  11. ddmo

    ddmo BMF
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    I say it is not really worth it. I am a chem. major and it didn't seem like anybody cared at the schools I applied to. Also, you may like O chem, but once you decide to major you get to sign up for the big boy and girl classes like pchem and inorganic. These are a whole different ball game.
     
  12. TheRussian

    TheRussian Life Size Mirror
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    At my school if you major in biochem, you can get a BA in bio and a minor in chemistry without taking any extra classes. All you have to do is fill out the paperwork.
     
  13. Peterock

    Peterock "PeeT-Ro'k"
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    Honestly, chemistry classes tend to be a lot harder than bio... especially the labs. From a research perspective, it might be better to do biologically based research considering NONE of the people who will interview you will really have any understanding of your research. Two of my interviewers would not let me talk about my research for that reason.

    MD2B_81 - As Cerb said, I would NEVER want to do spend any more time in a hideous chemistry lab. Thats 2000+ hrs of experience talking.

    Also, I don't know if this is true, but I think after bio... psych is the most common premed major. Any ideas?
     
  14. Rendar5

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    chem major here. Don't do it unless you love it.

    Or unless you really enjoy writing 20 page lab reports each week for your physical chemistry lab explaining quantum fluctuations in spectrographs. (Actually, quantum experiments were much easier for me than the electrochemistry ones we did. It was what I was good at in PChem)
     
  15. group_theory

    group_theory EX-TER-MIN-ATE!'
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    Don't decide to do something based on whether or not med school adcoms will like it or not. Do (or don't do) it based on whether YOU want to or not.

    A chem minor really isn't that impressive (for medical schools). Because of premed requirements, most people are very close to a chem minor anyway (or in certain schools, fulfill the requirements already).

    Only sign up for the chem major if you want to learn more about chemistry. You will certainly not find a lot of premeds in upper division chem classes such as PCHEM and Inorganic Chem (based on my experience). Writing 20+ pages/lab report for pchem lab = FUN ;)

    If you get a Chem degree, and decide not to go to med school ... you can still do biomedical research. The principles of protein folding, protein crystalization, determining biochemical pathways, free-radical chemistry, protein-DNA interaction, ribozyme activity, etc. are all important and require an extensive knowledge of chemistry (i.e., thermodynamics, kinetics, molecular orbital theory, crystal field theory, etc)

    Whether or not you do a chem minor or a chem major is up to you. Whether or not you think it is too sciency is up to you - take courses (electives) that you enjoy - whether that is x-ray crystallography and fiber diffraction, or Post-Modern interpretation of Shakespeare

    Group_theory
    "Now accepting karma points" =
     
  16. Peterock

    Peterock "PeeT-Ro'k"
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    Problem is that a chem major can be pretty varied. I personally could care less about pchem and a-chem.... thermo and quantum... not my bag. I'm more interested in organic synthesis and chemical biology. I guess I'm kind of like a detail oriented biologist, I don't want to see things at a cellular level, but at an atomic, understand interactions b/t proteins but also the makeup of proteins, structures, complexes etc.

    Anyway, going through the labs and chem classes was a waste. They took waaay too much time and effort and I got fairly mediocre grades b/c nearly every chem major at duke ended up going for at least a md or a phd (if not both). I just don't think it was worth the effort considering I could have taken 2 bio classes for every one chem.

    Good luck, find some senior chem majors and ask them for their opinion.
     
  17. HooahDOc

    Physician 15+ Year Member

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    http://www.knox.edu/statistics.xml

    The Top 5 majors applying to medical school in 1999 were: (drum roll)

    #5 Psychology (2,015/41,000)
    #4 Chemistry (2,308/41,000)
    #3 Biochemistry (2,505/41,000)
    #2 Other/Unreported (5,445/41,000)
    #1 Biology (15,600/41,000)

    The least popular major was: "General Science" at .5%, however Philosophy and Sociology were pretty close as well.

    Couldn't find any 2003 data.

    Conclusion: Chemistry is a fairly common major. If you want to impress with science, pickup a major in physics, mathematics, or engineering. If you want to be unique, pickup a major in philosophy. Actually do what you wish. I like psychology but I would have probably been a philosophy major instead, if I could go back in time.
     
  18. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
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    that is pretty easy to get a chem minor...
     
  19. TheRussian

    TheRussian Life Size Mirror
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    I actually think the school caught on and stopped allowing people to count the same classes for all of these majors starting with the class right after mine. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  20. hoomsy

    hoomsy Senior Member
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    Got to love american education....where people can just "major" with 40 credits... I am a chemistry "major" and my program consists of 95 credits... If you want to "double major" like everyone does in the US you will be in school for 5 or 6 years just for an undergraduate degree. The actual majors I think don't matter...all that matters are the courses you take and the B.Sc. title....the rest is crap.


