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Social Science majors...

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by BerkeleyPremed, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. BerkeleyPremed

    BerkeleyPremed Membership Revoked
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    I'm currently taking a public policy course this semester and I've taken numerous political science classes in the past. I'm really interested in these fields and I'm particularly interested in international relations and the international political economy. I enjoy writing papers in these classes and I'm amazed at the quality of the professors in these departments as well.

    However, I also enjoy studying biology and the sciences. I'm basically torn as to what major to declare now because I really enjoy my bio classes as well. It's definitely harder to earn As in the science courses I've taken than in the social science classes...but I'm willing to do the work.

    My only problem is...I really do not want a double major because that highly restricts the # of units you can take outside of the two majors and it would probably also postpone my graduation for at least a semester. So I'm trying to decide which major to pick.

    I know that this should NOT be a factor when deciding which major to pick..but I can't help but notice that certain medical schools have stated that they look favorably on people with degrees in humanities and social science fields (that obviously deviated from the standard "premed" path of declaring biology or molecular biology as a major). I posted a link below to Penn's admissions page where they state, "The School of Medicine encourages students to obtain a broad education in the liberal arts, while undertaking preparation in the sciences that is appropriately rigorous. " So I'm very tempted to declare the social science major (political science)...any opinions on my dilemma?

    Link: http://www.med.upenn.edu/admiss/admissions1.html
     
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  3. 2bkiddoc

    2bkiddoc Senior Member
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    i say major in politics (or policy, whatever) and take your premed courses. then after youve taken intro bio (which im guessing you have already?), take some upperlevel courses that interest you. my friend is a politics major and took all his premed classes and biochemistry (and has a 4.0 BCPM). hes writing his junior independent work on medical malpractice policy. i have many other friends that have done similarly (taken premed courses and upper bio classes) and gotten into top ten programs (if thats any concern). major in what you like and enrich yourself in other courses. i did the opposite and majored in biology as an undergrad and took more than enough courses in anthro to minor, but didnt, because i had no intentions of taking one of the "core courses". and since you put the link on there, i have many friends at penn now (and friends who graduated and are now residents) and penn means what it says about liking the broad background. the histories that penn students have are very interesting and not everyone is a science major. and come to think of it, only one person i know at penn was a science major. everyone else was humanities/social science... just do well in your premed courses and toy a little with upper leverl science classes...

    PM me if you want to know more about these people...
     
  4. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
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    i forget if you can minor in PS at berkeley....i know you cant do anything like that for mcb....

    i loved some of the polisci classes i took at cal.
    well its a good problem you have man. i love the pursuit of knowledge and education.

    go bears!
     
  5. Trekkie963

    Trekkie963 Senior Member
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    I'd definitely go the social science route. It sounds like you enjoy it and can get better grades, so ultimately it will help you get into med school.

    Take the pre-med requirements plus whatever biology interests you, but also use your undergrad time to learn things you won't be learning in medical school (ie. poli sci).
     
  6. Catalyst

    Catalyst Enjoying Life
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    No question: major in poly sci and learn about everything that you will not get to once you start medical school, admissions committees could really care less in my experience, it's a win-win situation
     
  7. XCanadianRagwee

    XCanadianRagwee Membership Revoked
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    DOuble major

    200+ semester credits here, and out in five years. An extra semester or two ain't gonna hurt
     
  8. Trekkie963

    Trekkie963 Senior Member
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    This is the worst advice EVAR!

    Unless there is actually a reason to get the second degree, I don't see the point in double-majoring if it makes your life harder. The fact is, the OP will not actually be using a biology degree or a poli sci degree, and medical schools could care less whether an applicant has one, the other, or both. Getting the degree just means someone has a little extra background in some area, but it won't affect their post-med-school career one iota.

    I'll reiterate my advice to take classes you'll enjoy and do well in--leading up to whatever major you care for--and supplement them with some other science and non-science classes to round yourself out, explore other interests, and also prove to medical schools that you can handle some tough science.
     
  9. BerkeleyPremed

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    Yeah...I'm leaning towards the political science major now. I can still take upper division bio courses that interest me...like biochemistry, physiology, etc. I'll probably make my final decision in the next week or so. Thanks for the advice guys and keep it coming!
     
