Premed Major Help?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ljube_02, Oct 7, 2002.

  1. ljube_02

    ljube_02 Senior Member
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    Ok here's the deal. I'll probably start a canadian school next fall and i need to choose a major. Canadian programs are more specialized so it's very important. Im interested in physics but obviously need a year of bio and 2 years of chemistry for the premed.

    So here are the options:
    Honours Physics:
    1st year: 10 credits bio, 6 credits math, 10 credits physics, 10 credits chem. (so many because of the labs)

    2nd year:
    15 credits physics
    9 credits math

    3rd year
    21 credits physics
    3 credits math

    4th year
    21 credits physics (including the 6 credits of research)

    Now, here are my comments:
    The 1st year is supposed to be the easiest, and even in it i would take 36 credits!! Well 2nd year is impossible, as I would also need the 10 credits of org chem... And im not even talking about electives such as english. Also the classes get much much harder. I.e. 10 credits of 1st year physics is nowhere as hard as 6 credits of 2nd year.... So i cant take this option

    Now Physics/Physiology double major:
    1st yr the same
    2nd yr 12 credits physics +10 orgo chem
    3rd yr 9 credits physics, 12 credits physiology, 9 math
    4th yr 9 credits physiology research, 3 math, 9 physics, 3 biomed engineering

    My comments:
    This program is still too hard. i.e. 30 credits=5 really tough classes each semester:( These 3 credit courses seem much harder than the introductory 5 credit courses.... Im not satisfied with the breadth of the physics courses, as it's not nearly the same as in the honours program:(

    Now regular physics and choose my own electives:
    1st yr the same
    onwards try to put in as many honours courses as possible while meeting the premed requirements; would try to substitute some regular physics courses from option 2 with honours courses from option 1 and substitute physiology project for physics project.

    The problem with this is that the program will not be any easier than the physics/physiology double major. I may overload if i choose my own courses. My father thinks its best if i follow a designated program. Also there is more prestige in an honours program. That's why my father says i should just forget about physics, and major in honours biology.


    p.s. I dont understand how someone can take 5 3-credit physics courses per semester, when in introductory year you only take 3 science courses per semester?? it seems a million times harder than the premed prerequisites.


    I need help!!
     
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  3. Centrum

    Centrum SMILEY KING
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    gawwwddd that is a lot of physics....:eek:
     
  4. An Yong

    An Yong Senior Member
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    My 2 cents..

    I dont know how canadian schools work, but maybe they are similiar to the US schools. My personal opinion is that unless you really have a strong desire to do physics, choose a different major. (Btw, you have a very strange physics curriculum, I dont see any room for general education/elective stuff *shrug* ). Furthermore, stick with one major unless you find some strange enjoyment in being overworked or physiology just happens to come naturally to you.

    With that particular curriculum, you are going to burn yourself out easy if you throw in the pre-med requirements/studying for mcats/doing extracurricular or hospital experience/and application process. Double majoring will give you few if any brownie points, and neither will the *honors* courses, so unless there is some tangible benefit for signing up with honors (i.e. early registration/better equipment or teachers) then don't do it because usually they are stocked with the brightest kids and the grading curve does not tend to be as significant. Furthermore, double majoring may actually hurt you because you will have very little general electives to round out your education (your education will be too specialized in physics/physiology). Adcoms Rule of admittance #1: Broad Education == Good; Specialized Education == not as good =P

    Take it from me, I'm a double major in comp sci/math and I have umm NO social life whatsoever. Enjoy college, stick with a major where you can have some fun too because in the end, your goal is medical school and not necessarily a field in physics right?

    P.S. Another good reason is that it is going to be VERY difficult to maintain a good GPA with upper level physics/math courses... and I will tell you something, math just gets tougher and tougher.

    Good Luck
     
  5. ljube_02

    ljube_02 Senior Member
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    Thanks.

    Canadian schools are more similar to European because if you major in something, 80%+ of your classes will be in that subject. Honours program differs in that you must take more physics classes and they are harder... You also do a year (6 credits) of research in the end.
    Im interested in physics because of all the waves, lasers, etc. I might want to become radiologist as a doctor or perhaps go to graduate school instead. Also physics is something to brag about, as i dont look like a physicist.

    Since you said this, i guess i will not do the honours or the double major. But i would still like to choose interesting honours courses in my regular physics program and do the honours project lab at the end. But my biggest concern still is how do i choose the right program (the major and the honours programs offered are well thought out, but i dont know if my choice of courses will be as good). And yes, im very afraid of burning out as this is a tough major.
     
  6. rotatores

    rotatores Senior Member
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    You will spend plenty of time with radiology during your medical education. I wouldn't major in physics just for that reason.
     
