Dec 10, 2012
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I am a current freshman majoring in biological sciences with a concentration in genetics and development, and I was wondering which one of the minors stated above would be more advantageous for me? Would one make me a more competitive applicant for jobs/graduate school? I have never taken a CS course in my life, but the courses listed seem fascinating. Also, would it be possible to land a job in bioinformatics with just a bachelors (assuming I go the CS route)? Thanks in advance for your responses.
 

gyngyn

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With regard to medical school. Nobody cares about minors (we actually don't care much about majors either!).

I will gladly defer to anyone with first hand knowledge of the potential effect of minors on other job prospects.
 

torshi

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I am a current freshman majoring in biological sciences with a concentration in genetics and development, and I was wondering which one of the minors stated above would be more advantageous for me? Would one make me a more competitive applicant for jobs/graduate school? I have never taken a CS course in my life, but the courses listed seem fascinating. Also, would it be possible to land a job in bioinformatics with just a bachelors (assuming I go the CS route)? Thanks in advance for your responses.
minors and majors don't matter...do whatever you like, don't do it for an "advantage." You're doing it wrong....
 

Euxox

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Business would be much more useful in the real world job market.
Very debatable. A good business program can teach you a great deal, but a lot of colleges have business programs that are nothing more than a set of glorified PowerPoint making classes. CS is much more standardized, and it could be useful in research. A lot of labs would kill for a good programmer.
 

MedPR

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Plus MD/MBA. There are no CS dual degree as far as I know.

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TriagePreMed

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That's debatable. Computer science is also popular and pays quite well.

OP, you should follow your interests.
CS pays well at the major level or in addition to physics or math. I've never seen anyone actually benefiting from a minor in cs when they do biology major, whereas business is a good in to work at bio related companies.

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CharlieL

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Agree with others that a minor is useless. No one ever asked me about mine (art history, which normally lends itself to some chit-chat).

Use the time to take classes in things you will never get a chance to learn again, and enjoy the rest of undergrad! It'll be over before you know it.
 

487806

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CS pays well at the major level or in addition to physics or math. I've never seen anyone actually benefiting from a minor in cs when they do biology major, whereas business is a good in to work at bio related companies.

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You may have a point there, but bioinformatics is a pretty good option.
 

Euxox

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A CS minor isn't much use if you are looking for a career in CS, but the OP is premed (obviously :rolleyes:), so I don't really think that is an issue. A gap year research position in bioinformatics won't require a bachelor's in CS. Plus, as I said before, the value that a CS minor could have in research (both in UG and med school) is huge.

EDIT: If you are interested in bioinformatics, a minor in CS and a major in biology is probably the best option. A major in CS would require you to take a lot of courses (Operating Systems, Software Engineering, Programming Language Design/Theory) that aren't very useful for bioinformatics.
 
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I actively do alot of bioinformatic work in my reaserch and found my background in CS super helpful.

The other members of my lab that are active in bionformatics learned CS in undergrad and it is very helpful if you are good at program. On the other hand one doesn't need university classes to learn the ins and outs of programming for binf work
 

Narmerguy

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I am a current freshman majoring in biological sciences with a concentration in genetics and development, and I was wondering which one of the minors stated above would be more advantageous for me? Would one make me a more competitive applicant for jobs/graduate school? I have never taken a CS course in my life, but the courses listed seem fascinating. Also, would it be possible to land a job in bioinformatics with just a bachelors (assuming I go the CS route)? Thanks in advance for your responses.
I did most of my research in bioinformatics. You can get a job in bioinformatics without a bachelors in CS. A bachelors in a biology related discipline is important, plus some indication of proficiency/skill in CS (a minor would suffice). Many people (such as myself) get in without any formal minors and stuff, you just have to be able to show that you know some coding (a few classes or, in my case, just writing on my CV that I can code in python). Along those lines, python is king in the bioinformatics world, so definitely learn python if that's in the cards (though java and C++ are also heavy hitters). Once you've learned one, you can learn them all.

As far as which is better for you in general in the future, that likely depends on your goals. Do you aspire to a research-related career? CS would probably benefit you a lot more. Do you aspire for something non-medical related? Again a CS-minor would probably be of most use since most companies like someone that can do IT/analytical work for them. If you want to know which is better/more useful as a doctor, probably the business minor. Not because of admissions (which won't care either way) but you can probably put your skills learned in business to better real-world use as a doctor (who don't have much use for CS skills but can benefit from business skills).

However, keep in mind that for none of these do you need either minor. You can learn business stuff without a business minor, you can learn programming and CS stuff without a CS minor, and you can get into most of the jobs that you're interested in without either. Having the skills is great, and listing them on your CV (and maybe having a few classes to show for them) is great, but you hardly need a full-blown minor.

