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Engineering degree?


deucex

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Im planning on taking engineering at u of calgary. Probably Biomedical or maybe petroleum.

 

After that, i plan on going to medical school.

 

What do you think of this plan? Is engineering a smart choice for a pre-med degree? Would a lower GPA still be good enough to be admitted to medical school? (eg. i have read that engineering is much hard than a BSc so a GPA of 3.9 in BSc would be equivalent to 3.5 in engineering.) <--- just guessing

 

Thanks for any feedback.

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Engineering is not that difficult and should not be for premeds. The key to any undergrad is to work hard. No difference b/w premed and engineering, same hard Work will pay off. I know friends getting 80s-90s at watloo.. Only cause engineering is filled with so many ppl that don't cAre much about marks. So they get a definite boost.

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Agreed. Just like computing science. It may be actually a benefit to be in Engineering or computing science. You have a professional degree with good job prospect. You work hard while your peer is just trying to finish it with a degree. Therefore, it is actually much easier to get a higher mark.

 

If you get into med, you now have a title MD P.Eng, good enough to do some medical researches or what have you.:D

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Agreed. Just like computing science. It may be actually a benefit to be in Engineering or computing science. You have a professional degree with good job prospect. You work hard while your peer is just trying to finish it with a degree. Therefore, it is actually much easier to get a higher mark.

 

If you get into med, you now have a title MD P.Eng, good enough to do some medical researches or what have you.:D

 

comp sci and eng people do have a bit of a special place once you do get into medical school. If you know something that very few other do know then it is a big advantage I think :)

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Agreed. Just like computing science. It may be actually a benefit to be in Engineering or computing science. You have a professional degree with good job prospect. You work hard while your peer is just trying to finish it with a degree. Therefore, it is actually much easier to get a higher mark.

 

If you get into med, you now have a title MD P.Eng, good enough to do some medical researches or what have you.:D

 

Well, except to get the P.Eng. designation, you actually need to work as a junior engineer or EIT (engineer in training) for several years, under more senior engineers (who do have a P.Eng.) and write an exam. You aren't automatically awarded a P.Eng. after graduating with an engineering degree.

 

I know plenty of people with engineering degrees who do not have the P.Eng. designation. Either because their jobs don't require it or they changed fields (ie. turning to medicine) before completing the required number of hours as an engineer-in-training and writing the professional practice exam.

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Though I did engineering myself, I'm not an advocate of this option. When I chose to do engineering, I simply didn't think I would ever want to get an MD. I don't regret it, but assuming I knew I wanted to do medicine, I would've opted for a science degree instead. I agree, getting a good mark in engineering is just as hard as doing the same in life sci, but the workload is definitely alot more. I had many more hours of lectures and labs doing chem eng at UofT as compared to my friends in life sci. Also I think in doing life sci, at least you can take some courses with relevance. Heat and mass transfer, process design and all the other killer courses I took in chem eng are now probably of zero value, I would've probably been better off taking physio, cell and molec, or maybe anatomy.

 

Also, if someone wants to do medicine, they don't need a fall back option. They'll eventually get in. If not the first cycle, then the second or third. If not here, then US, or carrib. I personally would be happier doing what is that I want most, than settling for a fall back option.

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You actually won't have your PEng unless you work for 4 years as an engineer. Also, you need to continue to have professional hours as an engineer every year to maintain it, plus paying membership fees every year.

 

I did mechanical engineering at UofC and am now doing medicine at UofA so it's definitely possible. However, if you're serious about medicine, I would not recommend this route. Others may say that it isn't harder but personally, taking 6 courses a semester and only having TWO real options in your entire degree doesn't make for an easy program.

 

Also, most admissions committees don't consider degree difficulty as a criteria. UofC does and gave me really good scores because of it but you're gaining an advantage at a couple of schools while potentially losing it at many others.

 

If you do feel the need to have a backup plan, I would suggest you try a typical medical route such as bio sci or health sci and then if you don't do well in your first year (GPA<3.6-3.7), then considering switching into engineering then. However, just make sure you don't have too low of a GPA that you can't transfer into engineering.

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Though I did engineering myself, I'm not an advocate of this option. When I chose to do engineering, I simply didn't think I would ever want to get an MD. I don't regret it, but assuming I knew I wanted to do medicine, I would've opted for a science degree instead. I agree, getting a good mark in engineering is just as hard as doing the same in life sci, but the workload is definitely alot more. I had many more hours of lectures and labs doing chem eng at UofT as compared to my friends in life sci. Also I think in doing life sci, at least you can take some courses with relevance. Heat and mass transfer, process design and all the other killer courses I took in chem eng are now probably of zero value, I would've probably been better off taking physio, cell and molec, or maybe anatomy.

 

Also, if someone wants to do medicine, they don't need a fall back option. They'll eventually get in. If not the first cycle, then the second or third. If not here, then US, or carrib. I personally would be happier doing what is that I want most, than settling for a fall back option.

 

I agree with you. The thought about settling for a fall back option is depressing to me. I know that if I have ever done that it would eat away at my soul/ well being as I age.

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I did 1 year of comp eng then switched to comp science for my undergrad and masters. I had no intention of getting into med at that point and now that I'm starting med school I don't regret my path. I learned different things and got the grades I unknowingly would need. It's certainly possible.

