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Pchem important for biochemistry, molecular bio, neurochemistry?

Richard S. Norman rnorman at umich.edu
Sat Dec 7 22:59:48 EST 2002

On Sat, 07 Dec 2002 21:36:08 GMT, jpfield at attbi.com wrote:

>In article <gf44vuokvmtjpm6h8lvqiqm88frq8a2c03 at 4ax.com>,
> Richard S. Norman <rnorman at umich.edu> wrote:
>> On Sat, 07 Dec 2002 03:46:51 GMT, jpfield at attbi.com wrote:
>> >Hi, I am an undergrad student with a limited number of science courses 
>> >that i can take. Physical chemistry doesn't really excite me that much, 
>> >but I do want to take it if it's useful to the above mentioned fields. 
>> >Is it? How useful? I am looking to get a whole bunch of opinions and the 
>> >whys and why nots.
>> >
>> >Thanks for your input.
>> The fields you describe, biochem, molecular biology, and
>> neurochemistry, all would benefit from a PChem background.  On
>> our campus (U. Mich - Dearborn), a BS in biochemistry requires
>> PCham.  A BS in Biology does not.  If you don't get it as an
>> undergraduate you may need it as a grad student.  Even if you
>> do have it as an undergrad, you may still need a more advanced
>> course in it as a grad student. You will be taking courses
>> where the PChem would be a useful background.
>> On the other hand, there definitely are subspecialties in those areas
>> where you could manage perfectly well without PChem.
>> What are you majoring in?  What graduate programs do you intend
>> to consider? The grad program in Biochem at UMich specifies 
>> "Applicants should have completed course work in general, analytical,
>> and organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, and calculus.
>> Undergraduate coursework in physical chemistry, molecular and cellular
>> biology, and genetics is recommended. The faculty are particularly
>> interested in students with significant undergraduate or postgraduate
>> research experience"  Other schools are probably similar.
>oops, Im using someone elses computer and when I changed the settings it 
>didn't save, so the above person (jpfield at attbi.com) is really me.
>Anyway I plan on going to grad school to study human biology on a very 
>small scale (from the celluar level to the molecular level) and Im 
>mostly sure it will be to study some aspect of neuroscience. It sounds 
>like I should take Pchem to keep my options open, but I also really want 
>to take as many neuroscience courses as possible so I can really see if 
>I like it before I commit myself to a grad program.

Frankly, for an undergraduate, "as many neuroscience courses as
possible" is ordinarily one. Considering that you specify "biochem,
mol biol, and neurochem" as you area of interest, you absolutely need
a solid biochemistry background, plus courses in molecular biology and
cell biology.  A good general course in physiology would help.
Depending on your undergraduate major, you would do well also to take
things like quant and analytical chemistry and p-chem if you are a
biochem major.  Genetics and developmental biology would also be

What have you taken alrady and what are the degree requirements for
your program?  Have you spoken with any advisers in your department?
Have you spoken with any neurobiologists in your department? Those are
the first places to go.

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