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Physics major vs Biology major

john6391john6391 Posts: 762Registered User Member
edited December 2008 in Parents Forum
First and foremost I want to go to Medical school. Now I have always done well in biology. Aced honors bio school unfortunately didnt offer AP Bio. I feel I could successfully major in bio and maintain a high enough GPA for medical school. I also find bio very interesting. Now for Physics. It is a new course for me. I just took it last year. I did pretty well, A- one semester B+ second semester. This course absolutely fascinated me. All Ive been able to think about is physics. Im out of Physics now but I cant stop reading up on Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, the Universe, etc. I have also been pretty good at math. Im in Pre Calc now opted not to take Calculus (it kinda scares me and I didnt feel ready though I had the option). So looking at it from a long term perspective im interested in Bio and will hopefully be able to do well enough for Med School. But Physics is fascinating but since im so new to the field i cant accurately gauge how i think i will perform especially when it moves to higher lvl courses. Now im not looking to make a decision right now but some input would be appreciated.
Post edited by john6391 on

Replies to: Physics major vs Biology major

  • casey75casey75 Posts: 110Registered User Junior Member
    You might want to find a career counselor who specializes in medical careers, maybe at a college you are interested in (or are you in college now?). Bio is probably considered the most common pre-med major, but it is not necessary to major in it. Physics may offer some advantages if you become interested in some of the technical aspects of medicine such high tech diagnostic equipment, etc. If you really fall in love with physics, it may lead you in a direction you had not anticipated. My son is planning on studying physics and astronomy in college. He is not sure what he will do with it, but knows that he is really facsinated by it, and spends time reading and exploring the subjects outside of school. If you follow your passoins, you will probably have the most success and enjoyment in your professional life.
  • PseudonymPseudonym Posts: 649Registered User Member
    Take intro bio and intro physics when you get to college--you have to anyway for med school. The only thing to watch out for if you're considering a physics major is that some schools have an easier physics class for non-physics and engineering majors, which won't suffice to take higher level stuff if you opt for that. A serious intro physics class should also have calc as a pre or co-req, so you'll have to factor that in as well. Once you're doing intro courses and are on track for either, you can figure out the rest.
  • DocTDocT Posts: 6,679Registered User Senior Member
    Unfortunately, an intro course in physics doesn't give you much in the way of determining whether you would like physics as a major. I wasn't particularly fond of intro physics - who cares what anybody did 300 years ago. It wasn't until quantum mechanics that things started getting interesting.
  • wis75wis75 Posts: 8,707Registered User Senior Member
    Plan to major in the field that most interests you, not just the one you do best in. Being premed is common but many or most students discover other interests in college or don't get the grades. To be most competitive for medical school you should be able to handle calculus based physics and a lot of chemistry. To major in physics you will need plenty of math. Eons ago I hated physics, majored in chemistry, liked some biology but the state of that field wasn't as interesting as now (too much classification then, now more chemistry based) and then went to medical school. I know of medical specialties where physics interest is an asset, and others where chemistry is, etc.

    You do not have to know your major when you start college. You do need to know the courses required for medical school admissions so you can most efficiently plan both premed and major courses. The biology courses are the least of your worries for medical school purposes (remember that they expect to teach you the material needed in medical school, they want you to have the math/physics/chemistry, not the anatomy and physiology, etc). Calculus plus chemistry first semester plus other courses to meet breadth reqs. Physics when you have enough math. Try to take the toughest courses and as many credits (ie not an easy load) to best prepare you for working hard and to present the best transcript when competing for a spot in a medical school, as well as to stretch yourself and learn the most. Doing the minimum won't be sufficient. I'm sure every college has suggested courses and when to take them available through their premed info.

    As a chemistry major I found a lot of physics in physical chemistry- enjoyed the QM, not the thermodynamics. I waited to take an honors biology sequence that required organic chemistry- be sure to check the options available to you at your particular college when deciding which biology courses to take, both for a major and for medical school. Try to be in an honors program to get the most out of your classes, also.
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