  7. ljube_02

    ljube_02 Senior Member
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    But you learn the fundamentals in the undergraduate physics...

    Also, i can see how something like marine bio would be more interesting. Take a nice course load, and for research go accompany some professor to scuba dive at some island and maybe cook some rare fish:) But still, i'd rather do such "research" for vacation.

    But physics can be helpful in life, whether it be postgraduate school or turning your radio into a scanner, etc. Besides, everything you do in bio or chem major, you will repeat in med school:(
     
  8. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    I did a combined honors in math and physics (in canada) and yes, you have to take all those required courses. in your second year I ended up taking first semester

    1) Diff Eqns I
    2) Organic I +Lab
    3) Modern Physics
    4) Physics electronics lab (3 credits spread out over two semesters)
    5) French
    6) Applied Linear Algebra

    If you thought that was tough, take a look at your junior year:

    First semester
    1) E+M I
    2) Quantum mechanics I
    3) Complex Variables I
    4) Electronics lab
    5) Biochem I
    6) Humanities elective

    Second semester
    1) E+M II
    2) QM 2
    3) Complex Variables II
    4) Biochem II
    5) Particle Physics

    Senior year doesn't get any easier:

    First semester:
    1) Real Analysis I
    2) Abstract Algebra
    3) Advanced PDEs
    4) Thesis

    Second semester:
    1) Real Analysis II
    2) Calculus of Variations
    3) Stat mech
    4) Green's Functions
    5) Optics
    6) Thesis

    So yeah, as you can see, the type of program you seek to be doing isn't easy, but it can be done. Instead of taking humanities, you just concentrate on taking physics and physiology courses, in your case. An honors degree doesn't do much for you if you don't have the grades to back it up though, so don't think taking these courses will "impress" adcoms.
     
  9. ljube_02

    ljube_02 Senior Member
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    Wow that's impressive. 18 credits of science per semester just seems impossible for me. Should i not bother with physics then? I figure i would have a very hard time even if i took 4/6 courses in your last semester.

    Also, which school in canada did you go to? And why did you choose that major?

    Thank you
     
  10. ljube_02

    ljube_02 Senior Member
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    Actually, i could keep the sophomore year down to 24cr+10org chem credits if i delay writing until junior year (and after that take a year of coop to relax). But im most worried that i will not be able to handle the sophomore year and then there is no way to correct my gpa -> i may as well drop out then. Did you just know you could handle this or how did you prepare for such a load?
     
  11. An Yong

    An Yong Senior Member
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    WOW!!! And I thought my courseload was tough!!!!
     
  12. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    I went to UBC, and if I had to do it all over again I woulda probably just done an honors math and taken a few of the interesting physics courses, and more humanities. I really regret not having taken more history, french, philosophy, etc. If you are truly into physics, then do it. I thought I was, I started out in honors physics, then migrated more toward math because upper division physics really made me want to vomit (all you end up doing is making approximations. There's very little new math involved). I really liked math, and even though the workload was tough, I was still able to join intramurals, volunteer, and hold a steady part-time job, and keep sane. keep in mind also, that in physics and math, you will be doing lots of problem sets. And as you go higher up some of these problem sets will literally take hours and hours to do. But the thing is, with m+p, once you understand the principles, and keep up with things (by doing problem sets) you will not need to study a lot, and that's what I really liked about it. I knew of a few other premeds/predents in m+p... the one predent is in dental school now, and of the two other premeds I knew, one is in med school and the other decided to do an MS in medical physics. Plus I have found that the skills you gain as a physicist/mathematician, although won't help you directly in med school, will help you look at things in a different way and you tend to find shortcuts (i.e., patterns) in memorizing trivial facts.
     
  13. moo

    moo 1K Member
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    Some people in my program were even crazier than me. My best friend in college took 7 full courses (all m+P) in his jr year each semester... killed his GPA, but he was going into grad school, so grades don't matter all that much (he's got the research to back himself up). I think the key is not to doubt yourself. It seems like you really like physics and math, and while most people don't, p+m can be really enjoyable (yes you heard that right) if you are the "math type," you know, the one who always found math easy, even though other people were having trouble with it. I always found math and physics easier than bio (which I would have to spend hours upon hours reading, and then memorizing as much you can and spewing things back out), so I knew majoring in math and physics would work out better for me GPA wise. And it did, I got B's in my bio courses (with the exception of genetics, a problem solving type course, and biochem, which I really liked b/c it was very logical, believe or not), and A's in all my math and physics courses. You're right in that it sounds impressive and if you really like math and/or physics don't be afraid to delve into it.

    Oh, and radiology really has nothing to do with physics. If you want to do real physics in medicine, try radiation oncology or nuclear med.
     
  14. ljube_02

    ljube_02 Senior Member
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    Thanks a lot!
     

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