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I changed my major from Biology to Data Science. How to justify this in SoP?

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Undergrad school: Duke (kunshan campus)

Background: I initially declared my major as Molecular Bioscience/Genetics and Genomics. However there werent enough resources in the school that matched and could support my research interest (I wanted to do bioinformatics, but there was only one bioinformatics prof around the whole campus). I mean no offense, but in addition I learned from alumini that math is the key to everything, and taking only Biology major requirments, unless I pursue a phd degree, makes it hard for me to find a job particularly in China in the field of life science. I later discovered that biostats matches my interest perfectly (a field of study that covers health science + math/stats). Therefore I declared a major change to Data Science which has more math that could prepare me for biostats grad school.

Concern and question:

1) on my transcript, I got both biology classes and math classes. I feel this could somewhat add to my competitiveness. Is this true? Here are the courses I took/will take before I submit my application:

Biology: molecular biology, genetics and evolution, population genetics and evolution, organic chemistry

Math/Stats: intro to applied statistical methods, probability and stats, random variable and stochastics process, fundemental calculus, multivariable calculus, linear algebra, advanced linear algebra, numerical analysis and convex optimization, elements of machine learning, data structure and algorithms.

2) how to justify this major change? I feel like, no matter how I describe my motion in SoP, it sounds like I look down upon or I intend to denigrate biology major. For example, I could write "I actually really like Biology, and I wanted to contribute to improved life quality of human. but for job market reason i changed to data science???"

Does anyone have similar experience that could enlighten me on this matter? I am more than grateful.

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1) I don't know how switching majors at your school works but I believe in many schools in asia, GPA matters a lot when it comes to changing majors. Though, even without a math/stat major, you're math background is sufficient for getting you into a masters/phd program in stats or biostats. Though I do understand that some graduate schools do encourage a degree in related fields rather than a biology major +  math/stat coursework.

2) I don't think one needs to discredit a major to justify a switch of majors. Instead, say more about why you chose ds and how it interests you. Maybe it's in the analysis of biological data that you realize you'd enjoy developing algorithms to help (etc quicker computation, higher accuracy) estimation. Or maybe you just know that you enjoy coding, math, and stats, and also did well in related classes.


Edited by Counterfactual
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