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Upper div biology satisfying one year of general bio?

DistressStudentDistressStudent Posts: 264Registered User Junior Member
edited November 2012 in Pre-Med Topics
Most, if not all, medical school require at least one year of biology. However, do a lot of medical school stress on one year of general biology rather than just one year of biology? My question is if I can use my upper division biology courses to satisfy that requirement because at my school I am exempt from taking the one year of lower div bio.
Post edited by DistressStudent on
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Replies to: Upper div biology satisfying one year of general bio?

  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown Posts: 5,260Registered User Senior Member
    it's one year of biology, so yes, many students do exactly what you're describing (myself included)
  • plumazulplumazul Posts: 1,592Registered User Senior Member
    DS, I will not take any intro/general versions of the med school prerequisites. My transcript will consist mostly of upper division and grad courses(taken for ug credit). Every adviser, adcom/admin that I've discussed this with has said it was great. IMO, this is what we should be doing in college. Intro chem/bio/physics/calculus etc. are really just high school courses taught in college. If you know them well enough to do well on the MCAT, and your ug institution is awarding you credit/placement, then by all means, avoid them.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Posts: 13,939Registered User Senior Member
    OP, contact adcoms of Med. School on your list. There will be no guessing games, they are helpful and answer very quickly. My D. has done it with all her questions in regard to pre-reqs.
  • somemomsomemom Posts: 9,330Registered User Senior Member
    I agree, my Dd skipped the intro bio courses and did upper division work, more fun, more interesting, less of a weeder class, all around a good thing for her.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Posts: 13,939Registered User Senior Member
    At some schools, intro is absolute must, and only pre-med advisor can tell that about your school/major. Sometime, intro is a huge shocker, weed out killer and it is a good thing, then you know earlier if you are up to it or not. Some intro Bio classes go thru AO material in 2 weeks and then they move on to provide background for upper Bio classes. If program constructed like that, you are in trouble if decided to skip intro Bio. So. I would talk to pre-med advisor and Med. Schools' adcoms.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Posts: 13,939Registered User Senior Member
    ^Typo by "AO", I meant "AP", I cannot spell/type, sorry.
  • mcat2mcat2 Posts: 3,910Registered User Senior Member
    OP, Still need one year of bio lab though. Some upper-division bio does not include lab. So you need to take those with the attached lab component, or take a "lab only" course.

    On the other hand, if you are a bio major, this is usually not a problem, as your bio department requires you to take enough bio labs just to fulfill their major's graduation requirement. Most of these kinds of upper-division labs are to prepare you for a PhD program, e.g., really polished your lab techniques as a researcher.
  • DistressStudentDistressStudent Posts: 264Registered User Junior Member
    Thanks for the help. My school don't attach their bio lab to their lower div general bio; so I would have to take the lab courses separate regardless. Now I can safely enroll in my upper div bio classes without worries.
  • mcat2mcat2 Posts: 3,910Registered User Senior Member
    OP, A few years ago, there was a rumor that a particular med school in California might like to see how well the students perform in introductory science classes. But this is only a rumor so I could not verify its correctness. Nevertheless, you must be aware that maybe med schools in Califirnia tend to be particularly picky about anything. But most CCers (including all or most on this thread) try to avoid applying to California med schools at all cost. Who in his sound mind wants to deal with the "nasty" California med school admission anyway (well too "crowed")?!

    Another point is that the grade of any "pure" graduate school level courses is counted in another (less important) category (may not be included in your UG GPA) when you apply to med schools. At least this was what DS's premed committtee/advisor asked their premeds to do at his school in his year) So it is better not to load up too many graduate-level courses in 3 or 4 years. Of course, if you are going to a a research scientist MD, e.g., in a MD/PhD program, this may be a different story.

    I am fully aware that many freshmen want to avoid taking the introductory science classes as much as they can, especially the intro bio one. Several years ago, even at a prestigious private school like Harvard College, there were about 600 hundreds students took the same intro bio classes. It looks so bad that I heard the schools decided to divide it up to several tracks. In a sense, once you have decided to be a premed, you forfeit your privilege of being in a small science class, at least in your first couple of years in college, no matter where you go to college. (Paying big $ for a private college education could only alleviate this problem a little bit.)
  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown Posts: 5,260Registered User Senior Member
    I obviously don't know anything but I refuse to believe that any school would prefer to see intro courses over advanced. Do I think they are impressed by advanced? No, but the thought of an admissions officer saying "I know the kid succeeded in all these advanced bio classes, but what I would feel more confident in his abilities if I knew his performance in the intro course," just seems so backwards.
  • mcat2mcat2 Posts: 3,910Registered User Senior Member
    i_wanna_to_be_Brown,

