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Choosing Between Majors?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Eudicot, May 14, 2014.

Which Degree should I take given the circumstances

  1. Stick with Biochemistry

    0 vote(s)
  2. Do Whatever you want

  3. Take an extra year to get in all the prereqs

  1. Eudicot

    Eudicot Dual Degree Dingus 2+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2014

    This is my first post here, so hopefully I'm not screwing up and putting this is in the wrong forum.

    I'm a second-year student at the University of Minnesota. I am currently a dual degree student officially declared as BS Biochemistry and BA Music. Recently, I've become interested in the Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior program, and was wondering if dropping the Biochemistry degree in favor of EEB would affect my chances.

    This is something I've been thinking about for about a month now. We started the ecology unit back at the beginning of April, and I just secured a volunteer position in a theoretical ecology lab (my interest) over the summer to see if this is actually more to my tastes. This choice is something that I have a few months before I really need to declare (as my classes diverge next spring semester), but some other opinions would be nice before doing so.

    I know that in general (or as my peers on campus and friends would tell me) it's not about the major, it's about taking the requirements and doing well in GPA/MCAT/ECs, but I just wanted to check. ESPECIALLY because switching to EEB would force me to drop OChem Lab in my plans. There is no way I can fit this into my schedule without overworking myself. I am already taking 17-20 credits every semester, and have 13 and 11 credits planned over the summer (Fall/Spring: 12 is considered the minimum for a full time student, 15 is the recommended, and 20 is the maximum you can get without applying for exemption. Summer: 7 is the "full time student" course load). I know that some schools don't explicitly state OChem lab as a prerequisite, but... even if it is highly recommended, there'd be no way I could fit that in if I switched majors.

    EDIT: I forgot about this possibility because it's not one that I'm fond of... but I could take an extra year, and do a 5-year plan. Then I could fit in all of my classes for both degrees, get my desired music focus (Theory and Composition as opposed to just Music Theory), and still fit in OChem lab. (The reason I'm not able to achieve a Theory/Comp focus in 4 years is because of all of the prereqs needed before I could even take the level 1 composition class.) Doing so would also allow me to take some other courses that I would not have been able to, mainly Physiology and/or Anatomy (The intro bio class here did not cover either topic).
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
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  3. Boolean


    Oct 14, 2013
    Switch the major, take the OChem lab in a postbacc? It's a possibility.
  4. turayza

    turayza 5+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2012

    If EEB is filled with more interesting courses, then you should change majors (you're paying a lot to be an undergrad!). Have you considered dropping music and just taking the music courses that you enjoy? That should free up at least a few credits to squeeze in ochem lab.
    As you mentioned, there is also the possibility of taking a fifth year (or just 4.5 years).

    In a long-term framework, whatever you choose to do as an undergrad should be fun, engaging, and allow you to get decent grades in your classes. Don't kill yourself fulfilling prereqs for degrees--graduating with just one is equivalent to graduating with two, and might provide more flexibility in choosing classes.
    Another possibility is staying in Bioc/Music Theory and just taking whatever EEB classes you find most interesting.
  5. NoDakDok

    NoDakDok 2+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2014
    Do whatever you want. Beyond the prereqs, no one cares but you.

    I personally wouldn't extend the amount of time I'm paying tuition (increasing debt and delaying entrance into medical school) by pursuing degrees that provide nothing in the future. But their intrinsic value is just that.
    plumazul and gyngyn like this.
  6. Eudicot

    Eudicot Dual Degree Dingus 2+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2014
    I find that the issue is if I stay in Bioc, then the best I can do is take 1 or 2 EEB courses as part of my "non-major Bio requirement" and vice versa.

