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Is Neuroscience a limiting/overly specialized undergrad major?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by jasmynediva, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. jasmynediva

    jasmynediva Junior Member

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    Hi,
    Are there any neuroscience majors out there?do u like it? do u hate? Please be honest lol.

    ~ In your opinion, as a premed student would I be limiting myself by majoring in neuroscience which focuses mostly on the CNS and brain/behavior?

    While i enjoy studying the brain, I have been told that neuroscience in the undergraduate level is too specialized and isnt exactly the best "premed" major. Im debating whether to do neuroscience at a well known university (University of illinois chicago) or do biomedical sciences(covers upper level science classes like histology, immunology, embyology etc) at a smaller less known college. Which major would be more uselful once i got into med school.
    By the way, im not a freshman....im a transfer student.
     
  2. Napoleon4000

    Napoleon4000 Senior Member
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    No. Look at Paul Greengard; Eric Kandel; Susumu Tonegawa; Watson. I could name some more, but the point is Neurosci is a specialized field, but it requires understanding of many different disciplines to be a successful neuroscientist.

    While in undergrad make sure you take:
    Molec. Bio.
    Immuno
    Genetics
    Biochemitry
    Adv. Biochemistry
    Orgo
    Comparative Anatomy
    Physiology
    Cell Bio
    You will be ok as a neuro major

    This is the last area where important discoveries will be made. Understanding the mind in the context of brain; how we are conscious; psychiatric diseases; many important things will come out of this field.

    ;)
     
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  3. _ian

    _ian Senior Member
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    Eh. I mean, that's a great list if you have six years to spend in school or want to take nothing but biology courses, but come on. If you're pre-med, you really don't need advanced biochemistry, seeing as you'll never get a chance to use it; anatomy isn't incredibly useful, in my opinion; immunology is a fun topic but not necessary by any means; and you can probably get away without a cell bio course.
     
  4. riceman04

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    I am taking a neurosci class right now and it is complex as hell....ugh...writing a paper on the auditory cortex right now..... :scared: :scared: :confused: :confused: :eek: :eek: :mad:
     
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  5. Napoleon4000

    Napoleon4000 Senior Member
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    By the way I did complete all these courses and then some in 4 years. Not impossible...just gotta go get it if you want it. :cool:
     
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  6. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    I have said it once, and I will say it again. Choose your undergrad major based on what interests you, NOT based on what you THINK will get you in to medical school. If you are passionate about film, history, language, economics, neurobiology, whatever.. then study that and take the minimum prereqs.

    If you look at the percentage of accepted applicants *que BrettBachelor with the URL to the site that lets you do this* based on their major, you will see that there is no one major that gives you a unique advantage. What does give you an advantage is being able to succeed in your major, and being able to talk passionately about something academically that you are involved in.

    I, for example, majored in Philosophy and LOVED it.
     
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  7. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    OK.. that list is just plain silly. In undergrad make sure you take 1 year of bio, 1 year of gen chem, 1 year of O-Chem, 1 year of physics, 1 year of English. That should get you set for most *not all* schools.
     
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  8. letmein!please?

    letmein!please? Senior Member
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    Oh yeah, try writing a paper on the Ventrolateral Preoptic Area! Us posh neurosci majors call it the VLPA though :laugh:

    I'm a neuroscience major and I love it (Actually im double-majoring in Psyc too). It depends on your school's requirements, but you should be fine on all your med school pre-reqs. Actually, between my pre-reqs and neuro classes I will have fulfilled all the requirements for a Bio major, but I think I have to pick one because there are too many overlaps. You probably will have to forfeit some upper-level bio classes like immuno, advanced biochem and cell bio, but all the other ones listed above I will have finished. I'm not sure if any of these classes would give you a real distinct edge over others in med school anyway since you'll learn a lot more there (in biochem, for example) than you would ever begin to learn in college. For me, I love studying the brain, and I think that since I want to be a neurologist or psychiatrist, it will definitely add to my interview-ability.

    Just do what interests you and do well in it. Make sure you have your 2 years of chem and bio, a year of physics and calc. If music students can get in and do well after having only taken these, I don't think a Neuroscience major would have any trouble either ;)
     
  9. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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  10. es19

    es19 Member
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    i'm a molecular and cell biology major, and my emphasis is neurobiology
    (we can choose from Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Cell & Developmental Biology, Genetics, Genomics & Development, Immunology, and Neurobiology)
    anyway, i love my major! currently taking a neuroanatomy lab that's just soo much fun!
    biochem is required for all emphasis; i found time to take human anatomy and physio before i took any neurbio upper div.
    i'm also doing research in the nutri sci department. also took a few pysch classes. next semester i will take a cell bio class
    so, i guess it all depends on how u use ur time...but since u r a transfer, u might want to double check how much time u have to complete all those courses outside of your major requirement
    good luck!
     
