Answers from the Experts

What It’s Like To Be A Biology Major
By Tiffany T., Undergraduate Ventures Scholar

I decided on majoring in biology when I was in high school. I thought about possibly becoming a doctor and believed that pursuing a major in biology would provide me with skills needed for medical school or graduate school. Now as a senior, I have discovered that being a biology major is not easy, but it is a rewarding and enriching experience.

Before I entered college, I heard that the biology major was one of the most difficult undergraduate majors. I thought to myself that if I was able to successfully complete a major that is deemed to be so difficult, I would have made a great accomplishment. During my first year I took many core requirement courses as well as Concepts in Biology and General Chemistry Part I. These two science courses were more difficult than I expected. I was not used to the large volumes of work and I was worried that I would not be successful as a biology major. Fortunately, my Concepts in Biology professor was very helpful. He gave the class tips on how to study effectively. One of the most effective tips was “Practice By Doing.” He explained that the easiest way to learn all of the information was to read your notes out loud or read notes to someone else, a stuffed animal, or even the wall. I have used this technique throughout my college career and I have discovered that it is very useful, especially in science classes and classes with large amounts of work.

For me, the worst part about being a biology major is the fact that we are required to take General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and General Physics. Chemistry and Physics are my worst subjects and I had to work very hard to pass these classes. Another reason why the biology major is thought to be more difficult is the fact that the major is worth more credits than a liberal arts major, which means you have to take more courses. This also means spending more time studying.

Pursuing a major in biology is a great advantage for those who are thinking about applying to medical school. I have talked with many medical students who were biology majors and they say that the major provided a solid background for their medical studies. One student talked about how an undergraduate anatomy class allowed him to successfully pass an anatomy class in medical school. Also, they say that the large amounts of work that biology majors are given is a good test to see if a student will be able to handle the loads of work given to medical students.

I found many of the biology elective courses to be very interesting. For instance, I took Human Parasitology (focus on the parasites that infect the human body) and next semester I will be taking Introduction to Cancer. During this school year, I will be applying to graduate school to pursue a Master of Biomedical Science and possibly attend medical school after I finish the program if I decide to do so. I truly believe the biology major will allow me to be successful in my future studies. When I tell people that I am a biology major they are very impressed. The job opportunities for biology majors are great as well, such as taking part in research at top pharmaceutical companies.

I highly recommend the biology major to anyone who is thinking about medical school or anyone who is willing to challenge themselves. My advice to you is to get rid of the thought that the courses you have to take for the major are difficult because if you keep telling yourself the material is difficult, you will not succeed. Also, use all resources that are given to you. Visit your professors and/or TAs (teaching assistants) during their office hours if you have questions or go just to introduce yourself. This will allow them to realize that you are serious about passing their class and they would be more inclined to provide a letter of recommendation if you ask for one. Although we have more work than the liberal arts majors and have to take more difficult classes, the biology major is a great major because it demonstrates to others that you are willing to work hard in order to pursue your dreams. It shows that you are willing to challenge yourself.


courtesy of Saint Michael's College
© 2006 Ventures In Education, Inc.