Worried about my biochemistry degree. Watch

818671
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I've heard a few horror stories.

Was this person correct in saying this?

"I think degrees like biochemistry, biomedical sciences and many other titles startin with bio- are a waste of time...just for failed medics !!"

I also hear that it's nearly impossible to find a job with a biochemistry degree because a honours degree is usless on its own and without a PhD and relavent w/e you have no chance. They're little jobs going for people with biochemistry degrees

They're also contradictions, I was considering applying for my MSc in Biochemistry at Oxford but I was told that Oxbridge are only really good for Bachelor honours and PhDs and that they let anyone in for their masters programmes.

And finally that there are more posts available for honours graduates than there are for Masters because labs just aren't willing to pay for that level of expertise... well... except for project leaders but those jobs are few and far between.

I'm on my way to study Biochemistry at Essex (to obtain a first class hons).

I don't know what to do now. I'm gonna fail in life :cry:
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Jale
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Well that person who said that is totally welcome to reject all medicines in the future, because we are the ones working on them...probably just trolling you. Yes there are a few duff degrees in the field, but thats the same with all of them. Biochemistry has very few 'failed medics'. See Biomed for that.

There's few jobs going for anyone at the moment. They are right to say that a BSc won't get you that far, but that's in science. Plenty of people go into business, accountancy, insurance really really easily.

Oxford isn't unusual in how they treat MScs. It's a course they can charge anything for, and the students are only there for a year. Admissions tend to be more about if you can afford it! That said, there's a lot of 4 year PhDs going around now where you do the masters integrated into the PhD.

My PhD gives me access to many many lasers. Many. I feel like I have done the opposite of failing at life.
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Maker
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Very few degrees guarantees decent jobs including biochem. Its up to you what you do with it after you graduate. You can try to get a job in a lab, a lot of companies and research places recuit people with first degrees as well as PhDs/DPhils. Or use it as a general degree for graduate jobs like accountancy, teaching or management.

If you are that worried about your prestige, go and be a medic.
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Peregrinum
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That line sounds like it came from a bitter medicine reject. Medicine is an applied science, without the pure biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, engineering, etc. medicine as we know it today would not exist. Think about all the latest technology used in hospitals, all the new "smart" gene therapies, etc. It's not the pill-prescribing "whitecoats" that are to thank for that, it's the scientists. I really don't understand why medicine and medics are held so high up on the pedestal considering that in the grand scheme of things they're really nothing more than "tools" (no offense) for scientists to execute their findings.

Now the thing about the job market being smaller for those with just a BSc is true, but this applies to all sciences. Also, a lot of how well you do in the job market is down to more than just the degree. Initiative, experience, contacts... you can start building all that on the day you get to campus.

I will start a biochemistry degree in a month as well and I am damn proud to be doing so!
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!-Twisty-!
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(Original post by Peregrinum)
That line sounds like it came from a bitter medicine reject. Medicine is an applied science, without the pure biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, engineering, etc. medicine as we know it today would not exist. Think about all the latest technology used in hospitals, all the new "smart" gene therapies, etc. It's not the pill-prescribing "whitecoats" that are to thank for that, it's the scientists. I really don't understand why medicine and medics are held so high up on the pedestal considering that in the grand scheme of things they're really nothing more than "tools" (no offense) for scientists to execute their findings.
I think i love you.....

(even if i plan on going into medicine after i finish my pharm chem degree ^_^ )
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Jale
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(Original post by Can't Touch This.)

And finally that there are more posts available for honours graduates than there are for Masters because labs just aren't willing to pay for that level of expertise...
By the by, here's a pie chart and list of careers taken up by people graduating from Warwick a few years ago. Thought it might interest you. Downloads as a .doc

2004-2008 graduates, 6 months after graduating (so really early on)
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Peregrinum
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(Original post by !-Twisty-!)
I think i love you.....

(even if i plan on going into medicine after i finish my pharm chem degree ^_^ )
Umm... thank you. I think. :mute:
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poisoned_rose
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I'm a Biochemist, and it was the best thing I ever did with my life. Medicine doesn't and can't exist without basic science. It takes an army of biochemists, biologists, synthetic chemists, and bioinformaticians to find even one potential drug target! I'm going into pharmacology, have my MSci done, and working towards my PhD. Whoever said you can't do much with a simple BSc is entirely correct. No-one will hire you for a research post without a PhD. Pharma companies used to take candidates with MSc degrees, but with the current decline in pharma investment, they only want doctors now.

Please don't give up on biochemistry, it's an amazing course. I wish I could explain properly in words how utterly beautiful biological chemistry is. The job situation will take care of itself eventually. You're not going to fail at life!

