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plumpee

Chemistry Majors?

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Many people take life sciences or biology in their undergraduate years before applying to medicine, but I'm wondering how common it is for chemistry majors to aim for medical school? I would appreciate if anyone who is majoring or has majored in chemistry, or knows someone who did, is willing to share any experiences about the path that they have taken!

 

Does a chemistry program prepare you well for the MCAT? How challenging would you say it is, in contrast to biology or life sciences? 

 

I have yet to begin first year, so I know many things might change. I've heard that lots of life sciences programs tend to be very competitive and involve lots of memorization, and although I don't mind those two things, I also think chemistry is a subject that I would definitely be interested in learning more about!

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Medical schools do not give any preference to the degree you take, so chemistry or life sciences it really does not matter!

 

As for will it prepare you for the MCAT? Since the MCAT covers biology, physics, chemistry (organic and regular), sociology, psychology, and critical analysis, it is important to take a variety of courses regardless of the degree you take. Within your degree requirements there will be room for electives and courses from other subject matters to help prepare you for the MCAT.

 

Ideally, you should take general chemistry courses, organic chemistry courses, biochemistry courses, physics courses, physiology courses, general biology, sociology, psychology, english (to help with the CARS section some people say, but I really don't think so), and possibly genetics and cell biology courses.

 

I suggest you talk to an advisor to help you choose what courses you should take and plan it out by year, while still completing your degree requirements.

 

Note: I took the chemistry route

 

EDIT: Regardless of what I said before, you should still really take an english course since many schools require it as a prerequisite!

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I know a number of people in medicine now who did chemistry degrees. If you are interested in it and feel you would do well in it, go for it.

Chemistry is a bit less common than bio degrees, but it does lend itself well to individuals who are hoping to gain critical thinking and problem solving skills. 

 

In terms of the MCAT - it helps with physical sciences (from inorg/physical chem) and bio (from organic chemistry). However, you will definitely need some additional biology and physiology knowledge (whether through elective courses or self-teaching).

 

The MCAT is only one small part of admissions. First and foremost, I would choose a major that interests you and that you think you can do well in.

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I just finished my honors chem degree in the winter term and will be starting med in the fall. I actually think chemistry prepared me better for medicine than say an honors biosci degree. As far as the MCAT goes I took first year psych, soc and all of first year bio which are not required for honors chem so I was fairly comfortable with all the subjects on the MCAT (except CARS, F CARS.). Chemistry has tons of opportunity for research, and I feel that there is less people competing for spots in Labs than in say biosci, I have many friends who did chem research and none of them had difficulty joining a lab. As far as courses go its sorta a catch 22. I think high level chemistry courses are more difficult in general than say biosci or life sciences (both due to course work and because nearly all chemistry classes have a lab) but there are less people in the classes and a lot less people gunning for medicine which makes it considerably less competitive. I know for sure that several classes I only got maybe 85% overall and still got A or A+s. Personally I would 100% recommend taking chemistry if its something you enjoy. But do not do it just because you think its a easier root to Med, because you'll hate it. Feel free to PM me if you have an specific questions!

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I did a BSc in medicinal chemistry, and I never had any problems or weird looks during the application process. In retrospect, I do wish I had picked something more interesting to me (I discovered too late that our university offered a neuroscience major); while chemistry was interesting, I didn't find it fascinating by any means and I really wasn't good at it, which lowered my GPA. So, just make sure that you *really* like whatever major you choose, and that you can see yourself doing well in it without killing your social life. That's the important part.

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