    Hoomsy
     
  21. ad_sharp

    ad_sharp Senior Member
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    What country are you in and how much general education do you have to do? I have a few friends who are international students and they told me that they don't have to deal with as much gen ed in their educational systems at home. I was just curious if this applied in your case.
     
  22. dr.kicia

    dr.kicia Senior Member
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  23. evines

    evines peek-a-boo
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    Too much double majoring going on. Just pick something you like and go nuts with it. Sure, pick up a chem minor if you want (fill out the paperwork), but it's not necessary, and probably won't impress anyone. I'd bet my easter candy that having a second major is WAAAAAAAAY down the list of things ADCOMS look for in applicants. Use the extra time you'll have to make better grades, do research if you want, date a hottie, volunteer, take interesting electives, sleep in, blah blah blah.
     
  24. hoomsy

    hoomsy Senior Member
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    Hey,

    I'm from Boston, but I go to school at McGill. It's in Montreal, Canada. I want to become a doctor. I had no clue how hardcore and specific degrees are here. 120 credits is the 4 years...but 95 of them come from straight chemistry courses. The remaining come from other SCIENCE electives like biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy etc...We are allowed to take only a few very non science courses. When we graduate, we're actual chemists...I mean we even get the training here...which is great...IF you want to do it for a living...I don't! I hate chemistry soo much!! The 15 people graduating from chemistry this year...only 3 of them even applied to grad school in chem(the rest, smart people, want to do something else)....and all 3 of them got spots at top schools in the US, Harvard, MIT and Stanford. Pretty much our graduates can skip the masters degree and go right into PhD. Profs like it because theses grad students will only have to take the MOST 2 courses in grad school..the rest is all research (since we have done practically every chem course).

    For example....some CHEM courses I've taken: Gen Chem 1,2; Inorg 1,2,3; Org 1,2,3,4; Analytical 1,2; Instrumental 1,2; Integrated Inorg/Org 1,2; Quantum Mechanics 1,2,3; Stat Mech; Phys Chem 1,2; Kinetics...etc... 4 out of the 5 days a week I'm in the lab from 1h00pm-5h30pm and the 5th day I'm TAing org chem lab from 1h00-5h30pm. Pretty much I want to puke at this point. If anyone is considering doing sciences in schools in Canada, especially McGill....only come here if you want to be a scientist....if you want Med School....DON't COME HERE!!!

    Hoomsy
     
  25. evines

    evines peek-a-boo
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    The above is how I imagine hell.
     
  26. ad_sharp

    ad_sharp Senior Member
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    Thanks for the info Hoomsy. Yeah, sounds like hell.
     
  27. hoomsy

    hoomsy Senior Member
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    hah yeah...

    because i'm on a role...in addition we have to be very comfortable with computer programming. for example...one of my lab practical finals for instrumental analysis 2 was to build a fairly simple circuit from scratch on a bread board...using like op amps etc to build a sin wave. Then we had to build an analogue to digital converter which would be used to plug into the back of a computer (circuit voltage is anal. and the comp is digital). Then we would have to write a programme that would recognize this circuit and manipulate data to spit out numbers and graphs etc...in matlab. All in an hour! while a TA is looking over your shoulder...

    But of course it's not all bad...there are fun courses like World of Chemistry Technology, World of Chemistry Foods... and medically related Drug Design and Development which you pretty much learn how to model drugs on the computer and how pharmaceuticals develop these drugs... you don't realize that there are reasons why some medications are soo expensive...you get all these hippies on the tv and newspapers saying these companies are assholes for charging soo much..this is the fall of healthcare..blah blah.....it's an amazing process to actually....research a disease, model a drug...MAKE the drug...TEST the drug....and distribute the drug...so that they can only sell a drug for like 2 years (what's left on their patent after all the research and development) to the public.

    blah....sorry i dunno where i was going there...

    go chemistry!

    hoomsy
     
  28. MD2B_81

    MD2B_81 Junior Member
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    As a previous post said, "talk to some seniors in Chemistry and see what they think." I am a senior (just have next year to finish up minor) and still love it. It is very challenging, yes, but I do it because I love it. I find it so interesting - yes, even group theory...can you imagine coming up with that stuff!! Does it directly relate to medicine...no, but as I said earlier neither does ecology or botany. I totally agree with Group_Theory in that you should do what you enjoy.

