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research for nonscience majors?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by beamiestface, Apr 4, 2002.

  1. beamiestface

    beamiestface Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 19, 2001
    How did all of you nonscience majors out there find research positions? Are some summer positions available to those with just the basic premed requirements (orgo and intro bio) and nothing more, or are most of those positions looking for people who are serious about hard sciences and have taken more classes than the intros in bio?

    Is non-hard science research still considered valuable in the minds of the adcoms? I'm a cognitive science major, and I think I would find research related to cognitive science and physiological psychology to be the most interesting.

    Side note--is a research-based thesis project (as is common within my major at my school) looked at as "research experience" even though it's a requirement for graduation? How about research classes? I took a research methods class incognitive science this semester, where we designed and carried out a study amongst the 10 members of our class (ie we all tested subjects and had a hand in design). Does abyone care about stuff like that?

    And on a side note...did any of you purely nonscience majors out there (ie majors in things where no research is done, like English)do any research at all?
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  3. Barton

    Barton Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 28, 2001
    Minneapolis, MN
    I was a straight-up history major in college, and I did substanstial research in nuclear medicine (5 publications so far). My research was done in my home town during the summers. My dad works at the Mayo Clinic and hooked me up with some of his research buddies. I also did some summer research at my school with a blind MD/PhD student. I got that through my campus job at the Disability Resource Center. You just have to look around, contact departments, etc.
  4. brontehardyeliot

    brontehardyeliot Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 14, 2002
    Round Rock, TX
    I've got a question that's along these lines. I was an English major as an undergraduate, and I did do research in my field. It wasn't in a lab or anything, but it was an official project. I had an advisor; I had to read thousands of pages of literary, critical, and biographical texts; I had to write a pretty extensive thesis to support my idea, and I had to present my idea and then my findings to a panel, which included professors and other honors students. The whole project took me over a year and I graduated with honors because of it. I was wondering if medical schools will care about this? I know it's not research in the sense that most science people usually think of it, but it definitely was research. Also, I'm about to start a post-bacc program. Since I have the chance, should I go ahead and try to do some scientific research to strengthen my application?
  5. sorrento

    sorrento Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 13, 2001
    In my experience, having nonscience research was a great talking point at interviews. I had some public health research, too, but all anyone wanted to talk about was the other stuff. I think a senior thesis would be highly regarded - remember to mention it as research experience in your AMCAS - mine was only a semester program.

    As far as the OP's question about cognitive science, I would say definitely expand on what you know and love. Your research methods classwork probably won't stand out, but if you can find some interesting ways to extend beyond that then you should be well on your way.
  6. sorrento

    sorrento Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 13, 2001
    Sorry, one more thing. You will find in applications that the "research" sections are sort of skewed (sp?) toward science research - you know, put a check mark next to clinical/biomedical etc. Don't let this deter you from listing your English work; you might just have to call it "other" <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
  7. akgirl

    akgirl Junior Member

    Feb 10, 2002
    San Francisco
    i was an english major in college, and had no problems becoming involved in 'science' research, although it was clinical work rather than bench work. if you are not interested in working in a wet lab pipetting and cleaning the equipment, then don't do it. definitely do something you are interested in, even if it is more on the cognitive side.

    as an undergrad, i worked in a behavioral science lab, and now i am working with a psychiatrist doing research in biological psychiatry. in my experience, my interviewers have all been interested in the research i am conducting, even though it is not 'hard' science. there are many opportunities out there, and it sounds like with your background, you shouldn't have trouble finding a position in an area that interests you.
  8. Doctora Foxy

    Doctora Foxy Meow 7+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by beamiestface:
    <strong> And on a side note...did any of you purely nonscience majors out there (ie majors in things where no research is done, like English)do any research at all?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I am a double non-science major. I volunteered over one summer at Mt Sinai in NY shadowing a dermatopathologist. I was assigned an unusual case and had to find out if it was unique, or if it had been published before, so I did "research" by reading through MANY MANY journals to look for it. Since it turned out to be a unique finding, I wrote a case report about it and submitted it to a journal (it has yet to be published, so i might re-submit it). I marked this experience as research/Lab on amcas, but explained it like this in the appropriate section. When I brought it up on interviews, they were NEVER interested in discussing it any further--instead they talked about my Spanish and Latin American studies stuff. Usually if you're a non-science major, you will be somewhat unique and your interviewers will tend to ask you about your non-science work. However, I'm glad I did the internship at Sinai, because I did get to see patients on rounds and gor two LORs from doctors there.

    p.s. akgirl, welcome to SDN :) . Your name reminded me of one of the abbreviations I learned that summer from diagnosing slides-----AK means actinic keratosis :D
  9. princessSMT

    princessSMT Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2001
    hey there:)

    i was also an English major in undergrad! its actually a VERY good idea to do science-related research to demonstrate your commitment to/interest in science as far as getting into med school is concerned... try the NSF/REU scholarships, they might let you have a shot at summer research. and like other people said, its really the process of doing research, and the problem solving that is important, not so much what lab/field its in.

    good luck!
  10. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2001
    New Jersey
    I did reserach in psychology with infants and I found that many of my interviewers wanted to talk with me about it and said it was interesting. Being a little different is always good I think :)

    If your school requires a research based thesis it would definately "count".

    I would definately pursue reserach in cog sci/pysiological psych if it's what interests you. You'll get more out of it. Your interest in the research will come out in your application and interviews and that matters a lot.

    Good luck :)
  11. Mistress S

    Mistress S Don't mess with the S 10+ Year Member

    Apr 15, 2000
    I am also an English major, and I spent last summer doing clinical research at the NIH (worked in a lab researching HIV treatments). Because of my limited science background (at the time, I had only taken bio and gen chem) and the relatively short amount of time I spent there, I was limited in the tasks I could perform in the lab; but I feel like I learned a lot and met some really interesting people. If you are looking for science research opportunities, the NIH is a huge organization that conducts research in basically every major biomedical area, and you do not have to be a science major to participate.

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