Jan 11, 2018
Hello all,

I am currently a sophomore Biology major/Chem minor and I'm seriously considering pursuing an MSTP after undergrad. I am interested in genetics, immunology, molecular biology, synthetic biology, and biochem as areas of potential research (I think several of those research focuses are nested within several other ones, but oh well).

Before I realized that I had such a strong passion for research (been in a lab for 2 years now, so I have some idea about what it will look like, I hope) I took algebra physics 1, calc 1, and statistics. My initial plan was to stop at calc 1 for my math development, and take algebra-based physics instead of calc-based so that I could spend more time taking the Bio classes I was more interested in.

At this point, I am wondering if I should re-start my physics sequence so that I can take it with calculus, and take more math courses (calc 2, calc 3, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, maybe some CS), to better prepare me for a career as a physician-scientist. Do you think it would be worth the extra time/credits/$ to do so? It seems like a lot of the genetics/molecular bio/synthetic bio research uses "biophysics" quite a bit and I don't want to limit my options based on not having developed a background in the prereqs.

RELATED: If I could only do one, I would choose MD over Ph.D., I think. Do the areas of research that I listed transfer well for MD/PhD-ers?


2+ Year Member
Dec 23, 2016
The (not)-Greater NYC Area
MD/PhD Student
I took up to Linear/Diff, and bioinformatics with hard-core coding, I found it to be immensely helpful with research. I think being equipped with these tools will give you an edge in many areas down the line. I think the bottom line is do it if you're interested.


Will Walk Rope for Sandwich
Staff member
5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
City of the Future
Medical Student
I wouldn’t bother with retaking the physics sequence. If ever you need to relearn physics, you can do so from a textbook. I would encourage you to take more math and CS courses. They have been immensely helpful to all of the work I’ve ever done. Statistics / Linear Algebra / Algorithms / DiffEQ being the main ones. A strong foundation in statistics will stay with you wherever you go in science.

Do NOT take a bunch of math courses at the expense of your GPA. Grades are king in this process, unfortunately. Sometimes you will have to make time to learn something on your own

Your research interests are pretty typical for someone interested in medicine.
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