Biotechnology vs Biomedical Science?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by chase18m, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. chase18m Registered Member

    Hello everyone,

    I'm very confused as to which degree I should pursue at University. I want to be involved in human disease research, specifically in the development of a cure for Cancer, HIV/AIDS etc.

    I think Biomedical Science would be a better fit for me than Biotechnology, but people have been telling me that Biotech is the future and Biomedical is on it's way out.

    I'd hate to get half way through my degree in Biomed only to find that Biotech has exploded and taken over the world!

    I'd really appreciate some advice on which avenue to go down. Some pros and cons maybe? Like I said, I'm confused!! :shrug:

    Thank you,
  2. Jon Moulton Registered Senior Member

    I assume you are entering an undergraduate program next, working for a 4-year degree.

    Biology or Chemistry degrees would be excellent undergraduate background for advanced work in either biotech or biomed science. Chemistry, either majoring in biochem or in general chem with a biochem emphasis, is probably the strongest background you can bring to those fields. Consider the double major, chem and bio -- many prerequisites are common to both degrees. Also look into what is required at your university to get a second bachelor's degree -- mine required 36 credits taken after the first degree, so I took an extra two terms and added a second bachelor's.

    There is time for specialization in grad school. Build a broad foundation of the basic sciences first.
  3. Hercules Rockefeller voltage gated ion channel Moderator

    Sound advice. :thumbsup:

    Oooh, I’m not so sure I agree with that. :eek: I guess it depends on your personal bias. I’m biased towards biology over chemistry if it’s specifically medical research you want to end up in. But as I said in another thread recently, these days medical research projects are frequently a multidisciplinary effort involving biologists, chemists, physicists, clinicians of various types, and more. There’s a place for everyone at the biomed research table.
  4. chase18m Registered Member


    Yes, I'll be doing a 4 year undergrad degree. My University offers Bachelor of Biomedical Science. Wouldn't this be a better program to undertake rather than the more general Science program??
  5. Jon Moulton Registered Senior Member

    OK, here's my prejudice: get the most broad general eduction you can at undergrad level. Don't career-track too early. Often you have two ways you can take a course for a degree. In these cases, take the harder track. Here is an example. Physics is usually offered as a year series without calculus and, for the engineers and physicists, as a year series with calculus. I didn't need the phys+calc course for my bio or my chem degree, but I took it with calculus anyway. I regretted that during that year and was delighted after the course was over -- and I found I used the styles of thought that I learned in the more difficult sequence later. You can probably take a "baby O-chem" course for a bio degree, that was a two-term sequence where I studied. Alternatively, you can take the three-term major's organic chemistry. You can take a "baby p-chem" course, for biologists but not a requirement where I studied, or you can take the major's p-chem year series. In this case I took both, and the gentle introduction helped me survive the year of p-chem.

    You think you know now exactly what you want to do. You might find out you want to do something else later. A broad general education gives you a broad foundation on which, later, you can construct whatever educational and career structure you need.

    Hercules Rockefeller: You're right of course, both paths (many paths) can work. Chase asked opinion, and I am rarely without ;) My suggestion regarding taking chem instead of bio as a major (if there must be a choice) is based on the quantitative training that chemists go through. There are many quantitative biologists out there, but there are also many who have managed to avoid a solid background in measurement, uncertainty, calculation and modeling. Chemists are forced through that, and that is why I consider chemistry a desirable foundation prior to grad school. However, there is a lot of "natural science" content which a biologist is exposed to which a chemist is not and this is why I brought up the possibility of double-majoring (or double-degreeing).
  6. CharonZ Registered Senior Member

    Also it depends whether one wants to focus on an industrial career vs an academic one.
  7. dazzlepecs Registered Senior Member

    im an electrical engineer about to enter postgrad in bioelectronics.. Dont know what im getting myself in for!!
  8. jnc1110 Registered Senior Member

    You should get in contact with US Senate Kay Hagan and ask about the expansion of biotechnology and what it means for your area in the next 4-5 years (look it up). Its a field that I am about to delve into, seeing as how its supposed to be the next big thing here in North Carolina and all.

    I suggest that you get your MS in Biotechnology and Molecular Biology while you are getting your bachelor's degree in biochemistry. When you get the opportunity during registration, take the graduate level courses as soon as you can. It will probably be too much on you to double major for biology and chemistry, and that MS would put you more into the field that you're thinking about. If you do double major, you should be bringing in at least a year's worth of semester hours (which you attained through AP courses in high school). Also, don't just take biology courses; become a biologist! Get involved with your professors and ask if they have lab work available. Join a science club. Seek out an internship at a biotech firm and find out what you will be doing.
  9. Varsha Registered Member

    I have the same concern... m confused what to choose... Bachelor's in biotech or in biomedical... sry but wasn't satisfied with the answers.... can anyone pls advise me abt what to choose??
  10. Hercules Rockefeller voltage gated ion channel Moderator

    Answer: Biomed

    ....because it opens more doors (potentially).

    Of course, it depends where you want to end up. Biotech firmly directs you towards industrial applications whereas biomed can lead to basic research/academia, medical/clinical areas or industry depending on subjects and interests. Whilst I find biomed to be immensely more interesting and stimulating, I suspect biotech career options potentially provide higher salaries (especially if you combine with engineering disciplines).

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