  10. What year are you? You shouldn't even be worrying about all this premed stuff yet.
     
  11. XCanadianRagwee

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    NOt that it helps in medical school but double majoring definitely made my college life more interesting and gave me a chance to get away from the neurotic pre-meds.
     
  12. BerkeleyPremed

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    I think I'll probably declare political science. It'll give me a more well rounded education and I can take classes that I simply will not be able to take in medical school (international relations, politics of post-war europe, etc). I was just thinking about it over a cup of hot chocolate at Cafe Strada on Bancroft Street (all the Berkeley folks should know where this is)...this will be the LAST time in my life that I can take courses in political science, philosophy, economics, and the like.

    When I'm in medical school, every course for the first 2 years will sound like biochemistry, molecular physiology, gross anatomy, etc. I might as well take advantage of the opportunity to take non-science courses while I can simply because this opportunity won't really exist in the future. In addition, being a political science major will help to separate me from the 2348723947238 other premeds that declared biology and will be applying in my application cycle. I think it'll make for interesting discussion during my interviews. I can also have the option of doing an honors thesis in political science which would be awesome.

    Well, hope to see more advice in here. Thanks for the guidance guys! You guys beat the idiotic counselors that work in the L&S advicing office. Keep it coming folks!
     
  13. NRAI2001

    NRAI2001 3K Member
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    I would do any major besides a bio major. You are going to be spending the rest of your life taking bio classes, I think u will later regret not learning more about other fields. I started off as a bio major at Cal also, but I am now trying to do Haas (school of business), even though I know that it won't probably help me much after med school, but i still think it is interesting.

    Another question, are econ and business classes counted as science?
     
  14. Trekkie963

    Trekkie963 Senior Member
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    No.
     
  15. jedirampage

    jedirampage Senior Member
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    If the OP for some reason does not get in to medical school on her first try, then a biology degree will be much more helpful in finding something clinically/scientifically relavent to do in the interim. Also, some people enjoy the challenge, even if it is slightly more work. I'm not trying to contradict you, just saying there are some reasons to do it.
     
  16. BerkeleyPremed

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    First of all, I'm a "he" ;) Secondly, a biology degree is pretty worthless and it MIGHT get you a job as a lab assistant but it won't get you any further than that. In years past, a bachelor's in biology might have earned you a job in biotech but that certainly isn't true anymore given the horrible job market and outsourcing. Thirdly, seeing as there are 30,000+ applicants to medical school each year and we know that MANY of those are biology majors or molecular biology majors...wouldn't choosing a different major (outside of the sciences) help one differentiate themselves from the legions of other premeds out there applying?
     
  17. jedirampage

    jedirampage Senior Member
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    I suppose I should have said a B.S. rather than just biology. And no, there are legions of premeds that take majors outside of the sciences. But then again, most adcoms aren't looking for that much differentiation anyway. Just observations from my own and others' I know experiences.
     
  18. BerkeleyPremed

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    Sorry to burst your bubble but you couldn't be any further from the mark on that. There are NOT legions of premeds that major in areas outside of biology...that's the whole point. In raw numbers, the biology majors, molecular biology majors, and biochemistry majors have all of the non-bio majors beat by a HUGE margin...it's not even close. You really think there are legions of premeds out there that major in comparitive literature, economics, political science, or philosophy? The answer is NO.

    As for your comment about adcoms not wanting differentiation...that just makes no sense whatsoever. If you have tons of people applying with the same major (biology) and similar GPAs (3.6-3.9) and similar MCATs (30+)...how are you going to tell one from the other? You're going to have to rely on essays, extra-curriculars, volunteering, etc...of COURSE they want differentiation.

    As for the comment about the BS degree...again...the job market is absolutely atrocious and outsourcing is occurring in biotech and many other fields. Yes, a BS in biology MIGHT get you a job as a lab assistant...but you're not getting much more than that. Many of us aspire to become something more than a lab drone who pipettes all day.
     
