The obvious choice would be to go straight into a Biology major. However, I liked the more specialized majors for Cellular and Molecular Biology like CMB and MCDB. I’ve heard people tell me to stay away from the latter majors mentioned because the coursework junior/senior year evaporates your GPA…and that is not cool for Med schools. However, the coursework would lend to being better prepared for grad school in the natural sciences. Checking with Atlas, I find that B.S. degrees in Cellular and Molecular Biology are actually more popular than those in Biology/Biophysics/Biochem.
I’m just wondering…for a person who is intent on going to medical school, would a biology major be more useful than CMB or MCDB? (in terms of practical knowledge gained…not in terms of increasing chances to get into a med school). My goal is to become a practicing physician, not a researcher or professor.
Hi Brian! I would say that both the biology major and the CMB/MCDB major are equally useful for going to medical school. This is partly due to the fact that either way, you would have to take medical school prerequisite courses which will be most impactful for setting you up for the future. That being said, there are ups and downs for both majors that should be taken into consideration, such as CMB/MCDB going super in depth in the cellular components. So, if you’re into that, great! That may be the major for you. I will say that as you progress to upper level courses, both of them will have challenging and heavily loaded classes–it just depends on what interests you and what you are willing to put the time and energy into. If you’re choosing between the two majors, it may be helpful to think about whether you want to get a more “big picture” view of biology that offers an opportunity to gain a breadth of knowledge, or a more focused, detailed understanding of cells and their molecular function. Objectively, neither would give an overall advantage or disadvantage for medical school.
If you’re having difficulty deciding on a major, I would check out the “How to Choose a Major” blog post. It can provide some insight on people’s experiences with different majors, why they chose it, and why they think it’s fit for them. If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out again!
Elizabeth, PMH advisor