  11. Opallife

    Opallife Student
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    I am a Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology major at my school and I have enjoyed it. While it is a very intense major, I have gotten to learn about more disciplines than just biology.

    As far as medical schools go, on my interviews thus far people are very interested in why I choose my degree and seem to be impressed by it.

    But I agree major in what you want to major in! I am also a journalism major and that seems to have sparked a lot of questions as well!
     
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  12. somewhere2010

    somewhere2010 SDN Donor
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    unless you really really want to take all of these classes, don't just cuz you think it might be useful...you'll get all of that in med school. i personally started off as a bio major concentrating in neurobio, and ended up a psych major concentrating in neuroscience. the difference? i took learning and memory, cognition, physio, neurobio, biochem...instead of molec bio, immunology, genetics, etc - i have a vague interest in the latter courses, but i wasn't as enthused about them as the former. if you lean more towards the hard sciences, take those...if not, take more psych-oriented neuro courses. i don't think it makes you too specialized at all...in fact, i think my psych-neuro background is what has made me quite appealing to my lab and to med schools.

    as an aside, i highly recommend taking physiology! i personally loved the course, and it gives you a nice foundation for medicine, the MCAT, and how the brain strongly relates to the rest of the body - all things i find really interesting, and you probably will to being interested in the brain and medicine.
     
  13. shantster

    shantster Eye protection!
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    I actually wish I went to a larger school that had a neuroscience major. Instead, I'm going with a Biology/Psychology double major with most of my psych classes being the ones that are more biological in focus. If it was me, I'd be doing the neuroscience major and then just get the prereqs done because that's where my interests lie.
     
  14. mercaptovizadeh

    mercaptovizadeh ἀλώπηξ
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    There is a reason why the two basic-clinical fields out there are immunology and neuroscience - because both the nervous and immune systems are highly complex, the understanding of which is believed to be essential to solving prominent diseases.

    That said, both seem highly specific at the undergraduate level (in fact, no one really offers an immuno major in undergrad, but you can take courses in it). You should major in what you like. However, I would not do a neuroscience major, just because I would prefer to get a broader foundation early on. It's like majoring in electricity and magnetism (rather than physics) in college.
     
  15. drlalchick

    drlalchick Member
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    I am a neuroscience major, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I love neuro, and let me tell you, it has led to some very interesting conversations during med school interviews. With that being said, the only reason I was able to carry a conversation in the first place is because I love neuro. It's pointless to choose a major in terms of what you think will get you into med school. They don't care as long as you meet the prereqs. However, if you can't talk about your classes, what you like about your major, etc., that's a big flag to them that you're not passionate about what you do. Neuro is specialized, but to get to that level, you still need to take the regular bio, chem, etc. So neuro justs adds a little more.
     
  16. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I suggest taking almost none of these classes. Unless you have absolutely no other interests, you probably should take things in college to broaden your horizons, plus the basic prereqs. You will have two years of science in med school during which you will focus exclusively on medical sciences. College is your last chance to take all those classes that make you well rounded outside of the lab. Med school will teach you all you need to know to go into neuro.
     
  17. somewhere2010

    somewhere2010 SDN Donor
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    i actually think that neuro isn't so specific in the sense that it's interdisciplinary so you borrow concepts and facts from different domains to understand the field. although what you are learning may seem rather specific, the ability to integrate information from different domains is a generalizable skill that will be quite useful in medicine. for example, you'll likely learn a bit about genetics, cell bio, biochem, neurotransmitters, neuroanatomy, learning and memory, and clinical psychology as a neuroscience major; being able to see how all of these areas contribute to the functioning brain is analogous to using all kinds of patient information to identify and treat their medical problems...IMO. :oops:
     
  18. mdforlife

    mdforlife Senior Member
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    i am a neuro major and i love it-- so interesting. who cares what u major in undergrad, as long as you like it.
     
  19. riceman04

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    my paper was a simple analysis of and article entitled The Role of BK-Ca2+ activated K+ Channels in mammalian cochlea neurotransmission (something linke that)
     
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  20. femmedargent

    femmedargent Senior Member
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    BK K+ channels are really cool actually, one gene with 34 exons (i think) with something like 1000 alternative splice variants turns out taht there's something like 2 million possible permutations of that single gene--- which makes sense considering the hair cells need to respond to specific frequencies depending on where on the cochlea they lie (as opposed to the olfactory receptor genes, of which there are a thousand, each with one exon coding for a single protein, which also makes sense considering the multitude of ligands that the receptor must bind) -polar opposite genetic concepts, very elegant and demonstrative. yum

    I agree witha few of the above posts that neurosci is in NO way a narrow field... it is highly interdisciplinary and much broader than some of the other standard fields. Plus, you probably will have to do the basic cell bio/biochem stuff as part of the major, so you won't be missing out on anything.
     
