Chemical Engineering Vs. Biomedical Engineering for Pre-Med

Jul 16, 2016
5
4
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hey everybody!
Okay, sorry if questions like this have been asked before. I wanted some more current and personal responses.

So here is my conundrum. I am a rising sophomore at a prestigious engineering school and I am having trouble deciding on a major for pre-med. I am stuck between chemical engineering and biomedical engineering (I really want an engineering undergraduate degree). I am thinking about doing chemE mainly because it will set me up with good back up plans if I end up not going to medical school for some reason. I have looked through a lot of the required classes and I just don't feel like I'm that interested in a lot of it though. It seems to focus on a lot on reactors processes and design rather than bioprocesses. However, I have looked through the biomedical engineering classes and liked most of them. I feel like my school's chemical engineering is less about biotechnology than most other schools (even though there is a biotech track that I would do).

I'm scared of choosing biomedical engineering because I have heard it is really hard and many people actually fail out of it to an easier major. I have also heard that the job outlook for it is not great (at least compared to chemical engineering). I have also heard this it is the "biology" major of engineering in the sense that medical schools get like a million applicants with a biomedical engineering major and relatively not that many of any other engineering (if this is true, than it just seems like chemical engineering would be a better choice to get into medical school).

As of right now, I am really set on going to med school. Because of this, I don't really care how I get there, because in my mind the ends justify the means (meaning I'm willing to do stuff I don't really enjoy right now if it could mean admission to a medical school I would love).

Note:
I can easily complete my med school pre-reqs with either major
 
Last edited:
May 11, 2016
165
70
Chemical = 65k starting salary
Biomedical = 54k starting salary

Either one is fine. They actually aren't terrible starting salaries for entry level.

...wow, I feel like I'm going back to high school teaching again...copying and filling in blanks...

I really don't think they care which you chose. I would pick the one that fulfills the prerequisite requirements that will not screw your GPA over.
You are looking to ace your GPA and to ace it with the courses medical schools require you to take.
In other words, if your heart is set on being a doc, do yourself a favor and pick the path of least resistance. Pick the one that is the easiest A.

I started out as a chemistry major, only to change over to biology. Why? Mostly because biology is easy. I love chemistry, but it's easy to make stupid mistakes, just like math and, well, much easier to get an A in biology as an undergrad.

Honestly, it sounds like you know which you want without asking us.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AJC1715

Lost In Transcription

reports of my assimilation are greatly exaggerated
2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2016
2,515
2,271
Probably still at work
Personal exp:

ChemE is better than Biomed if you can handle the chemistry- you have to be good at reaction eng and pchem to do well in the major.

ChemE gives more and better paying internships

Admissions won't give a **** what you major in, just do well

Both are pretty damn hard. Equally so. Just depends on your interests. ChemEs will tell you they have it harder, but that's bull.

Also the AIChE conferences are super duper fun.
 
  • Like
Reactions: eteshoe

TheBiologist

2+ Year Member
Sep 14, 2015
1,226
1,111
United States
Status
Pre-Medical
sorry, I'm not filling in the blanks but I'll give you a good answer - do what YOU want to do. you will not have a harder time getting into med school with either; if it makes you feel better, take a minor in chemistry or even a social science, or take some exotic electives to make your academics stand out.

I'm not sure why you are bringing up the salaries of engineers; unless of course it's in case medicine doesn't work out and you need a backup plan. otherwise after med school you should be making the salary of a resident (40-60k) then a doctor (150k-over a million depending on specialty)

engineering is hard major to begin with; often a GPA killer so be prepared to work hard. remember it'll be worth it
 
  • Like
Reactions: orangeblue

mwriter394

2+ Year Member
Aug 12, 2016
86
128
Status
Pre-Medical
As a rising junior Chemical Engineering/Economics student, I'd recommend doing what interests you the most. Chemical Engineering will definitely give you a run for your money, but just from reading your initial post, it sounds like your heart's in Biomedical Engineering. If you're between the two, choose the one you'd be most interested in. Honestly, it'll probably make it easier for you to do well if you're more passionate about the subject. Both are difficult, but you don't want to be bored for the next three years.

My school's BioEng major is more agricultural than Biomed, so I elected for ChemEng to avoid designing farm equipment, even though I'd rather do Biomedical Engineering. But if you have the opportunity to choose the major you're most interested in (which sounds like BE for you), please do it.
 

eteshoe

.......
2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2016
2,261
2,570
Tethys, Saturn
Status
MD/PhD Student
BME dude. Was a ChemE way back in UG (and worked as one in industry after) but then again I liked chemistry and such more so than bio back then. Honestly the ChemE degree tends to be a bit more unforgiving.

... or biochemical engineering if your school has that major - solves both fronts
 

Lost In Transcription

reports of my assimilation are greatly exaggerated
2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2016
2,515
2,271
Probably still at work
BME dude. Was a ChemE way back in UG (and worked as one in industry after) but then again I liked chemistry and such more so than bio back then. Honestly the ChemE degree tends to be a bit more unforgiving.