  19. jedirampage

    jedirampage Senior Member
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    When I say they don't want differentiation, I mean that don't want you to deviate too much from the path they have set out. Do this, this, and this to have a reasonable shot at getting admitted. Otherwise, if you ACTUALLY do something DIFFERENT, they ask why you didn't do what everyone else did. Again, I have had quite a bit of experience with this, including people I know who are/where on adcoms. In fact, one quit the job because the adcom had taken on this more "cookie-cutter" philosophy. Sure there are some institutions that actually are looking for these differences but they are the exception not the rule. I don't know if you've been on the interview trail yet, but it is easy to see when you get there how much more alike everyone is than how much they differ. Similar experiences abound. While it is true that most premeds still major in biological sciences, the gap if quickly closing. My question is if a B.S. isn't gpomg tp help you get a job in the case that you don't get in (which probably won't be the case anyway). what makes you think the job market will be more receptive to a B.A.? You could always get a teaching position, as there are too few teachers trained in the sciences.
     
  20. BerkeleyPremed

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    I never said the job market would be more receptive to a B.A...I just said that outsourcing and the horrible job market will definitely not allow more job security for people with BS degrees. You said that adcoms actually WANT premeds "to do this, this, and this to have a reasonable shot at getting admitted"...ummm....I hope you meant, "Study hard in your premed classes and get good grades, major in whatever interests you and excel in your major, and do well on the MCAT." Those are the ONLY things that the adcoms expect of ALL applicants...I hope you're not trying to imply that adcoms actually expect all of the applicants to follow the "traditional" route to medical school by doing a biology major and doing the typical contrived extra-curricular activities (hospital volunteering, lab research, etc).

    You're actually telling me that adcoms will ask me why I chose to deviate from the "traditional" path by not doing biology and not rushing out to do same hospital volunteering that 387423984792 other premeds are already doing? The vast majority of applicants will be biology, molecular biology, or biochem majors. I"ll be a political science major. The VAST majority of applicants will all have X hours of hospital volunteering on their applications. I founded my own non-profit organization last year which has nothing to do with medicine. My non-profit works through colleges to provide college admissions workshops and seminars to underprivileged high school students throughout the country. We have chapters at Berkeley, Claremont McKenna, Rice University, UC Davis, and SUNY-Stonybrook.

    If adcoms dislike the fact that I dared to deviate from the "traditional" path by doing another major...well...too bad for them. I'll have no regrets...I'm studying a field I enjoy and learning tons from it. If adcoms don't appreciate the fact that I didn't rush out to be a candystriper in a local hospital or wheel around folks from one floor to another...again...sucks for them...I worked myself to the bone to build a non-profit organization from the ground up (that means filing Articles of Incorporation, filing for Tax Exemption from the State of California, and submitting grant proposals to private foundations and donors).

    From what you're saying...the fact that I'm actually deviating from the cookie-cutter formula for premeds will actually HURT me in admissions. Somehow, I find this very hard to believe.
     
  21. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
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    BerkeleyPremed your box was full so pm me when its free:

    I was actually going to post on your thread and say that I couldnt decide either between the two, so I ended up doing both. But then I read you didnt want to limit yourself to those tracks, so I didnt.

    You really can't go wrong any way. But I do feel that Biology will be really useful in med school. I feel a lot of times people just treat med school as all memorization, which for some subjects it is. But college Bio helps in creating a framework by which to add new info because you spend more time considering the "why" in college than the "what" in med school, or so Im told.

    Then again, majoring in something is overrated. If you wanted to do PoliSci major and then take a lot of bio, Im sure youd do great either way.

    Good luck!
    Gleevec
     
  22. NRAI2001

    NRAI2001 3K Member
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    I don't think doing bio now is useful, like gleevec said u ll learn that stuff again in med school. I know I used to think that way also, that I wanted to take bio classes now so that they ll help me when i m in med school, but i realize now that you should try to learn subjects taht u will not have the chance to learn while ur in med school. Being a doctor doesn't mean that ur not suppose to have a life or other interests outside of medicine.
     
  23. BerkeleyPremed

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    I agree. Why study the same material twice? In addition, this is your LAST opportunity to study what you truly want to study. Medical schools don't offer courses in comparitive politics, international economics, game theory, foreign policy, the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzche, etc.
     

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