    I found it might be odd also if this is indeed true.The story I heard was at SDN, where one graduate student who had more graduate or upper-division credits was complaining that some med school in California asked him to take some introductory science classes (He was actually a TA for such an introductory science class.) Maybe med school adcom even complained about the "quality" of his core education requirement, e.g., he might have APed out too many core education classes to adequately demonstrate his well-roundness. Who knows! Maybe even he was an FOB (it is quite possible as more students from overseas are in tyhe science graduate program.) and did not take enough UG classess in a US based college. This is a single data point. It could be not true.

    With this said, I remember that BDM one said if a premed has a less than desireable BCPM GPA, it is usually it is caused by the grades in his/her introductory science classes, not by his/her upper-division science classes. For the grades in graduate-level classes, it is often said they are completely in another "league."

    Some years ago, a guy from Stanford/ucsf wrote an article (with the word "myth" in the title of the article) to ask fellow premeds at top colleges to skirt around the regular premed classess as much as they can and starting from some seemingly "elective type" upper-division bio classes (e.g., never try those "bio core" series at Standard's required for its traditional bio degree. Instead, choosing human biology's series of required courses is a better way to go, etc.) so that you do not need to fight heads-to-heads against the strongest premed crowd. I do not know whether these days people still buy into his sneaky tricks. (Maybe the new fad is to not major in science or take "more than what they can handle" science classes at a pricy UG college, and then join a post-bacc program to finish up the science requirements.)
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 37,554Registered User Senior Member
    mcat2 wrote:
    Several years ago, even at a prestigious private school like Harvard College, there were about 600 hundreds students took the same intro bio classes. It looks so bad that I heard the schools decided to divide it up to several tracks.

    Any introductory course needed by popular major(s) will be large relative to others at the same school.

    Even when colleges split courses like physics, chemistry, and math into different tracks, the ones for biology majors and pre-meds tend to be large, due to the popularity of majoring in biology and doing pre-med. The other tracks are not necessarily small classes either, due to the courses being needed for other popular majors like engineering majors.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 37,554Registered User Senior Member
    mcat2 wrote:
    Some years ago, a guy from Stanford/ucsf wrote an article (with the word "myth" in the title of the article) to ask fellow premeds at top colleges to skirt around the regular premed classess as much as they can and starting from some seemingly "elective type" upper-division bio classes (e.g., never try those "bio core" series at Standard's required for its traditional bio degree. Instead, choosing human biology's series of required courses is a better way to go, etc.) so that you do not need to fight heads-to-heads against the strongest premed crowd. I do not know whether these days people still buy into his sneaky tricks.

    Perhaps you are referring to this?

    http://www.questscholars.org/oldstuff/activities/professional/pre-med_letter/premed-letter-2001-2-pdf.pdf
  • mcat2mcat2 Posts: 3,910Registered User Senior Member
    Yes, that's the article I referred to.

    I have probably painted a more negative point of view about this article than it really is. I do not know what it is exactly, but some points in the article make me somewhat uncomfortable, like it is OK to take some courses in community college, and to take the classes at an institute other than Stanford even though you are a student there, and to get 3.1 in freshman year and then boast about getting into every med school he applied to because of his unique "non-traditional" route and life experience. (Sorry, I really could not tell how unique that is.) I happen to know a close-to-4.0 student (with a comparable MCAT) at a comparable school who got in likely 10 percents of med schools he applied to. Go tell this student that he did not fare that well (i.e., getting into EVERY schoool he applied to) just because he did not take a 1-or-2-year break between his junior year and senior year -- Hmm...how convenient...the break from the regular classes happened to be the perfect time for preparing for and taking MCAT!
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Posts: 13,939Registered User Senior Member
    D's intro Bio was Honors class, which means that it was much smaller and it was taught by 3 profs simultaneusly at every lecture teaching their specialty. She said that there is no way she would have done well in upper division Bio classes, she took many of them including several neuro. She said that all of them were based on this first class. D. had both Honors and AP Bio (5 on exam) at her private prep HS and her Honors HS Bio was using the same textbook as her first college Bio. None of HS Bio was much help in this class, that went thru AP material in a first 2 weeks. So, it is important to talk to pre-med advisor, although at D's school, this class was very well known and many talked about it in D's Honors dorm even before classes began.
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