Chemical Engineering vs Public health for med-school

Hi! I am a rising senior starting to think about applying to college but I am confused on what I want to major in. I know that I want to go to med school and that I can major in almost anything for that. I thought since I’m interested in health, public health is an obvious option but I am not sure how the job prospects are for a public health major in case med school doesn’t work out. I also had biomedical engineering on my list for majors but I had to scratch that out because apparently it’s very difficult to find jobs in that field, and I am worried the same might be true for public health. I am also considering chemical engineering (probably at UT Austin). My main concern having a backup plan – being able to get a job with good earnings if I am not able to get into med school. Which major would be better suited for that? Are there any problems with finding jobs for either of these majors?

Also, which one would look better for med-school? I know med schools are inundated with applications from biology, chemistry and other science majors, so would engineering give me a leg up since public health is also more of a science major?

Thanks in advance! And just for a better perspective, I am from Texas and will most probably be looking instate.

One big reason a lot of premeds aren’t in engineering is because it is more difficult to get the needed GPA for med school.

I think it is great that you are considering your major not only for what will be the best for getting into med school, but what would be a good back up plan if you change your mind and decide med schools not what you want to do.

My daughter will be a junior in college this year and came up with the same plan when she was in her senior year of high school. She went with the biomedical engineering major. She has had 3 different internship jobs at research labs (1 the summer of freshman year, 2nd during school of sophomore year and 3rd currently this summer) so she has had no problem finding a job and has actually turned down several internships. So she feels pretty confident that she will be able to find a job if the med school option doesn’t work for her. She will tell you that engineering is a very rigorous track and you have to work hard to keep up your GPA if you are going to apply to med school, but that will look good on your application compared to other students who took an “easier” major. Plus she hopes it might help her some with the rigor of med school. Chemical engineering would also probably be a god option as far as a applying to med school or getting a job after undergrad.

Unfortunately I don’t know much about public health as a major so I can’t really give you any advice on that.

Good luck with your decision and with your senior year!

Thank you! that was very helpful. I have actually decided against public health but I was considering biochemistry. Do you have any opinion on that? I know that it is challenging, but definitely not as much as engineering and that a lot of med school applicants major in biochem, which might make it difficult to stand out.

Biochemistry or biology will be more convenient, since pre-med course work is mostly included in the major. However, it is a common major, so expect major-specific job markets to be highly competitive if you do not get into medical school.