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10 Reasons to major in Biological Sciences if you are planning a medical career

What major should you choose if you hope to attend a school of medicine dentistry, optometry or veterinary medicine? Health professions schools do not prefer one major to another. In fact schools of medicine, dentistry, optometry, and veterinary medicine like to admit students from many different majors. Medical, Dental, Optometry, and Veterinary programs want students who are passionate about learning and have excellent grades. One way to insure that you will be passionate about your studies is to select a major that is intensely interesting to you. For those of you who are interested in studying Biology the following are some good reasons to a major in Biology at Purdue University.

1. Excellent Academic Preparation

Students who major in Biological Sciences are well prepared for a rigorous medical, dental, or veterinary school curriculum. Not only are Biology majors accustomed to managing their time and mastering complex material but most of what first and second year medical, dental or veterinary students learn has a biological basis. Students studying to become health care providers study microbiology, histology, immunology, endocrinology, anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. A student who majors in Biological Sciences will take many of these subjects at the undergraduate level.

2. Outstanding Faculty

The relationship between faculty and students is vital to students who hope to attend medical, dental or veterinary schools for many reasons. As a Biological Sciences major several courses (including some of your entry-level courses) will be taught by award-winning faculty. You will have the opportunity to hear lectures from and conduct research under scientists who are known throughout the world. Each student is also assigned a faculty advisor to assist with career and academic concerns.

3. Strong Career Outlook

Biological Sciences graduates are highly sought after as candidates for medical school, dental school and veterinary medical school. In the past four years 68 Biology majors have received 89 acceptances to 28 medical schools. These medical schools include Case Western, Cincinnati, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Indiana, Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Mayo, Northwestern, University of Chicago, Michigan, Pennsylvania, of Pittsburgh, and Washington University (St. Louis).

Each year several Biology majors are accepted to Dental school. Recent Biology graduates have chosen to attend the following Dental Schools: Indiana, Illinois, Louisville, Ohio State, University of Michigan Minnesota, New York University and Texas.

Many Biology majors attend Veterinary Medical School after graduation. Biology majors have recently been admitted to Veterinary School at Illinois, Iowa State, Missouri, Ohio State, Purdue, and Wisconsin.

If your plans for a health career change, the job market for individuals with an understanding of Biology (e.g. biotechnology and genetics) is strong. Biology majors have mastered concepts of Biology, Genetics, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics, as well as Foreign Language, Humanities and Social Sciences; and they are in demand in the job market. For example, recent graduates from the Department of Biological Sciences have accepted jobs in research, management, and sales with companies such as Abbott Laboratories, Merck, Eli Lilly, Pharmacia, Sigma Chemical, Dow Elanco, Procter and Gamble, Dupont, Sigma-Aldrich, DeKalb Genetics, and Ball Horticultural.

Biology graduates are also excellent candidates for employment with parks and state and federal agencies. Since 1998 graduates have accepted positions with the following: Indiana Department of Environmental Management, National Institutes of Health, National Park Service, Philadelphia Zoo, Tennessee Valley Authority, Shedd Aquarium, Peace Corps, National Park Service, University of Chicago, University of Chicago Hospital, University of Maine, Northwestern University Hospital, and Indiana University.

4. Opportunities for Research

During the 2006 academic year, over 100 of our undergraduate students were enrolled in independent research courses with faculty in our Department and across campus.

Biology majors have the opportunity to participate in world-class scientific research taking place within the Department of Biological Sciences. Students may join laboratories studying cancer, genetics, spinal cord injuries, food safety, viruses, brain development and many more.

19 undergraduates participated in intensive research projects supported by our grant for undergraduate education from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Several of our students received summer internships with our industrial partners, including Merck, Pfizer, Paradigm, and Lilly.

5. Professional School Requirements are Included

Almost all of the courses needed for medical, dental, and veterinary school are included in the requirements for the Biology major. This means that a student will not be required to make adjustments to his or her major or add courses to a program of study in order to be prepared for medical school.

6. Easily Accessible Pre-Health Advising

The Health Professions Advising Office is located in the Department of Biological Sciences in Lilly Hall. Biology majors have easy access to the services of this office, which include: counseling, assistance with applications to graduate or health professional programs, seminars for health professional students, exam registration materials, and a recommendation service.

7. Peer Mentoring Program

A Peer mentoring program is available to incoming Freshmen Biology majors who plan to attend medical school. This program pairs a junior or senior premedical student with a freshman. The students attend monthly meetings and social activities as well as seminars designed to meet the needs of premedical students.

8. Expert Academic Advising

Of those students who apply to Health Professional schools each year approximately 60% are Biology majors. For this reason, the advisers who work with Biology majors are very familiar with the requirements of Health Professional schools. Your adviser and your instructors in the Biology Department will know how to advise you and how to prevent common mistakes. Your instructors will know what Health Professional schools desire in a letter of recommendation.

9. Customize Your Premedical Curriculum

Are you interested in genetics, viruses, microbiology, neurobiology, or biochemistry? If you hope to attend a health Professional school but would like to customize your undergraduate program you can choose among ten different specializations within the Biology department.

10. Small College Advantages in a Large University Setting

Whether it is our Freshman Orientation class, Sophomore Career Seminar, Premedical Planning Seminar, Major Finding Night, Scientific Career Planning Program, or Biology Resource Center, the Biology Department works to help students feel valued and connected to the Department. The counseling office and the Biology Resource Center are located in the midst of classrooms, faculty offices, and laboratories. We strive to make this big University feel like a personalized community of learning. Don’t take our word for it; Listen to what our former students have to say.

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