Peter.G
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So my main interest is genetics and thats what my whole personal statement is about. I want to apply to oxbridge but i’m not sure what course would suit me. Would biochemistry set me up for further study in genetics or should i apply to natural sciences at Cambridge or biology at Oxford?
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spicyspacedoggo
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TLDR: Honestly either

If you choose to do a Masters- which most people will probably recommend for any science career due to the competition for the 'good jobs' in specific fields of interest, and because you may want to study further into genetics after doing a non-specialised degree in Biochemistry or Natural sciences- then honestly the majority of genetics courses will accept either, especially since if you're smart enough to consider both Oxbridge and Natural Sciences. Most genetics masters, and any science ones really, will accept 'related/allied' bachelor's degrees; and even if you didn't do a masters, a lot of employers will say the same since there are many specific aspects in fields that may be better handled by a biochemistry bachelor holder than a genetics holder.
Biochemistry courses (and Biomedical science courses, actually) cover genetics content as part of their core modules, and offer you more in-depth opportunities with optional modules, and will train you to understand genetics in the what and how of genetics- what the structure and functions are of genes, genomes, chromosomes, etc.; how that structure forms, how they chemically code for life, and so on.
Natural sciences will cover genetics in less depth, more in the perspective of how genomes code and how they evolved, rather than the specifics of their chemical interactions. The Cambridge site has the course modules listed at: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....tural-sciences
It's not that Natural sciences will disadvantage you though, you will still study genetics at a really high level. It's just that the emphasis on structure, function, and processes will be more like how you'll cover them in A-Level Biology (or equivalent), rather than studying essentially normal chemistry but just specifically looking at genetic molecules.
Natural Sciences is also really awesome to do, simply because it's an instant way to say "I am insanely intelligent" which, to be honest, will practically scream from the page if it's from an Oxbridge University.

Personally (and by NO MEANS base your choice on my personal one, because I promise you we are very different people and what fits for me, or what I perceive as good/bad will not be the same as you- just like how I hate strawberry ice cream, even though it is technically an equally good option of ice cream, but some people love it- and educational preferences are far, far more important): I would choose Biochemistry. For that reason, this reply may be a little biased, so I'll leave some more pros of natural sciences.
Pros of Natural Sciences: wider range of topics covered so if you change your mind you can specialise into way more career/study pathways later; super high grade requirements, well respected; you will not be disadvantaged by it; there will be chances to explore genetics through a more open mindset which may mean your research is far more innovative.
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Peter.G
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(Original post by spicyspacedoggo)
TLDR: Honestly either

If you choose to do a Masters- which most people will probably recommend for any science career due to the competition for the 'good jobs' in specific fields of interest, and because you may want to study further into genetics after doing a non-specialised degree in Biochemistry or Natural sciences- then honestly the majority of genetics courses will accept either, especially since if you're smart enough to consider both Oxbridge and Natural Sciences. Most genetics masters, and any science ones really, will accept 'related/allied' bachelor's degrees; and even if you didn't do a masters, a lot of employers will say the same since there are many specific aspects in fields that may be better handled by a biochemistry bachelor holder than a genetics holder.
Biochemistry courses (and Biomedical science courses, actually) cover genetics content as part of their core modules, and offer you more in-depth opportunities with optional modules, and will train you to understand genetics in the what and how of genetics- what the structure and functions are of genes, genomes, chromosomes, etc.; how that structure forms, how they chemically code for life, and so on.
Natural sciences will cover genetics in less depth, more in the perspective of how genomes code and how they evolved, rather than the specifics of their chemical interactions. The Cambridge site has the course modules listed at: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....tural-sciences
It's not that Natural sciences will disadvantage you though, you will still study genetics at a really high level. It's just that the emphasis on structure, function, and processes will be more like how you'll cover them in A-Level Biology (or equivalent), rather than studying essentially normal chemistry but just specifically looking at genetic molecules.
Natural Sciences is also really awesome to do, simply because it's an instant way to say "I am insanely intelligent" which, to be honest, will practically scream from the page if it's from an Oxbridge University.

Personally (and by NO MEANS base your choice on my personal one, because I promise you we are very different people and what fits for me, or what I perceive as good/bad will not be the same as you- just like how I hate strawberry ice cream, even though it is technically an equally good option of ice cream, but some people love it- and educational preferences are far, far more important): I would choose Biochemistry. For that reason, this reply may be a little biased, so I'll leave some more pros of natural sciences.
Pros of Natural Sciences: wider range of topics covered so if you change your mind you can specialise into way more career/study pathways later; super high grade requirements, well respected; you will not be disadvantaged by it; there will be chances to explore genetics through a more open mindset which may mean your research is far more innovative.
Thank you for the reply, it was very helpful!

One further question I have is, would you say focussing completely on genetics in my personal statement would disadvantage me? I realise that there are so many other modules in biochemistry/natural sciences and i’m afraid that my statement is too specific and I would get rejected because I haven’t mentioned any super curricular activities related to other parts of the course.
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phosphoglycerate
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(Original post by Peter.G)
So my main interest is genetics and thats what my whole personal statement is about. I want to apply to oxbridge but i’m not sure what course would suit me. Would biochemistry set me up for further study in genetics or should i apply to natural sciences at Cambridge or biology at Oxford?
I can only speak for biochem at oxford as I'm a current undergrad. The course involves a significant amount of genetics but it's very focused on molecular mechanisms such as DNA transcription/translation/replication, gene regulation, DNA/RNA structure etc. You learn some fundamental physical/organic chemistry because it's pretty essential for that level of detail. There are genetics practicals throughout the course as well as plenty of genetics labs to choose from for the fourth year project, which would set you up for a genetics career.
If you're interested in evolutionary/population genetics and less interested in chem, then the Biology course (or perhaps Natsci) may be more appropriate.

Any biochemistry-related degree also involves a lot of structural biology (proteins, enzymes), cell biology (cell division, cancer, immunology), energetics (respiration, photosynthesis) etc. A personal statement focused completely on genetics might indicate that you're not fully informed of the course structure. Imo it's great to show that you have a particular lean towards genetics, but it would be good to show that you're likely to enjoy a large portion of the course. Have a very close look at the modules of the courses you're interested in.
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