EDIT: Also, the person who said there are more jobs for BSc graduates than MSc graduates is, quite frankly, talking out of their ****. I looked for jobs after my BSc, and nearly every position mentioned that a MSc was desirable. MSc degrees are the difference between a failed application, and an interview. Most jobs that REQUIRE a scientific degree, WANT a Masters. They won't pay you extra for it, don't get me wrong. You'll get the same sort of salary as a BSc graduate, but you're more likely to get the job in the first place.
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Maker
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Physical sciences like physics and chemistry pays more on average than biological sciences. Chemical engineering is well paid for some reason even though there is not a lot of chemistry in it.
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818671
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(Original post by poisoned_rose)
I'm a Biochemist, and it was the best thing I ever did with my life. Medicine doesn't and can't exist without basic science. It takes an army of biochemists, biologists, synthetic chemists, and bioinformaticians to find even one potential drug target! I'm going into pharmacology, have my MSci done, and working towards my PhD. Whoever said you can't do much with a simple BSc is entirely correct. No-one will hire you for a research post without a PhD. Pharma companies used to take candidates with MSc degrees, but with the current decline in pharma investment, they only want doctors now.

Please don't give up on biochemistry, it's an amazing course. I wish I could explain properly in words how utterly beautiful biological chemistry is. The job situation will take care of itself eventually. You're not going to fail at life!

EDIT: Also, the person who said there are more jobs for BSc graduates than MSc graduates is, quite frankly, talking out of their ****. I looked for jobs after my BSc, and nearly every position mentioned that a MSc was desirable. MSc degrees are the difference between a failed application, and an interview. Most jobs that REQUIRE a scientific degree, WANT a Masters. They won't pay you extra for it, don't get me wrong. You'll get the same sort of salary as a BSc graduate, but you're more likely to get the job in the first place.
I intend to apply for my MSc at Imperial for Biochemistry and Science Communication and Oxford for MSc Biochemistry (as well as 4 medical schools but we'll leave that for another day). Would it be best if I just apply for a PhD rather than a MSc.

Is it true the biological scientists are paid the least out of all scientists?
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emi_sarb
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I've just finished my Biochemistry degree and it's true that there aren't many jobs out there. All the pharmaceutical and biotech companies are cutting back on research and the only jobs there are, are either lab tech jobs that only want A levels or jobs that require a PhD. I really don't want to do a PhD so I'm looking at doing a second undergrad degree in a subject with a much higher employment rate.

It is a really interesting subject and I enjoyed studying it but unless you're willing to do a PhD at the end there aren't very many jobs.
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818671
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(Original post by emi_sarb)
I've just finished my Biochemistry degree and it's true that there aren't many jobs out there. All the pharmaceutical and biotech companies are cutting back on research and the only jobs there are, are either lab tech jobs that only want A levels or jobs that require a PhD. I really don't want to do a PhD so I'm looking at doing a second undergrad degree in a subject with a much higher employment rate.

It is a really interesting subject and I enjoyed studying it but unless you're willing to do a PhD at the end there aren't very many jobs.
I honestly don't know what to do anymore

If I do an MSc will it be a waste of time?

What is the degree may I ask?
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818671
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(Original post by Peregrinum)
That line sounds like it came from a bitter medicine reject. Medicine is an applied science, without the pure biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, engineering, etc. medicine as we know it today would not exist. Think about all the latest technology used in hospitals, all the new "smart" gene therapies, etc. It's not the pill-prescribing "whitecoats" that are to thank for that, it's the scientists. I really don't understand why medicine and medics are held so high up on the pedestal considering that in the grand scheme of things they're really nothing more than "tools" (no offense) for scientists to execute their findings.

Now the thing about the job market being smaller for those with just a BSc is true, but this applies to all sciences. Also, a lot of how well you do in the job market is down to more than just the degree. Initiative, experience, contacts... you can start building all that on the day you get to campus.

I will start a biochemistry degree in a month as well and I am damn proud to be doing so!

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
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emi_sarb
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(Original post by Can't Touch This.)
I honestly don't know what to do anymore

If I do an MSc will it be a waste of time?

What is the degree may I ask?
I don't know of an MSc will be a waste of time. I haven't looked into post grad study because I struggled with my dissertation so I don't think I'd do well in an MSc or PhD.

The degree I'm thinking of doing is diagnostic radiography. The fees are paid by the NHS and they only take on as many people as they think they'll need in 3 years time, so most graduates get a job with the NHS very soon after they finish.
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818671
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(Original post by emi_sarb)
I don't know of an MSc will be a waste of time. I haven't looked into post grad study because I struggled with my dissertation so I don't think I'd do well in an MSc or PhD.