  21. it.

    it. 1K Member
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    neuroscience is interdisciplinary. i get to take a variety of bio classes and psych classes, so that's nice. i went into the major thinking i'd get to study both the mind and brain in-depth, but i was wrong. the field is primarily rooted in biology, and seeing as how i'd much rather study the mind, i probably should've went into cog sci
     
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  22. femmedargent

    femmedargent Senior Member
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    At my school, the neuroscience major had 3 possible "concentrations" - cell/molecular, cognitive, and systems. Neuroscience as one single subject is way too broad to be encompassed by a single track.
     
  23. femmedargent

    femmedargent Senior Member
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    So make sure that the program you're looking at includes the leeway to choose certain types of classes over others, depending on the kind of study you're interested in.
     
  24. modisrules

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    Like opallife, I was a Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology (we called it NBB) major. It was the best thing I ever did. You can choose from so many disciplines - bio,psych,anthro,philosophy,specialized neurosci - it's almost like the liberal arts of biology.

    BUT, I think that your logic in choosing where to go to school should be reconsidered. College is not about getting into medical school. You should choose the place you like the best, not the program/major. I didn't even know about NBB before I chose Emory - I wanted to do physics and later switched (and physics helped in neurobio, so it all worked out). Also, if you still want to improve your med school chances, go to at least a relatively well know school. I don't necessarily think going to UI vs. Emory vs. Harvard makes that much difference, but UI vs. no-name local college who sends one student to medical school per year makes a big difference (no matter how good the local college is). Plus, at a major research university like Emory or UI, you have all the research to use to your advantage.

    ALSO, MAJORS DONT MATTER. In fact, if you're an art history major or music major, you stand out in the crowd of 9 million bio majors. Neurosci is a little bit of a difference (enough to ask about in interviews), but in the grand scheme it doesn't matter. DO WHAT YOU LIKE. GO WHERE YOULL BE HAPPY. Just take your prereqs where you go and worry about med school later.
     
  25. omniatlas

    omniatlas Senior Member
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    Here's my 2 cents -- and speaking from experience out of college -- if you're trying to take some time out from grad school doing some research at some academic institution or biotech/phamaceutical company, they'll tend to side more with applicants with more skill-based experience -- As a biology major you'll learn more of the techniques but I believe this varies between programs.
    I currently work at McLean Hospital (one of the best psychiatric hospitals in our country -- John Nash, Sylvia Platt, James Taylor are some of our famous 'alums') and I've been pretty lucky; but I can tell you, we do a lot of molecular techniques and I had to learn all of them because I simply was not taught these procedurees in undergrad!

    BTW, modisrules, do I know you? I graduated Emory in 2004 within the NBB program -- did you use to work in the department as a workstudy student with Dr. Lennard? Lol, isn't he the greatest?
     
  26. Sust

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    I dont know how applicable my experience was since im a non-trad, but I will also chime in here.
    Having gone to a school that did NOT have a neuroscience program at the time, I totally wish they had. Psychology was nice and all, but I always got the nagging feeling that neurophysiology and seeing what was happening on the inside was what we needed and that was not something psychology seemed entirely focused on.
    Of course that also led me to run around in the field and find my own way to where I am now, but it would have been nice to have found this all out much earlier. Now, I'd like to assuage those fears that neuroscience is too narrow by mentioning an example job in an imaging genomics lab which can have MR physics, neuroanatomy, and genetics all rolled into one. You dont necessarily have to know all of those subjects to get a job there, but showing a definite interest is important because learning all of that stuff on the job is not easy and mentors(plus med schools I guess) want to see that you are interested and motivated enough to follow it through to the bitter end.
    If I were you, I would take the time to do some mesearch while you can. Throughout my undergrad, I had only taken classes that interested me and since I had recently decided to go back and finish the pre-reqs, only then did I get to slog it out with the other young 'uns in GChem and OChem. There's always time to go back and retake these required courses, but there's probably not all that much time to enjoy what you learn and few chances to structure your curriculum according to your interests. Do the pre-reqs and then find some passion.

    Just my 2 cents to be taken with much salt as humans typically vary.
     
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