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Back to school for B.S. in Biology?

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Back to school for B.S. in Biology?

Postby Jzen » Fri May 01, 2009 12:48 am

Hi everyone. Just discovered this forum and it seems like a great place!

I'm seriously considering going back to college for a bio degree. To start things rolling I signed up for a prereq chem course this fall.

I already have a B.S. in Management Information Systems. I got started with college late and finished that degree at 27. Almost 2 years later, and I've grown very dissatisfied. I never was passionate about my major. It just seemed practical, and friends and family pushed me to hurry and get a degree. The job I got after graduating was boring and terrible, but it paid my bills....barely. Now due to recent funding cuts, I'm losing that job in a couple months.

So I want to go back to school to pursue something I'll enjoy. Part of me really wants to go back, like it's now or never. But another part of me is hesitant. I'd have to take out MORE student loans and wouldn't finish until I'm in my early 30s(I would have to go part-time). Then what? Grad school? Try to find an entry level job in my 30s? Could work out great, or not.

Any thoughts?
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Postby alextemplet » Fri May 01, 2009 4:11 am

I think the best thing is to follow what you'll enjoy. Sure there might be some difficulties, but in the end you'll be happier, and that's what matters.
Generally speaking, the more people talk about "being saved," the further away they actually are from true salvation.

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Postby Darby » Fri May 01, 2009 5:43 pm

It's tough to have much of a career without a graduate degree, and even then it usually has to be a PhD.

But graduate school usually won't add to your debt - most places will pay you a pittance and cover your tuition for teaching or research assistantships. It will take a while, though.
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Re: Back to school for B.S. in Biology?

Postby jonmoulton » Fri May 01, 2009 6:40 pm

If you find you like the chem, stay with it. I did a BS bio and BA chem, which didn't take much longer since the programs involved many of the same prerequisites. Having the chem degree made me more employable, made entry into grad school easier and was a great background for my dissertation work (in biology). It also gave me better standing in the eyes of my current boss in the biotech industry. A good background in chemistry is the best edge you can give yourself as a biologist, and as you come from a quantitative educational background you'll have an advantage in chem classes.

Good luck!
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Postby Jzen » Sat May 09, 2009 4:38 am

Thanks for the replies everyone!

jonmoulton, I like the idea of getting the BA chem. There is a lot of overlap between the chem and bio degrees at my university. They also offer a BA in chem with biochemistry emphasis, which overlaps even more. I'll look into the possibility of doing the double major, or at least a minor in chem. It could also work out well schedule wise: I'll need to get some more work and if I get another 9-5 job the chemistry dept offers many more night classes than the biology dept(which offers barely any evening courses). So I can work full time while getting a lot of the chem courses done and then figure out later how to fit more of the advanced bio classes in my schedule.
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Postby Sepals » Mon May 11, 2009 11:24 am

You could research into if there are master degrees in biology which accept your BSc. Such as bioinformatics, for which a sound background in programming would be an advantage. MScs are shorter and will result in a higher qualification, which could improve job proscepts.

Alternatively you could look out for low level techinican jobs in biology, which don't always require a degree (although you could be up against biology grads in the application process). Some companies will fund people in such positions to take degrees in studies relevant to their work, such as mine, which is Thermo Fisher, so you could look them up and see if there's any such vacancies in the US. :)
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Re:

Postby Sepals » Mon May 11, 2009 11:30 am

Darby wrote:It's tough to have much of a career without a graduate degree, and even then it usually has to be a PhD.

But graduate school usually won't add to your debt - most places will pay you a pittance and cover your tuition for teaching or research assistantships. It will take a while, though.
Huh? That's not true. I don't have a PhD, my highest qualification is an MSc and I'm going to start a research project in a few months time (not a PhD). It's out there, you just got to look for it and go for it!

I'm in great debt from taking a master. You're referring to a PhD. I don't know how it works for masters in the US, but here I had to take out a loan and pay back £180 a mouth, which sucks, but it's been worth it. :mrgreen:

Edit: There are also careers in industry, which often don't specify a postgraduate degree.
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Postby mcar » Tue May 12, 2009 3:43 am

Good luck Jzen, it's never too late for such a good career in Bio.
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Postby midnovembermish » Thu May 14, 2009 1:51 am

Good Luck Jzen...I'm 26 with a BS in Astronomy and Physics and I was thinking about getting an MS in Chemistry and Biology but it may be best to go back to get a BS in Chemistry or Biology first, since I have no background in Chem or Bio.
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Re: Back to school for B.S. in Biology?

Postby narayan » Fri May 15, 2009 7:51 am

no. they are looking for all sorts of different backgrounds in medical school. the b.s. and the b.a. just determines what kind of classes you took. its kinda like applying to college. the recruiters (if you want to call them that) are looking at the overall candidate, not just one thing
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