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Not sure if I am where I should be

Richard Norman rsnorman at mediaone.net
Tue May 1 14:42:54 EST 2001

<ograb at usa.net.nospam.actually_I_never_check_this_account_so_please_reply_in
_newsgroup> wrote in message news:3aef0725$1 at addressworks2.umassd.edu...
> I'm in my first year as a medical lab science major.  I've had two years
> previous of computer science at the college level.  I'm thinking of
> my major back to CS so I can get to medical school one year quicker.  I
> to be involved in neurological research.  Brain surgery would be fun but
> it's not a goal that's set in stone.  Am I on the right track?  Should I
> stick with MLS or change to back to CS?  I know I can get a research
> position if I graduate MLS, but I'm not sure if I should get the neurology
> training at the graduate level in med school.  Any advice is warmly
> welcomed.
> thank you
> Adam Ograbisz

You don't indicate what country you are in -- that can make a
big difference.

US Medical schools do not require any particular undergraduate
degree.  But you do have to take certain courses (like Organic
and General Chemistry, Physics, Biology).  So you could well
continue in the CS program.  You really should talk to a
pre-med advisor wherever you are to see your options.

You also have to decide what you really want to do.  If it is
really medicine or clinical research, you will need an M.D.
If laboratory research is really your goal, you would do better
at a traditional undergraduate degree.  I am not sure what
"medical lab science" really means.  That is, major in
Biology or Chem or Biochem or some similar area.  Then
get a Ph.D. in Physiology or Neurobiology or Biochem
or Pharmacology, or whatever.  Neurobiology is a tremendously
wide field, ranging from biochemistry and molecular biology
through development, genetics, and cell biology, to "integrative"
neurobiology and animal behavior.  All these in academic settings
for which the M.D. is not useful or required.  For non-academic
jobs, the more biochemical and molecular biological areas
are good entrees.  You can also pursue either pure or clinical
research as an M.D. in departments associated with medical
schools and hospitals.

You also have to consider the very likely possibility that you
won't get admitted to medical school.  Then what would you
do?  With a degree in CS you are certainly not going to
go hungry!

But medical schools also want to see something special
about their applicants -- more than just taking courses and
getting good grades (and good MCAT scores).  Lots of people
do that.  Do you have the opportunity to work in a research
lab as an undergraduate?  That can be very important.  Do
you have any experience working with people or working in
a clinical setting?  What have you done to challenge yourself,
or are you just taking a "standard" course program -- the
minimum to fulfill all the requirements?

Incidentally, I am a biologist/physiologist) at Univ. Mich. - Dearborn.
We have an undergraduate degree program in liberal arts and
sciences and I regularly advise students about exactly this
type of question.

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