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Do I need to be good at math to succeed as a Biology major?

I like biology, but I struggle with math. I really want to be either a biologist or a forensic scientist. Anyone in the biology field bad at math? #biology #science #math #mathematics #college


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Nattakarn’s Answer

Hello, Emma. Please see below for what I have researched online. There are some courses below that you will have to take which has math in it. I think you should be able to pass those classes if you practice taking tests for these classes. Also you can study with your friends that are good at Math as well. I believe that you can definitely do it!

General Chemistry I and II
Organic Chemistry I and II
Calculus I
General Physics I and II

Typically as a first-year biology student, you should expect to attend a considerable number of lectures, with accompanying practical work and write-ups. For subjects like cellular biology, genetics and epidemiology, practical work is likely to be lab-based, while ecology or environmental biology students will be expected to do field work.

In subsequent years, as you get more specialized, you may end up spending less time on lab work – or choose to concentrate almost entirely on working in the lab. Towards the end of your degree you’ll typically be required to undertake a final research project. At some universities this will be a group effort, while at others you can pick individual projects from a pre-approved list.

As your degree progresses, therefore, you should expect to spend most of your time either working in the lab and/or undertaking personal research – good practice to start off your biology career.

Generally, undergraduate biology degrees run for three or four years (depending on the country), with some universities offering a year abroad or work experience opportunities. Some undergraduate courses may last an extra year, allowing students to graduate with an MSc instead of BSc.

Whichever field of biology you choose to focus on, you should be ready to immerse yourself fully in an intensive course, in a complex and rapidly evolving subject area
Key Skills

Common skills gained from a biological science degree include:

General laboratory skills, including how to use laboratory equipment, Ability to confidently analyze and draw conclusions from complex data sets, and general analytical skills. Teamwork and strong communication skills, through group projects and seminars, Organizational and time management skills. An understanding of scientific literature and how to use it Initiative and independence. An awareness and insider’s understanding of ethical issues and commercial contexts relevant to scientific research. Numeracy and technology literacy. Presenting findings in written and spoken form, to an acceptable academic standard; report writing and presentations. Framework for lifelong learning.

Quick Guide to Major Requirements from New York university. You can find the link below for your reference.

https://courses.bio.nyu.edu/course-planning/quick-guide-to-major-requirements/

Here, in their most compact form, are the requirements for the different tracks of the Biology major. Note that each track requires upper-level Biology courses, but the specific courses that count differ between the tracks. See the course search tool to find which upper-level electives satisfy which requirements for each track.

At the bottom of this page are the CAS Core Curriculum requirements that apply to Biology majors.

Biology Major Standard Track
Principles of Biology I and II
Molecular and Cell Biology I and II
Five Upper-level Biology Electives:
Laboratory Skills course
Quantitative Skills course
Reasoning Skills course
Two additional advanced Biology courses
General Chemistry I and II
Organic Chemistry I and II
Calculus I
General Physics I and II
Biology Major Ecology Track
Principles of Biology I and II
Molecular and Cell Biology I
Fundamentals of Ecology
Five Upper-level Biology Electives:
Laboratory Skills course
Quantitative Skills course
Reasoning Skills course
Two additional advanced Biology courses
General Chemistry I and II
Organic Chemistry I and II
Calculus I and either Calculus II or Linear Algebra
General Physics I
Global Public Health/Biology Major
Health and Society in a Global Context (UGPH-GU 10)
Epidemiology for Global Health (UGPH-GU 30)
Health Policy in a Global World (UGPH-GU 40)
Environmental Health in a Global World (UGPH-GU 50)
Experiential Learning in Global Public Health (UGPH-GU 60)
Biostatistics (BIOL-UA 42)
One semester of advanced foreign language (above intermediate II level)
One semester of study away
Principles of Biology I and II
Molecular and Cell Biology I and II
Two courses from one of the following emphasis areas:
Genetics and Genomics
Infectious Diseases
Environmental Health
One additional upper-level Biology elective
One additional GPH or upper-level Biology elective
General Chemistry I and II
Organic Chemistry I and II
Calculus I
General Physics I and II
College Core Curriculum Requirements for Biology Majors
First-Year Seminar
Writing the Essay
Foreign Language through Intermediate II Level
Foundations of Contemporary Culture:
Texts and Ideas
Cultures and Contexts
Societies and the Social Sciences
Expressive Culture

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Glenn’s Answer

It definitely helps! Although you might wonder why in Biology you would ever need math, it turns out that you need basic algebra and statistics for many biology related classes. One area might be genetics where you need to calculate the probability of genes expressing themselves (what is the likelihood you have brown eyes when one parent has blue eyes and the other has brown eyes). Chemistry is important to biological processes and math is needed there as well to understand chemical reactions in cells.

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Cindy’s Answer

Maybe you’ve heard the saying: Biology is applied chemistry, chemistry is applied physics, and physics is applied math. This is definitely an oversimplification, but I think the point is that math fundamentally would help in all the sciences and technology. But I know plenty of great biologists who are marginal at math and they get by in their careers just fine. That being said, some courses along the way may be tricky for you. Don’t be discouraged! In the long run your colleagues will not ask you what your grade was on your calculus final exam!

Best of luck!

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Audrey’s Answer

Hi Emma!
I'm currently a college student majoring in molecular and cell biology, and I'm actually really bad at math. It definitely doesn't come as easy to me as it does for some of my peers, but I don't think this has set me back in any way. The most difficult math classes are usually completed within your first year, ranging from calculus to statistics. Beyond these classes, you may need to take physics as well, but I didn't think that the difficulty level went beyond basic integration. You can do anything you set your mind out to do, so don't hold back if biology is what you really love. In the long run, those few hard classes will be minuscule looking back. You got this! :)

Thank you so much! Emma N.

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Simeon’s Answer

When it comes to math, as long as you're able to pass the classes in college, you'll be fine when you get to the career. If you need tutors or other help, don't be discouraged. Learning math in college is not what it is like in the real world. Math classes have the expectation that you need to be able to solve problems without resources or the internet locked in a room, but in companies you'll have programs and resources at your beck and call. The real skill will be your ability to interpret and use data, not raw mathematical computation ability. We've got computers for that.

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