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What is the best major to pursue as an undergrad who wants to become a medical research scientist?

Kimwater0303Kimwater0303 2 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
edited September 2 in Science Majors
So I’m a rising senior and I’m currently debating about what major I should pursue in college, considering I want to become a medical research scientist. Im interested in research topics such as Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and AIDS. Any recommendations for a major that would fully prepare me if I want to investigate in any of those fields of studies in the future?
Also, any suggestions for good schools that provide incredible internship/research opportunities in the medical field?


edited September 2
11 replies
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Replies to: What is the best major to pursue as an undergrad who wants to become a medical research scientist?

  • cypresspatcypresspat 328 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    Biochemistry. Microbiology. Genetics.
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  • CU123CU123 3580 replies68 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Just so you know a lot of research scientists have gone on to med school and are also doctors.
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  • MACmiracleMACmiracle 1520 replies28 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Biomedical engineering
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  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer 1065 replies3 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Biochemistry. Microbiology. Genetics, and Biomedical Engineering are all valid approaches to progress into the fields of medical research.. When considering BS level research positions, BM has the best employment opportunities, but 1/3 generally go to Med school while another 1/3 go on the BM graduate schools. BM is also involved in the application of robotics to medical instrumentation. I have two nieces with your same interests. Both majored biology and genetics at two different Universities (MIT and Case Western). One's dream was to have their own research laboratory after her PhD studies. Graduate students told her it would take ten years of low wages after her PhD to build up to her own lab. She took her BS and went on to law school and is doing very well applying her bio background to law. Her sister did not want to leave her favorite interest, genetics, and hunted around for over two years until she could find the appropriate laboratory work to build her resume for some very new and specialized genetics graduate programs.

    For more on BM, poke around this website: https://www.wpi.edu/academics/departments/biomedical-engineering. Johns Hopkins and Case Western are also very big in all of these areas
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 328 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    You want to work in a lab as a technician, or you want to be a scientist? The person who decides what research is being done? If the latter, the medical frontier is all about the ‘micro’ guys. Advances are at the molecular level. At the undergraduate level, biochemistry, microbiology, etc. At the undergraduate level, any solid biology or chemistry program is fine. Do great and go to a top notch research university specializing the the sub discipline which turns you on the most. As a bio major you will learn about disciplines you haven’t even heard of yet. Your senior year in college is when you need to worry about that. Right now get a solid core education in biology, chemistry, physics and math. That matters more to grad schools than having any specific major at the undergrad level. You have a solid 10 years of education ahead of you if your intent is to be an impact player in the world of medical research. Go for it. Is a great world of work.
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  • NorthernMom61NorthernMom61 4179 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My daughter just graduated last May with an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering. Her goal was to go to graduate school from the start and she went right to her first lab rotation for her PhD program in BME about three weeks after graduating. She just started classes a couple weeks ago and is taking a course with first year medical students. Since starting her rotation at the end of last May she has been involved in a such a variety of tasks in her lab rotation to include designing an apparatus for her project, designing a camera system to go with it, computer programing, learning to train and work with the research subjects, reading and writing the background and methods for a research article, presentations, and participating in lab meetings just to name a few. The research they are doing is relevant to a number of diseases and also space research. If you are interested in this type of stimulating work, lots of problem solving, and LOTS of teamwork, then BME might be for you.
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  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer 1065 replies3 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 3
    The student discussed above is pursuing her PhD at one of the very finest BM programs in the world. Her undergraduate work was completed at one of the fine Universities already cited above. They are very fine Universities. Look around for what fits you. Make sure they offer YOUR range of possible options.
    edited September 3
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  • Kimwater0303Kimwater0303 2 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    When you say "BM", are you referring to Biomedical Science or Bachelor of Medicine?
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  • Kimwater0303Kimwater0303 2 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    edited September 3
    Also, what are some of the best public universities for medical research opportunities that provide excellent science programs, especially in Biochemistry?
    edited September 3
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  • NorthernMom61NorthernMom61 4179 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think they were referring to Biomedical Engineering. I think there are a high number of public universities that offer medical research opportunities, and biochemistry is going to be offered a a high number of schools because it will typically fall under the college of arts and sciences. You may want to start in your own state for affordability sake and start with universities that also have medical schools.
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  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer 1065 replies3 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Kimwater0303
    Yes, I meant Biomedical Engineering by BM, and yes, "You may want to start in your own state for affordability sake." I should have said BME for clarity.
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