View Full Version : Engineering Major to Medical School?

08-14-2003, 10:07 PM
Ok, i know this is one of those really rare/random things, but i was considering becoming a pediatrician. i have always wanted to be a pediatrician, but after getting involved in FIRST i want to major in some aspect of engineering (either chemical or mechanical, i have yet to decide). Are there any more people with similar interests out there? And, can anyone give me some advice as to a)whether or not this is a GOOD idea? b) which aspect of engineering would best cater to my needs? or c)am i completely crazy for wanting to attempt this?

08-15-2003, 12:22 AM

I find this far less crazy than my getting a degree in English just to get out of school, only to find myself in school for another 5 years for a BS in engineering.

My advice would be to talk to a career counselor in the engineering and pre-med areas. They should be able to give you insight into ways to combine the two "worlds."

I would also check into specific aspects of engineering that would appeal to you and see if they have medical applications or vice-versa. For example, if you were interested in "rapid prototyping," you would find out that there are new materials that are being used to create "bones."

It all depends on what you really want to do in the field of pediatrics. Just don't let anybody tell you that you're crazy for wanting this combination. ;-)


Steve Shade
08-15-2003, 07:43 AM
I just graduated form the University of Maryland at College Park with a degree in Electrical Engineering. I know a few people who went into all different kinds of engineering that plan on or are attending medical school. Although I haven't done any research into what the entrance requirements are, pretty much the only classes that these people were missing was Biology and Organic Chemistry (depends on the major). Many of them actually feel as if engineering gives them a different outlook on the field since they have learned a different style of thinking than most of the Biology, Chemistry and other more traditional majors associated with medical school. If you want to try engineering and don't like it, you always have the option of going to medical school. If you find that you really want to work in engineering you can also do that too! One of the big areas where technology will continue to grow will be in health care, and there are many bio-med companies out there looking for engineers who have an interest in the way the body works.

Hope this helps some.


Ashley Weed
08-15-2003, 08:34 AM
I am heading off to college in a couple of weeks to major in Biomedical Engineering. I too am in the same position - since I was in third grade I wanted to go into Pathology, and that would require medical school. However, I fell in love with engineering through FIRST, and I don't want to give that aspect up. In result of working with one of my engineers, I found the path of Biomed.... in result - I will study 4 years in both bio and engineering... and then have the option of grad work in engineering and/or medical school.

08-15-2003, 07:49 PM
I have a good friend that has been part of the Chief Delphi team for the past few years. She (yes, I said she) has a Doctorate in Biomedical Engineering and she works for us at Delphi Safety and Interiors. Chantal is a big, big supporter of FIRST and has taken the lead in setting up numerous field trips to the Safety centers where crash tests are done. She has helped lead a number of our Chairman's award submissions.
I will see her on Monday and ask if she will review these requests and hopefully give you some of her insight on Engineering and the Medical profession. They really can and often do, go hand in hand. Stay tuned but please be patient as I think she might be heading towards europe and this might have to wait a couple weeks until she gets back. I see what I can do.

Meredith Rice
08-15-2003, 08:14 PM
I was visiting the University of Delaware recently and I talked to a graduated senior there who majored in Chem E and minored in Biomedical. She was a wonderful resource to me becuase I am interested in pursuing the same degree. She told me how she had always wanted to pursue her M.D. but she is working with Merck now before she goes to medical school just to keep her options open. I think it is a great idea. Engineering is a great way of thinking and tool for people of all professions. I am going to study chemical engineering rather than chemistry for this reason. I know I will have many options with and engineering degree and medical school is one of them.

08-15-2003, 08:58 PM
thanks to everyone so far for your great advice! :)

my only concern is if I have to take pre-med courses AS WELL as engineering courses might it take me 5 years to graduate rather than 4?

and also, i know that med school is tired of boring biology majors and the common sciences, so would this be a GOOD way to stand out? or would making the minumun 3.7 GPA be harder in engineering than any other major?

Ashley Weed
08-15-2003, 09:40 PM
ehh.. I actually plan on completing my BS in three years by going year around.. it's basically like I am taking engineering.. but getting the necissary bio classes for med school.

08-16-2003, 08:53 PM
I recently read an article in Popular Science magazine about the top 10 most brilliant people in the world. One of the things they mentioned in the article is that all new advances are being made on the borders of different fields. Combining biology with engineering and computer programming resulted in a small device that can report on a forest's rainfall, temperature, etc, remotely, and at extremely low cost. So by combining engineering and medicine, you may bring new and unique insights into the world that may help us all! Go for it!

08-18-2003, 02:30 AM
Your plans sound very cool and normal to me. I'm starting at U of Mich. this fall as a mechanical engineering major and I plan on going on to dental school. I eventually want to be an orthodontist so I figure the skills I learn working with my hands and the tools I use will carry over from engineering (yes, my orthodontist used a Dremel). Also, the physics and calculating forces will help alot too. Come to think of it, that could be useful when working on broken bones. I don't know what advice I can give class wise, but to make yourself stand out I suggest intering and voluteering at a hospital or even at the medical school. That could come in handy for retaining your people skills. If you spend your entire day with engineers you tend to lose touch with the normal world. But, best of luck to you and remember the engineering and medical fields do go hand in hand. Just look at most of Dean Kamen's inventions.

