What subjects can I do with a biological sciences degree?

<p>I used to want to change majors at year 4 and get a double major in both biosci and chemical engineering but after talking to an actual chemical engineer about what the career means, and considering that 1-2 more years of school for a mere bachelors and having to pay for it, it's too much. But getting a job with biosci B.S. means washing glassware and slaving away for near minimum wage.</p>

<p>So now what? I'm at year 4, 2 classes away from graduation, with no hope for this degree other than grad school. What should I do? I don't want to do molecular biology specifically since I think it is far too theoretical and useless, but rather something very applied that can get me a high paying job with just a masters but with the option of getting a PhD for more research. Right now I'm considering 3 options:</p>

<p>Go into Biomedical Engineering (tissue engineering/biomolecular engineering track, since I don't have instrumentation background) after taking 2 math classes to fill prereqs. Haven't talked to a biomedical engineer yet, would the job be similar to chemical engineering?</p>

<p>Go into Chemistry (medicinal, focused on organic synthesis) after taking an extra P-Chem class and 2 organic synthesis classes. I've talked to an organic chemist, it doesn't seem that bad and the wages seem pretty high.</p>

<p>Keep going in straight biology, but focused on something applied, like Microbiology at Rutgers. This seems like it won't need me to take additional classes, but I'm very worried about the low wages I'm seeing for positions other than executive/director/chief scientist level jobs in biotech.</p>

<p>"But getting a job with biosci B.S. means washing glassware and slaving away for near minimum wage."</p>

<p>This is news to me. I worked in industry (biotech) for a couple of years after college, then worked as a lab tech in academia for a couple of years after that. In that time, I bought a house and three (admittedly crappy) cars, paid for a wedding, two cross country moves, started a retirement account. I presented at conferences, published articles, took graduate courses, helped start a company and many other worthwhile non-dishwashing related pursuits. So you see, the pay isn't bad nor are you relegated to dishwashing.</p>

<p>"I don't want to do molecular biology specifically since I think it is far too theoretical and useless"
You can't honestly be serious. Molecular biology is central to agriculture, high tech manufacturing, consumer products, healthcare. Molecular biology makes possible the food you buy at a grocery, the medicine you take when you become ill etc. Molecular biology is an applied science as well as a set of research topics.</p>

<p>You might want to consider that grad students (Phd) in the sciences are paid only a bit less than entry level scientists and lab techs.</p>

<p>It really doesn't seem too applied after taking 3 years of it. Signal transduction in mammalian cells and cancer genetics, for example, are examples of molecular biology upper division classes I've taken that are far from application and are memorization/theory heavy. There is no job that requires you to know this knowledge, in fact even cancer or signal transduction research does not require it - you can look this "memorized" knowledge up any time therefore it's worthless.</p>

<p>Yes, theoretically, molecular biology does everything you said it does, but the ones who actually do it seem to be the PhDs(with postdoc experience required!). And many of the PhDs in biotech are not molecular biologists, they're chemists or chemical/environmental engineers. At the B.S. level it seems, again, that chemists and engineers have a significant advantage over actual biologists. Everyone just picks a few techniques from molecular biology without deep understanding necessary. This is from a quick google search, maybe I don't look hard enough.</p>

<p>Anyhow, what would you recommend? Since you worked in biotech, maybe you can point out some classes I should take to perhaps "see" the applied nature of molecular biology? You're the expert.</p>

<p>"You're the expert"
The expert is somebody at your universities advising facility UCI</a> Bio Sci Student Affairs I am one of the tens of thousands of scientists who work[ed] in biotech in this country. I see that your biological sciences group at Irvine has 8 "academic counselors" for undergraduate advising on staff. These people may be able to offer you a more complete view of the biotech industry in specific and the multitud of job opportunities in science in general. Less than a third of biological scientists have a Phd. If you are looking for resources to learn more about careers in science, I would suggest you look into the scientist's career site Science</a> Careers: Articles and additional resources : The Scientist Careers science aaas career site Science</a> Careers, from the Journal Science - Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Faculty, Postdoc jobs on Science Careers nature's career site Science</a> job recruiters : Latest Science positions : Nature Jobs and for general career information, the bureau of labor statistics Biological</a> Scientists </p>

<p>I don't know why you think that so many researchers in biotech have backgrounds in chemistry or engineering. This is just one of the many ways that people can enter the field. Btw, people from other disciplines enter the field precisely because it is such an attractive field for a career.</p>

<p>If I were doing my last year of undergrad again, I might take a course in statistics or perhaps a course in genomics. More importantly, in your position, I would want to find a lab to join so that I have practical experience and good recommendations. You certainly won't find a company or professor willing to sponsor you for a visa, much less hire you, without a positive recommendation from a research supervisor.</p>

<p>Thanks. I'll look into those websites and classes. I already talked to the counselors before, I think they're incompetent.</p>

<p>You might find if you stay in this country for longer than three years that people who you regard as "incompetent" and careers you find to be "worthless", are not as bad as you make them out to be. The median salary in the country is something like 40K per year and the careers you point to as being "worthless" pay more than the median. I hope you will have a better attitude towards people and their pursuits as you finish college and continue onto future endeavors.</p>

<p>since i don't plan on staying longer than it takes to complete my degree, i'll be happy to continue in speaking as i see fit. thanks for your advice.</p>