My vote? Do the CS. You can use it much more and business majors are one of the top 3 most common majors in the US so a minor isn't exactly that valued given the glut of majors available.
 
Jan 9, 2013
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If you have an interest in an area that you think will help you professionally or personally, you don't have to minor in it. A minor gets you nothing. Besides, getting a minor can mean taking classes that might hurt your GPA.

However, don't take any extra classes unless you're certain that you can get a high grade in them. Or wait til senior year, where a B won't hurt you as much.
 

Narmerguy

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If you have an interest in an area that you think will help you professionally or personally, you don't have to minor in it. A minor gets you nothing. Besides, getting a minor can mean taking classes that might hurt your GPA.

However, don't take any extra classes unless you're certain that you can get a high grade in them. Or wait til senior year, where a B won't hurt you as much.
Disagree. Obviously don't take a bunch of classes that you have no business being in, but there's nothing wrong with a B here or there on your transcript. If you can get a B+ or A-, it's even less of an issue. Your GPA is important but it isn't everything, and for the most part these small # of classes will have little impact on your GPA unless you're for sure tanking all of them (let's not pretend you couldn't get A's in all of them!).
 
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Disagree. Obviously don't take a bunch of classes that you have no business being in, but there's nothing wrong with a B here or there on your transcript. If you can get a B+ or A-, it's even less of an issue. Your GPA is important but it isn't everything, and for the most part these small # of classes will have little impact on your GPA unless you're for sure tanking all of them (let's not pretend you couldn't get A's in all of them!).

I disagree. Until a person has an MCAT score, he has needs to assume that his GPA needs to be as high as possible. A high GPA can compensate for a less-than-top GPA. If you end up with both a high GPA and a high MCAT, then you're golden, but if you end up with an unbalanced MCAT or a less-than-desired MCAT, a near-perfect/perfect GPA can be a nudge for you.

Since a person usually doesn't know what his MCAT score will be until well into the college process, one should error on the side of caution.
 

Euxox

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I disagree with that. There is little difference in the top range of GPAs (3.8 to 4.0) in my opinion. When adcoms are comparing a 3.8/30 student with a 4.0/30 student, ECs, LoRs, and course rigor will be the deciding factors. Of course, if the OP's GPA is already low, he should think twice about taking difficult classes, but don't be so quick to assume that CS is difficult. It is for some, and it isn't for others. I have a 4.0 in my CS classes, so CS actually brought up my cumulative GPA.
 

Narmerguy

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I disagree. Until a person has an MCAT score, he has needs to assume that his GPA needs to be as high as possible. A high GPA can compensate for a less-than-top GPA. If you end up with both a high GPA and a high MCAT, then you're golden, but if you end up with an unbalanced MCAT or a less-than-desired MCAT, a near-perfect/perfect GPA can be a nudge for you.

Since a person usually doesn't know what his MCAT score will be until well into the college process, one should error on the side of caution.
I understand what you're saying, but you're operating under the assumption that the sole function (and benefit) of taking college courses is to produce a GPA that is great for medical school. That's a very narrow view of college and would result in a lot of students missing out on classes that could significantly change goals or priorities.

For example, a particularly memorable sociology class that I took, out of the blue, caused me to drop a double major in chemistry and pursue sociology because I loved it. Another class, an EMT class, convinced me that I didn't want to do emergency medicine and actually pushed me to explore other areas of medicine such as oncology or studying chronic diseases (diabetes, etc). Another class I took out of the blue, a biophysics seminar, made me fall in love with physics and resulted in forming a 3+ year relationship with a professor who has become my mentor and greatest advocate. Along the way, I picked up other classes that were simply great for learning: a philosophy course, which was the second lowest grade I've ever received, but changed the way I look at the world; an economics course which I did worse than I went in expecting (A-) but still would take again because it changed my understanding of current events and understanding society as a community of consumers/actors.

That's what college is about. Learn things you'll never be able to, explore paths that you wouldn't otherwise have the time to. Especially if these are classes that you are already interested in?? Take them! You'll do the best in those classes which you find exciting and interesting.

Let's say you're a student who has 102 credits and a 3.8, and you take six 3-credit classes and average a B+ in them. It would drop your total expected graduating GPA to a 3.73. The difference between those is less than one LizzyM point, but the difference those six classes could make to your employability, personal enrichment, happiness, etc could be so much more, and that's assuming you only get a B+ average, which doesn't at all have to be the case.

You don't need a perfect GPA to get into medical school. Even the best schools have average GPAs in the 3.8 range. It's rare that you can't afford to take some riskier classes, and the potential rewards are great. Don't let admissions define your life, most of the time it's not even that big of a deal.