08-18-2003, 03:11 AM
Preface: Ok, this might all sound weird coming from a poli sci/public policy major hopefully going into law (don't ask me why I know so much about engineers & med school) but my friends call me their college counselor so I have an idea about what I'm talking about.

First of all, you're not completely crazy. I know a few people doing this and you are right, med schools are looking for diversity. This isn't saying you should pick a non-bio/chem major in the medschool route for the sake of doing it, just pick what you love. Many people who do bio/chem/etc majors often "burn-out" from science by the time they go to med school because that's not their passion. Pick what you love doing with classes that you'll actually enjoy going to because your GPA will reflect that...which is a big part of med school acceptances. I know a lot of people tell me that I shouldn't do poli sci because everyone applying to law school has that major but with anything else, I wouldn't excel or enjoy it so much. So my grades and dedication clubs in related fields, and not my unique major, is what i'm relying to stand out. For you, if you can keep up the high GPA with the engineering major (which to be honest will be tough), you'll have it made for med school because you'll stand out in two ways.

As for completing everything in time...well, you can also take into consideration that more and more people are graduating in 5 years. Go check out the different engineering majors because some of them may even have a "medical option". At UCLA there's an EE major with a biomedical option that maps out in 4 years what the students have to take which will fulfill their major and premed requirements. Some end up sticking with engineering where biomedical stuff is very in demand, as others have mentioned, while others pursue med school. It's rigorous but possible. Even without the medical option, there's only a more few classes and a language requirement (most engineering schools don't have this), and taking the MCAT that are required for med school.

Hopefully this novel was of some help to someone.....

01-24-2005, 11:54 PM
I just sent a reply to a similar thread. I will copy it below if it is of help.
The bottom line is that a combined education in Biomedical Engineering and Medicine is necessary to further the advancement of medical care. As we live longer we will depend more and more on technology to maintain our maximum functional capacity.
I am a Michigan State University Family Practice Residency Program Director, and would be happy to advise in more detail off line. I will suggest that you complete your masters in Biomedical engineering first prior to Medical School. Once you have completed medical school and residency you will be too busy to go back to engineering. Your student loans will need to be paid, and this will quickly change your mind regarding a second education. Your undergrad choice of classes need careful consideration to balance engineering prerequisites and premed.
My daughter has the same interest as you, but she has one more year to consider the choices. I can contact you if you wish or you are welcome to call me at the hospital at 810-606-5983. Hope this helps, Ken

01-28-2005, 07:39 PM
thanks to everyone so far for your great advice! :)

my only concern is if I have to take pre-med courses AS WELL as engineering courses might it take me 5 years to graduate rather than 4?

Most schools don't offer a 'pre-med' degree, but rather an advising course for premed. 'Pre-med' at VCU is usually Bio, but sometimes Chem or BME. There are no special classes for premeds, the name is there mostly because the students feel that they are better then 'just a biology major', when that is really all they are.


Ashley Weed
01-29-2005, 07:20 AM
I currently have several "advisor's" already in the profession at all sorts of levels, I continually talk to them about how they have come to the level of practice that they are at today, etc, etc, etc. Through all of my journeys alongside the professionals, and now actually seeing hands-on the premed major, bio/chem major, and BioE major, and IST (emerging technologies/artificial intelligence) major...... its not the path you choose for your undergrad degree. Choose the path that you most enjoy, and while you are on that path, take a bio, chem, and physics class and become prepared for the MCAT. In the end, its the MCAT's that will be the big cookie that gets you into Med School.

01-31-2005, 09:49 PM
My first year on MOE I knew i wanted to be a engineer but now since last year i learned i love the business parts of the team. And now after being around medical people I have found that I want to go into medicine. Starting tomorrow I will be beginning my first steps to becoming an EMT and a firefighter. I am going to go to school to become a nurse and maybe even one day a doctor, thats a long stretch but you never know, FIRST doesn't just show you engineering it it gives you the ideas of what you want to do in life, even if it has nothing to do with building robots or anything like that, and thats what really makes this the greatest program for kids our ages to get into because there isn't just a main focus on something like other high school programs here you can build robots and be very good at it and learn all about critical thinking project management, team work and so many more things Then after learning all of that you decide that you want to own a dog grooming business and its still ok because this is an experience that will stay with you forever from medical school to truck driving school.

02-01-2005, 06:58 AM
I am currently a double major in BME and spanish and a minor in Management of Technology, all the while planning on attending med school. The only other requirements I have to have here at vandy are a semester of an english writing course and Organic Chemistry (orgo). The BME curriculum covers a lot and I am planning on taking my MCAT's this fall in order to try and get early acceptance to the Vanderbilt Medical school. I also will be graduating in 4 years. . .due to the fact that the parents will cut me off after that! I've taken one class during the summer through IUPUI and that in itself is helping me stay on track. It's really not too bad because the summer is divided into 2 sessions, so I just take a class during one of them. It's totally doable, and you can still have a life! Trust me!