The degree I'm thinking of doing is diagnostic radiography. The fees are paid by the NHS and they only take on as many people as they think they'll need in 3 years time, so most graduates get a job with the NHS very soon after they finish.
The degree for Biochemistry at Essex isn't acreditted but the biomedical sciences course there is. Should I go for Biomedical Sciences instead, does it have more job opportunities?
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emi_sarb
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(Original post by Can't Touch This.)
The degree for Biochemistry at Essex isn't acreditted but the biomedical sciences course there is. Should I go for Biomedical Sciences instead, does it have more job opportunities?
It depends what you want to do. If you want to work in a hospital go with Biomed. If you want to work in industry for a pharmaceutical/ biotech company, or do university research go with Biochem. The two are very similar but Biochem is broader. The accredited course means you can register with the IBMS which will be useful if you want to work in a hospital as a Biomedical scientist.
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poisoned_rose
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(Original post by Can't Touch This.)
I intend to apply for my MSc at Imperial for Biochemistry and Science Communication and Oxford for MSc Biochemistry (as well as 4 medical schools but we'll leave that for another day). Would it be best if I just apply for a PhD rather than a MSc.

Is it true the biological scientists are paid the least out of all scientists?
Ok, it all depends on one question really: What do you want out of your degree? Do you want to go into medicine, since you talked about medical school applications, or do you want to go into pharmaceutical research?

If you want to go into medicine, an MSc won't help much. Your best best would probably be to see if you can transfer onto the accredited Biomed course at Essex. That'll provide more relevant modules to medicine, which'll look good on a med school application, and the accreditation means you can work in the NHS to gain hands on medical work experience for a year or so. Then, you'd have a pretty awesome med school application.

If you want to go into research, pharmacology, or academia (lecturing), the MSc is pretty much useless tbh. That's because you're not going to get far in that career unless you have a PhD, and if you get a first in your BSc, you can apply for a PhD straight, and forgo the MSc. That'll not only save you a year, it'll save you some cash too.

Now where it gets tricky is if you decide you want go into a very specific area of biochemistry. So for example, you may want to go into cell technology, or nanotechnology, or maybe synthetic chemistry. In that case, an MSc is really useful as a specialisation. Like for me, I did biochemistry, but because I did a joint hons with psychology, I missed out on key chemistry modules. Because I want to go into pharma, for which you need certain chemistry knowledge, I did a MSc in Drug Discovery and it opened up several options for me.

I hope that helps a little, but feel free to ask again if I didn't answer specifically about what you wanted to know.
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818671
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(Original post by poisoned_rose)
Ok, it all depends on one question really: What do you want out of your degree? Do you want to go into medicine, since you talked about medical school applications, or do you want to go into pharmaceutical research?

If you want to go into medicine, an MSc won't help much. Your best best would probably be to see if you can transfer onto the accredited Biomed course at Essex. That'll provide more relevant modules to medicine, which'll look good on a med school application, and the accreditation means you can work in the NHS to gain hands on medical work experience for a year or so. Then, you'd have a pretty awesome med school application.

If you want to go into research, pharmacology, or academia (lecturing), the MSc is pretty much useless tbh. That's because you're not going to get far in that career unless you have a PhD, and if you get a first in your BSc, you can apply for a PhD straight, and forgo the MSc. That'll not only save you a year, it'll save you some cash too.

Now where it gets tricky is if you decide you want go into a very specific area of biochemistry. So for example, you may want to go into cell technology, or nanotechnology, or maybe synthetic chemistry. In that case, an MSc is really useful as a specialisation. Like for me, I did biochemistry, but because I did a joint hons with psychology, I missed out on key chemistry modules. Because I want to go into pharma, for which you need certain chemistry knowledge, I did a MSc in Drug Discovery and it opened up several options for me.

I hope that helps a little, but feel free to ask again if I didn't answer specifically about what you wanted to know.
Ops. I'd already initially applied for BioMed at Essex, but decided to transfer to Biochemistry because the subject is more specialised, I find it interesting, I won't be surrounded by so many 'failed medics', it's more respected generally and there are more career prospects other than research and medicine. Wouldn't a Biochemistry degree get me into medicine just as much as a BioMed degree?Medicine is incredibly competitive and I thought being a scientist was a good back up. I don't know now. I had a plan but because the MSc at Oxford is proving rather usuless....I'm quite lost now.

I plan to, after I graduate apply to 4 medical schools and as a back up (and something to do for a year if I fail to get any medicine offers) apply for MSc Science Media production at Imperial and a couple of drama schools. The reasons for me picking these as well as medicine are a completely different story on its own.
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Ari Ben Canaan
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How difficult do you think it would be to study a Biochem degree without any previous knowledge of biology ?
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Peregrinum
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(Original post by Can't Touch This.)
What do you plan to do after you graduate?
I plan to keep on studying to get a PhD. Assuming that my interests stay the same, I would like to specialize in the chemistry end of biochemistry or structural and protein science (e.g. structural biology, enzyme science, etc.). I'd like to go into academic research or industrial R&D, such as nanotechnology, biotech, etc.
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