Elective science classes: how much is "enough"?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by da8s0859q, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. I'm not talking about the usual stuff here, like gen chem 1/2, bio 1/2, organic 1/2, physics 1/2, calculus, and the rest of the required stuff. I've done all that. I'm talking about the electives: the "XX hours of biology coursework" sort of thing.

    (For context, I am applying to six MD programs in Texas as a resident.)

    Things I have not taken: microbiology, cell biology, histology, immunology, genetics, a few others.

    Things I HAVE taken: A&P 1 + lab, A&P 2 + lab, pathophysiology, a nutrition course, medical terminology, neurobiology, biochemistry.

    Would you still consider this "sorely lacking" considering the fact that I have a psych degree instead of chem/bio/whatnot? I'm considering nailing a few other things out as a postbacc, so maybe their inclusion as "future coursework" on my TMDSAS would be beneficial; I'm just not sure if I'll actually be able to take them.

    What say you?
     
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  3. schismal

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    I would suspect microbiology and cell biology to be the most useful off that list. However, since you've already taken biochem, you would probably find much of the material in cell to be a review. If that's the case, substitute cell for genetics.

    At least in my school, immunology is the GPA killer of the elective biologies. So I saved that one until after my AMCAS went out. ;)
     
  4. neuro1617

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    Same at my school....
     
  5. cdmccart

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    Most school websites have a list of required classes (which is usually the gen chem, gen bio, etc) and a list of recommended classes (which usually includes cell bio, genetics, etc). The recommended classes vary by school and are just that... recommended. Non-science majors are usually looked favorably upon since you not only have to take the classes for your major, but you also have to take the pre-med requirements. Sinc I'm a Bio major, it wasn't any extra work for me to take the pre-med requirements since they're also requirements for my major. If you have a low science GPA, then taking some upper level Bio electives might be a good idea. But if you have maybe a 3.6 or higher science GPA, then I'd stay away from classes that could hurt it (like immunology). Usually Biochem, Genetics, Cell Bio, and Microbio overlap in a lot of topics so taking one of those might be a lot of repeated information, which could translate into a class that could help your GPA.
     
  6. Mobius1985

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    You have more than enough. If you want to take more, in the order that it is likely to help on the MCAT or in med school, consider:

    Cell bio=Genetics>Immunology>Histo>Microbiology (of those you specified as available)
     
  7. Ashers

    Ashers Bacteria? Don't exist.
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    The most helpful science courses from college to med school for me were microbio and immunology (also endocrine phys, but that wasn't on your list). Cell bio/genetics were covered in 3 weeks of biochem and histo. I loved immunology though, and i didn't have to learn all the terms and the alphabet soup that it is like a lot of my class did M2 year.
     
  8. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    ZERO is enough. Med schools only care that you have taken the prereqs for their school. Once you have that, everything else is up to you. Schools won't care. There will be lots of folks in your med school class who took nothing but the prereqs. Med schools are good about teaching you everything they think you need to know, and then some. They want you to have the prereqs as a science background. But the rest is really just for your own interest.
     
  9. schismal

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    An increased GPA isn't going to be helpful at this point, since we've already sent in our transcripts. I thought he was asking which classes would make the first few years of med school easier. If that's the angle he wanted, I stick with my response. Micro, then cell/genetics.
     
  10. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Nah. At most schools micro is a second year course. Meaning you won't remember any of it by the time you need it. Most consider genetics a fairly easy med school course, and so you just don't get much advantage from this. (Plus college courses don't tend to have the clinical focus med schools do, so what you learn may not be as applicable). As I mentioned above, med schools will teach you what you need to know. So I wouldn't worry too much about what you should take to "get ahead". The bang for your buck tends to be so small it's just not worth it.
     
  11. schismal

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    Micro was a 5-hour class and an absolute pain for me to schedule, so I couldn't take it until last semester (second semester junior year). It's fresh on my mind, so maybe that's why I'm pushing it.

    To the OP, if you decide to take these, watch for prereqs. At my school, micro requires genetics/cell, and immunology requires micro. And for the love of all that is holy, do not take the immunology lab.
     
  12. st2205

    st2205 Attending

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    Could you explain your avatar?
     
  13. schismal

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    Invisible bike.
     
  14. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy"

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    Take only want is required and nothing more. This means don't be a bio/biochem/chem major. :p

    The day you graduate/accepted to your first med school is the day you'll realize that most of the stuff you learned in bio is pure crap because it a) has little practical use to you without further schooling and b) you don't really remember what you learned!
     

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