    I have considered dropping music and that has been a suggestion in the past. But for two reasons, I really do not want to drop the music degree.
    I'm technically still a music major. I don't officially become a dual degree student until this coming fall. I'm worried that dropping the degree so quickly is going to look bad.
    The bigger reason though is because to me, it's something that keeps me happy. It's not something I could invest a career in, but it's something that I like to do in my free time. In high school, I had 30 ECs going into college, 20 of which were music. Since eighth grade, I've wanted to be a music major... but after realizing that it's not really something I'm cut out to do, I decided I would pursue it as something on the side. The dual degree is nothing more than a personal validation, and if I dropped it, I would feel like a failure to myself.

    Also... the music degree fulfills many of the liberal education requirements. From there, going from a music minor to a dual degree is really only 2 extra music history classes, a second language (which I'm finishing up over the summer anyways), and 6 more credits in whatever I want.
  7. touchpause13

    touchpause13 nolite te bastardes carborundorum 5+ Year Member

    Jun 25, 2012
    Switching the biochem major to EEB wouldn't matter in terms of med school competitiveness. What matters for med schools is that you complete your prereqs.
    I think you could do just fine with EEB/music and taking some more time to finish college. That way you are not killing yourself taking 20 credits a semester and you would still be able to do the ochem lab.

    Another thought I have for you: have you thought of just doing the music major? That way you could just take classes you are interested in plus your prereqs.
    plumazul likes this.
  8. Eudicot

    Eudicot Dual Degree Dingus 2+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2014
    I could just do the music major, but...

    I'm from a very well off family, so money is of no concern to them, and they're happy to help pay for college... but if I dropped everything for the music major, I'd be sent on my own. I understand that there are plenty of students out there fending for themselves, but I am not ready to do so.

    Also the issue is, there is a bit of prestige (but it obviously isn't an Ivy League or anything) in being in the College of Biological Sciences. Whereas the School of Music is actually pretty terrible in that aspect.

    And I know these reasons sound like I'm being "forced" into a science major, but it isn't really the case. I do in fact enjoy biology. But that could just be because I enjoy learning (the only reason I "upgraded" from a double major to a dual degree was because I missed taking French classes, which is the only difference between the two). No matter the case, I still do enjoy the subject and after some time in the lab, I may or may not decide whether switching from Bioc to EEB would be best for me.
  9. touchpause13

    touchpause13 nolite te bastardes carborundorum 5+ Year Member

    Jun 25, 2012
    No I understand you completely. I'm from the cities so I do get the difference between different schools at the U.

    Most people here would kill to have all their undergrad debt taken care of. I'm also lucky in that regard. As long as your parents would be willing to cover that extra semester(s) I really think that is your best bet. You would get to continue with the music major and the bio degree you are interested in. Lots of people take gap years, in the grand scheme of things 1 more year really isn't that big of a deal.
    Eudicot likes this.
  10. turayza

    turayza 5+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2012

    I agree with @touchpause13 , it sounds like you really value both EEB and music, and if you are financially able to afford an extra semester or year, you should go for it! In the long run an extra .5-1 year of undergrad doesn't really delay your plans, and you would be able to take all the classes you want to take (and will never have the chance to take again). What is comes down to is Bioc + graduate in 4 years, or EEB + graduate in 4.5 years. What will make you happier? Your application will not be impacted either way.
    touchpause13 and Eudicot like this.
  11. Dr. Biology

    Dr. Biology The Nerdiest Super Hero 2+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2014
    Whatever makes you happy, if you like biochemistry then do that, if you want to do music then do it, if you want to major in women's studies or Sociology then do it. Don't pick it because it is easy, pick it because you like it, it makes you happy. For example I majored in biology, not because it is the "typical Pre Med major" , but because I enjoy biology and it challenges me.
  12. optimistic3

    optimistic3 2+ Year Member

    Dec 31, 2013
    Since your education costs are covered, go ahead and do the extra year and take all the classes that you want. Major in whatever you want and enjoy yourself.
  13. Cyberdyne 101

    Cyberdyne 101 It's a dry heat Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Sep 16, 2013
    Under the Bay Bridge
    Med schools like to see that you follow your passions. I know a thoracic surgeon that was a music major in college. Do what you'll enjoy most!

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