Master of Biomedical Engineering (M.E.) or 2nd B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology

  • Master of Biomedical Engineering

    Votes: 9 75.0%
  • 2nd B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology

    Votes: 3 25.0%

  • Total voters
    12

mkaicher

2+ Year Member
Feb 5, 2017
4
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello all,

I intend to apply for medical school next summer to start in the fall of 2019. I have an unusual background. I am a non-traditional student, 28 y/o, and have 6 credit hours left on a BS in civil engineering. I had my heart set on an engineering degree when I went back to college, however, my local university only offered 2 engineering programs (including civil) as a host for a "satellite" program from another regional engineering university. While my engineering degree will be issued from that engineering school, I have also been taking courses towards a 2nd BS in cell and molecular biology (CMB) through my local university as a means of finishing premed coursework, preparing for the MCAT, staying active academically, etc. Please don't ask why I went for civil engineering and now wish to go to med school - long story. I was deep into the program when I made the decision and had to finish what I started.

I will graduate with my civil degree next May, start AMCAS primaries in June, and am wondering if it would be better to spend the following school year working towards that second Bachelors, or, I have found an online Masters program in Biomedical engineering that I could finish before matriculation in the fall of 2019. Biomedical engineering was what I initially wanted to study as an undergrad. Also, I had planned on applying to medical schools that offer 5-year MD/MS in biomedical engineering anyway. If I could finish a Masters online before med school, I obviously wouldn't go that route with a 5-year joint degree program. Personally, I would rather study biomedical engineering at the graduate level than CMB at any level.

Which option would be most beneficial in getting accepted to a good MD program, 2nd BS in CMB, or online ME in biomedical engineering? My undergraduate GPA is very high, 3.9, however, AMCAS will likely calculate it as ~3.7 because I retook a few classes from when I dropped out of college 10 years ago. I aced all premed courses already. I am planning to take the MCAT early next year.

Sorry for the long post. I am anxious to hear some feedback.

THANKS!
 

shortcoatdream15

2+ Year Member
Jun 27, 2017
199
212
Honestly, you say that the BME is something that you're genuinely interested and passionate in. If you want to incorporate that into your career and you want a good BME education, then of course you should study the masters. And yes, having a masters degree may be appealing for medical school admissions, but an online masters will NOT make a good application into an exceptional one. If you're taking an entire extra year for an online MS because you think it will help you get in, that's wrong. You should be using your gap year toward whatever aim you are most interested in.

The second BS will not add much to your application at all.

Do you have a good overall GPA and science GPA? Have you fulfilled all the pre reqs? Have you shown that you can succeed in medical school by taking a rigorous course load?

If the answer to all these questions is yes, I recommend you stop taking courses and pursue an EC you're passionate about. If you're passionate about BME then by all means get a masters, but do it so you can get the best possible education from it. If that's part of an MD/MS program then do that
 

gonnif

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if your question in which of these two paths would be better for your med school application, the answer is easy: Neither

a second bachelors will do little to increase your GPA or show your ability to academically handle medical school

An engineering masters, even a biomedical degree, while impressive and an accomplishment, will not increase your undergraduate GPA, which is the primary metric, along with grade trends, and MCAT. I will also suggest that an online masters would be less impressive
 
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mkaicher

2+ Year Member
Feb 5, 2017
4
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I can't imagine that my best option is to stop taking courses altogether. Would you recommend an SMP given my situation, instead of the ME in BME? There are not any traditional masters programs available locally that I find appealing or would really differentiate me from other applicants. Nor would I have enough time to finish a traditional 2-year thesis-based masters program.

I work as a volunteer at the hospital, and will likely get involved in a BMS research project next semester (regardless of whether I pursue the 2nd degree). What suggestions would you make for other ECs.

I want to also point out that this particular online Masters in BME is the same as if it were taken in-person. Courses are attended live, via webcam, and the requirements are the same as if I were there on-campus.
 

candbgirl

Junior Member
Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2005
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I can't imagine that my best option is to stop taking courses altogether. Would you recommend an SMP given my situation, instead of the ME in BME? There are not any traditional masters programs available locally that I find appealing or would really differentiate me from other applicants. Nor would I have enough time to finish a traditional 2-year thesis-based masters program.

I work as a volunteer at the hospital, and will likely get involved in a BMS research project next semester (regardless of whether I pursue the 2nd degree). What suggestions would you make for other ECs.

I want to also point out that this particular online Masters in BME is the same as if it were taken in-person. Courses are attended live, via webcam, and the requirements are the same as if I were there on-campus.
Why on earth would you do a SMP? Explain that and then tell us all about your ECs. You haven't mentioned them st all.
 
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mkaicher

2+ Year Member
Feb 5, 2017
4
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Why on earth would you do a SMP? Explain that and then tell us all about your ECs. You haven't mentioned them st all.
Shortcoatdream15 suggested I stop taking courses and pursue an EC. I will graduate with my engineering B.S. in May, have complete all necessary premed courses, and figured I should follow some type of academic program during the 2018-19 school year (my "gap" year). I was looking for advice on a 2nd B.S. in CMB vs. an ME in BME. Alternatively, I know SMPs are a good option for people with weak undergrad GPAs, and while my GPA is in good shape, I've heard they can be a good path for people like me with that gap year before matriculation.

My only ECs are volunteering as a patient escort at the hospital and participating in my school's pre-med society.
 
Last edited:

mydogmolly

2+ Year Member
Oct 16, 2016
236
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and while my GPA is in good shape, I've heard they can be a good path for people like me with that gap year before matriculation.
absolutely not
 

gonnif

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1) You do not need any more academic work; If you are worried, then put together an AMCAS GPA Grid so we can see it
2) you need sufficient clinical volunteering experience, which you havent mentioned
 

NonTrad16

2+ Year Member
Feb 2, 2015
894
968
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Medical Student
If you have all preqrequisites and your GPA is ok, there's no need to do more coursework. If you did have remaining coursework, you could purse community college courses (for most medical schools), or do single courses at a university. Do not do online coursework, as that likely won't count, or will be considered as low quality/unimportant. No need to waste more money to look busy.

If you really want BME experience, I'd pursue a real program (with research or projects built in), not an online program. Alternatively, you could wait and see how you feel during medical school. (I have a BME graduate degree, and I expect to use very little of it. I was paid to research, and I can't imagine paying for the experience, only to drop it and move on to medicine...)

Volunteering/EC's are VERY important. If you don't have them, get them. Basically, you need shadowing, clincal exposure (paid or unpaid), and something for some underserved group. Lack of EC's can very easily sink your app.
 

gonnif

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277 MCAT Student Selection 2014 - mcatstudentselectionguide-page-012.jpg
 
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