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I did engineering science at U of T which was a brutal program in terms of difficulty and workload. I don't think I slept or ate much during the first two years. I even remember sitting in a computer lab watching the sun rise twice through the same window. But I loved the challenge and the course material. The interest was there, and that's what kept me going. But as for a "premed" program, I wouldn't recommend it (or other engineering programs for that matter), primarily because there are much easier undergraduate paths toward medicine, both marks-wise and lifestyle-wise. Eng Sci prepared me for a research career in the physical/applied sciences, but I am entering med school now after completing my PhD in biomedical engineering... So, if you don't mind a long, winding road, do as I did, but if you want a shorter, more direct route, don't do engineering, unless that is where your passion lies. As a caveat, I think the analytical and logical skills you pick up in engineering are great for a career in medicine - especially if research and/or technology development are future goals, but be prepared for a taxing journey.

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I think if that's where your interests are and you're reasonably confidant you can do well, go for it. It WILL take more work on your part, so you'll have to assess whether you're interested enough in it to make the extra effort. By numbers it will either not matter or put you at a slight disadvantage with most schools, but (disclaimer: I have not had a med interview) from what friends have told me it can help in interviews because you have some unique interests to talk about.

 

I'm an ECE major myself and I love it. While yes, my workload is somewhat higher than friends in sciences, it's also led to a lot of great opportunities. Co-op has lots of interesting placements (also, engineering positions at BC Cancer Agency, for example, are way less competitive than science ones...), and undergraduate research positions are plentiful. Through group project work I've learned a lot of communication, and I've gained a lot of critical thinking skills just due to the fact that engineering is a lot about applying knowledge to real world problems (like med!).

 

One thing to note is that in upper year classes, I find my engineering classes much less competitive to score in the top percentiles in vs. the couple upper year sciences courses I've taken. Fewer pre-meds helps (it's true!), but also just because it's a professional degree, many are happy to cruise along just passing with C+'s. It sounds super corny, but I've found there's a lot more comradery/"good" competition in engineering classes compared to the "petty" competition I sometimes see in sciences.

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I'm going into my 4th year of Electrical Engineering - Biomedical Signals and Systems Option at Western. I chose engineering out of high school because I wasn't sure what exactly I wanted to do yet at that point, and then was drawn towards the biomedical side of things as my interest in that area grew throughout my undergrad. I'm now stuck deciding what happens next - I want to go to medical school but never took my MCATs during undergrad, so I'll either be taking a year off or getting a Master's after this year.

 

I do know several other people (besides myself) who are also planning on doing med school after engineering. It's not impossible, but be warned that the work load during undergrad is quite heavy and generally not ideal as "pre-med" material - it would probably be more beneficial to take courses that would directly help you in some way. I haven't touched the basic sciences since 1st year (and even then it was just a very brief encounter with Physics and Chem), so I'll have some obstacles to overcome in doing well on my MCATs.

 

But, as has been said - the problem-solving and analytical skills you learn doing engineering would likely help a lot in a medical career. But you should really take whichever degree you would find most interesting. If you really like engineering, don't let the fact that it's "hard" deter you from doing it! If you're passionate about it, it'll be easy to work hard and do really well.

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There's another point that I feel I should elaborate on. With regard to attaining high marks in engineering vs. general arts/science, the averages in the arts and science tend to be lower (around a C or C- at U of T) compared to engineering (generally around a B-). However, in my experience, I found it much more difficult to attain a high mark in engineering than in my elective and prerequisite courses in arts and science. Why? One reason is the difficulty of the course material and exams. In arts and science, a lot of the exams are multiple choice (at least in life sciences), whereas in engineering, the format is generally problem-solving/long answer, which typically involves a substantial design problem or calculation problem. An arts and science exam might have 100 multiple-choice questions and a few short-answer questions, while an engineering exam might have 4 or 5 questions that each take about twenty-minutes to a half hour to complete. The second reason (and principal reason I think) is the variance in the distribution of students in terms of aptitude is greater in arts and science than in engineering. A lot of engineering programs have entrance cutoffs in the mid-eighties or low nineties, meaning your classmates will be more homogeneous in terms of academic capabilities. Therefore, distinguishing yourself academically from your peers is harder than in arts and science, where you get a mix of very strong students but also very weak students, which tends to balance things out, and makes earning an 'A' a bit easier.

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Generally I have found that in engineering it is less difficult to obtain A's because there is less competition as there are far fewer premeds in Engineering then in the sciences.You still have to work very hard to obtain good marks - probably harder then in arts and science, however if you put in the work it pays off more than say in the sciences. Most engineering students want to cruise through their U.G. with satisfactory marks just to get their professional degree. For those who do wish to do well, mostly it is because they either want to obtain a graduate degree, or they are premed. Also, co-op offers a diverse introduction to a wide variety of career opportunities which can lead to something interesting to talk about on an ABS or in the interview. Finally I feel that the atmosphere of and engineering U.G. to be a lot better. There is a lot of camaraderie among my fellow engineering students and we always work together to solve giant problems which is really fun, we really are a tight knit group, similar to med school.

 

Cheers

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