4 answers

Can a Bachelors in CS be helpful for Premeds?

Asked Lenoir, North Carolina

My goal is to become a physician, however, I want to major in CS as I'm interested in it as well. I don't know if I should just major in Biology instead of CS or if a major in CS would actually be more helpful.
#medicine #technology

4 answers

Robert’s Answer

Updated Atlanta, Georgia

I was an engineering major before I went to med school. I'll approach this on two levels.

  1. Will a Bachelors in CS be a plus for admission? No matter what your major, you have to meet the prerequisites and make good grades. Beyond that, it can be the luck of the draw on the admissions committted when you apply. One place I applied, the Dean of admissions had been quoted in the school paper as saying medical schools should not accept engineers. I didn't get in there. When I was interviewed at the medical school I ended up attending, the committee ended by asking if I had any questions. I told them about the Dean of Admissions at the other school, and asked what they thought. They said they thought it was strange, and they could recall engineering grads that were top notch med studets.
  2. Will a Bachelors in CS be a good background for medical school? I think so, particularly if you take courses in health informatics. Computers are an important tool in medicine, and are becoming more so all the time. People who come from the more common biology or chemistry backgrounds can find more overlap with the basic science courses in medical school that a CS major would. This makes it easier in the short run, but in the long run, understanding computer science will be a plus.

Joe’s Answer

Updated Englewood, Colorado

You're in a sweet spot wanting to do medical and computer science. There is a lot of convergence of computer science in the medical realm, and you may get your foot in the door for some great opportunities by pursuing both together. In particular, look for areas of "Machine Learning", epidemiology, physiology, genetics and you'll find that there are plenty of opportunities to merge your passions.


Both CS and Medical are well-paying careers, so go for it!

Joe recommends the following next steps:

  • Download RStatistics or Python for your computer and start searching out how Machine Learning is being applied in medical research.
  • If there is a medical school or university hospital in your area ask if they have some internships or follow-along opportunities where you could start asking some of the research doctors how they use computers today and what opportunities they see for these areas in the future (the very near future actually).

Steven’s Answer

Updated

My wife is an APN at the University of IL at Chicago Hospital and I asked her opinion, as well as a coupe of the physicians that she works with, and they all say the same thing, get your degree in Biology, Chemistry or Math. The disciplines I just mentioned will give you the background you need for critical thinking and ensuring you have a good foundation when going into medical school.

Steven recommends the following next steps:

  • The next time you have to see your doctor for a physical, ask for his/her opinion. I am sure your doctor would be willing to give you his/her opinion on which path you should take.

Kristin’s Answer

Updated

Hi Rossel,


I would really love it if an MD could weigh on on this, but from a CS perspective, there is a ton of overlap. In fact, there is an entire industry devoted to making sure that medical providers have the information they need, when they need it. It is called Medical Informatics. https://www.amia.org/