    As far as the research aspect goes, I think it is one of the most important parts about chemistry! You get to see, smell, watch, analyze, and count what you learn in class. Personally, I was bored to death in ALL of my bio labs. It's a preference thing.

    Oh, we just got a new science building with large windows... it's not so hideous ;)
     
  29. group_theory

    group_theory EX-TER-MIN-ATE!'
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    Who knows - there might be practical application for group theory in medicine in the future. Who would have thought that nuclear physics and medicine would combine to form radiation-oncology. Perhaps virology could benefit from group theory, since virus protein coats are very geometric in nature - perhaps we can deduce simple principles based soley on their plane of symmetry and axis of symmetry (and inversions).

    Could you imagine if this stuff (from inorganic or pchem) was on the MCAT!!! :smuggrin:

    Sample Question:
    Consider the sigma-bonding in the complex Mo(CO)4ClF where the Cl and F atoms are found in the axial positions and the four CO?s are all in equatorial positions.


    1. What is the point group of the complex?
    2. What is the reducible representation that describes the sigma-bonding atomic orbitals for the Mo-CO sigma-bonds in this system? :scared:
    3. What are the irreducible representations that make up the basis set for the symmetry adapted linear combinations (SALC's) for the Mo-CO sigma-bonds? :eek:

    HAHA (see how different this can be from general chem or intro organic chem)

    Anyway, the advices in this thread has been great. May I suggest that before you commit yourself, talk to the chem undergrad chair and your premed advisor. Get their opinions on which is the best course for you, and the difficulty that might lie ahead.

    Best of luck.

    Group_theory
     
  30. hoomsy

    hoomsy Senior Member
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    that's not pchem...that's in the first chapter of our inorg1 course i took 2nd year... i hate that stuff...but it's super important when you deal with spectroscopy...like raman and IR.


    hoomsy
     
  31. group_theory

    group_theory EX-TER-MIN-ATE!'
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    Actually, there is a lot of overlap between pchem and inorganic. I was first exposed to "irreducible representation" and group theory when I was taking pchem. I was exposed to it again in intro to inorganic chemistry.

    (a pet peeve of mine is people calling general chemistry "inorganic chemistry" ... I want to see a general chem student answer those questions ... which, btw, are pretty easy)

    Raman spectroscopy is fun. Did you ever have the urge to take off your safety goggles while doing raman spec using an argon laser?
     
  32. hoomsy

    hoomsy Senior Member
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    Well....ALL branches of chem overlap...but it would be weird if you learned about this in an introductory pchem course....because this branch of inorg chem deals more with spectroscopy...unless maybe i heard you wrong and your pchem course was more of a quantum/spectroscopy course?.....and when i say "inorg" i mean INORG....gen chem is first year.....

    as for the goggles?...are you ******ed?...depending on the laser...argon is in the UV to far UV...so you're gonna want to have some plastic covering your eyes....

    also...why are u soo excited about chemistry?....why are u even thinkingn about med school?

    i'd be surprised if you knew this...but what do you think about this?
    http://ronispc.chem.mcgill.ca/ronis/chem345/final2003.html

    it was our quantum 1 final...class average was D.

    hoomsy
     
  33. MD2B_81

    MD2B_81 Junior Member
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    When did this become a pissing match of who has had worse chemistry courses?? You like it, or you don't. You enjoy the challenge, or you don't. You like working in the lab, or you don't. You apply to a graduate program, or you don't. You apply to medical school, or you don't. You defend your major, or you don't.

    It appears that a chemistry major has a lot of choices!

    Biology is very important and has a reputation as the "Pre-Med" major but I ask you - what causes action potential, what is an electrochemical gradient, the electron transport chain??? They are parts of biological systes that are 100% chemistry. This is to stress the importance of chemistry in medicine. Sure, it's hard, it's hard as hell, but that says something about the candidate. For example, what is more impressive, stopping your math career with Calculus I or with complex variables?

    I know many, many people with greater success with their Chemistry BS than their Biology BS (while they work while attending grad school).

    Both are important, both have their place. Do what you enjoy more no concerning yourself so much with what others think is best for YOU.
     
  34. werd

    werd Senior Member
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    depending on where you are going to school, doing both a chem and biology major can be really difficult.... like 6-years to complete where i go. "biochemistry" can be a good alternative for people interested in both, though it can vary how much the focus is on biology vs. chemistry. since you have to take general chem and ochem for med schools anyway, you're halfway to a chem minor and might as well go and finish it off. taking instrumental analysis or analytical chem can help on the mcats (it did for me) since it introduces you getting data from weird contraptions before you see them cold on the mcat. as for the major, i'd say only go for it if you really like chem, not bc you think it might help...
     

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