Aug 13, 2011
Hey so I am currently an undergrad and will complete my B.Sc. Chemical Engineering and B.Sc. Chemistry this semester when I graduate in December. Without a doubt I do know that I want to continue my education in some way either by applying to a Ph.D. program in Chemical Engineering (with a concentration toward biosensors or biomedical devices etc.) or Biomedical Engineering... or potentially medical school. Basically my preferred career would be something related to medicine in some extent.

BUT, I havent taken the MCAT yet nor have I prepared for it, so I'm doubtful if I have enough time to study and do well enough within the next few months. What I am considering though is applying to gradschool for a masters degree in immunology or biomedical engineering or something that is both appealing to med schools but also practical in itself, and then applying to medical school after. What do you guys think? The only bad thing is that if I were to go this route I would probably be about 25 years old upon my hopeful acceptance to medschool, and then 29 after completion, then even older upon completion of my residency (with massive amounts of loan debt)! The idea of practicing medicine is very appealing to me however the huge amount of loans and the time investment is somewhat terrifying!

On the other hand if I were to complete an engineering Ph.D., I would graduate at 27 years, with no loan debt (majority of phd engr programs are funded). My research interests are pretty heavily focused on pharmaceuticals and biosensors so I feel like I could contribute to the medical community in some capacity (albeit much less directly :[ )

Any help is appreciated :] So basically;

I'm somewhat intimidated by how old I would be upon graduation if I were to attend med school, and very much intimidated by the massive amount of loans I would have to take out. How did you guys cope with these issues (if applicable)?
Engineering or medicine? Any thoughts?


Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Nov 16, 2010
Resident [Any Field]
Before you commit yourself to a career aspiration based on what is likely a fanciful or naive perception I suggest you volunteer in a hospital or shadow a bunch of physicians for a while to see if this is really something you want to pursue.

If they affirm your current aspirations then yes, a traditional masters in something like BME would be fine while you prepare for the MCAT and address the customary ECs in preparation for applying to med schools.

PS - Welcome to SDN :)
Jan 17, 2011
Honestly, I suggest working for a few years. Chemical Engineering is one of the few fields that pay reasonably well. This will give you the opportunity to take time to explore your life's mission: you can shadow a physician at a hospital on the weekend; you can see first-hand if you like the CE industry; and you can give yourself time to breathe! Oh, and most importantly, you can save some money! (A working CE salary beats a graduate stipend any day!) That way, if you do decide on medicine, you can hopefully avoid the need to draw huge loan amounts.

Good luck!
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Jul 5, 2011
MD/PhD Student
I think you should go the PhD route. It's not that medicine is isn't worth the time investment (early thirties ain't that old). It's just that you seem particularly interested in engineering and have some really good options that are realistic, financially feasible, and without that 10+ year time investment.
Apr 21, 2011
You're going to be 29 one day anyway, regardless of whether you attend medical school. Do what you're more passionate about. When you're 50, you aren't going to care whether you started your career at 29 or 27.
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