... or biochemical engineering if your school has that major - solves both fronts
Along with it being more unforgiving, you have a great solid engineering foundation. BioE varies wildly. Sometimes (like at my school), you end up being a ****ty, mediocre combination of a ChemE and a biochemist- useless in both and competed out by the pure chemEs and biochemists
 

Yoge

2+ Year Member
Aug 4, 2016
5
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Do what seems interesting to you. I am currently a BioE (school's curriculum follows that of a BioMed Eng school but is called BioE) student and am loving it. Designing medical equipment sounds extremely interesting to me, especially orthopedic implants and prosthetics. Like mwriter said, if you truly have an interest in something, you will enjoy it despite its difficulty. Don't choose a major just for the sake of it looking "good" for medical schools, choose something you have an interest in and can see yourself excelling in.
 
OP
AJC1715
Jul 16, 2016
5
4
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Would you all say that the Chemical Engineering major at your schools focuses more on bioprocesses/nanotechnology/medicine or like chemical reactor processes/reactor design/ thermodynamics && numerical methods? I believe the major offered at my school is the latter.
 

Yoge

2+ Year Member
Aug 4, 2016
5
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Would you all say that the Chemical Engineering major at your schools focuses more on bioprocesses/nanotechnology/medicine or like chemical reactor processes/reactor design/ thermodynamics && numerical methods? I believe the major offered at my school is the latter.
I would say that ChemE at my school is mostly industry related stuff like reactor design, not really medical or bioprocesses. Those are mostly in my curriculum.
 

Lost In Transcription

reports of my assimilation are greatly exaggerated
2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2016
2,515
2,271
Probably still at work
Would you all say that the Chemical Engineering major at your schools focuses more on bioprocesses/nanotechnology/medicine or like chemical reactor processes/reactor design/ thermodynamics && numerical methods? I believe the major offered at my school is the latter.
I think it is typical to have the latter as your core coursework. As in, this is the basis of all chemical engineering (junior year stuff). Then you can specialize into other things, such as nano, bioprocess, etc. That is how my school did it, and many schools I know do it.

No matter what, you will need to be proficient in reactors, thermo, fluids (usually), rxn eng, etc. This is what being a ChemE is- especially if you want to pass the certification exam.
 

Lost In Transcription

reports of my assimilation are greatly exaggerated
2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2016
2,515
2,271
Probably still at work
Noone takes the certification exam as ChemE. Im a cheme major.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
Bleh? Everyone in my department did if they wanted any sort of industry job, even a short-term internship...

Also either way, whether you take the exam or not, the core coursework of ChemE is the same.
 
Oct 26, 2015
239
148
Status
Medical Student
Bleh? Everyone in my department did if they wanted any sort of industry job, even a short-term internship...

Also either way, whether you take the exam or not, the core coursework of ChemE is the same.
Are you talking about the F.E.? I literally don't know anyone that takes that in chemical engineering. Maybe if your in civil or mechanical and you are doing government work.

http://ncees.org/engineering/fe/

The link above has the numbers. It really is a small amount of people, especially when you consider barely any mechs and civils are taking it.
 

gyngyn

Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2011
24,143
40,085
Status
Attending Physician
I'm pretty sure no one on our committee knows the difference...
Majors tend not to impress, though. Excellence does.
 

gyngyn

Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Nov 4, 2011
24,143
40,085
Status
Attending Physician
I wouldn't be so sure. Biomed seems to be the flavor of the decade when it comes to premed. I see no end in sight for the amount of premed biomeds at my school.
I'm sure the engineering applicants have strong opinions about differences.
The admissions committee members do not differentiate, though. They are all "engineers."
 

NorwegianRepresentative

Membership Revoked
Removed
2+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2015
62
33
Status
Medical Student
I believe that MechE would be the best of all the worlds, but would ultimately require the most work to complete all of the premed requirements as well. It would allow you full access to any of the BioMed engineering fields as well as the opportunity to emphasize in many of the ChemE areas as well. I personally am finishing up MechE and have many friends in the BioE field that have a harder time finding jobs as employers are looking for MechE grads (obviously not real important with the end goal of medicine). I am glad that I chose MechE over Biomedical Engineering or Chemical engineering despite taking longer to complete.
 

Lost In Transcription

reports of my assimilation are greatly exaggerated
2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2016
2,515
2,271
Probably still at work
Are you talking about the F.E.? I literally don't know anyone that takes that in chemical engineering. Maybe if your in civil or mechanical and you are doing government work.

http://ncees.org/engineering/fe/

The link above has the numbers. It really is a small amount of people, especially when you consider barely any mechs and civils are taking it.
That is crazy. All of them must come from my undergrad.. lol