Jump to content



Recommended Posts

Hi all,


Really new here and craving insight, especially from those already in bioscience programs.


I would really like to be accepted to biomedical programs. I have a 4.0 GPA (partly due to my Spanish minor and the fact that A+ are worth 4.33 at my university). My major GPA for bio (not including related subjects like chem) is 3.96.


I received my degree in Genetics from a big state university (not really well ranked in science) so I'm not sure how much weight my GPA holds.

I got A- to A+ in courses like molecular bio, genetics, applied genetics, cell bio, developmental bio, functional genomics.

I did really well with A+ in general chemistry both semesters.

However, I only took 1 semester of o chem (got a B in lecture, A in lab) and dropped the 2nd semester and never re-took so there is a W on my transcript.

I also only took 1 semester of physics (B+), dropped the lab (another W) but retook with an A+.

Biochemistry was not mentioned on my major map at all so I never bothered taking it (totally would have if I had known what a big deal coursework is to PhD programs, or if I had taken applying for PhD programs seriously sooner :( ).


A lot of programs say they require a full year of organic chemistry, physics, and biochemistry. I'm really worried that NOT having this will really hurt my chances of getting into anywhere.

I'm applying to west coast schools: UCSD, UCLA, Scripps...

I've emailed the coordinators asking if this would hurt my chances and they've all just said those courses are simply "recommended" and my app will still be considered. Didn't tell me much about my chances.


So in short, what do you all think? Has anyone been admitted with less than rigorous undergraduate coursework? Also, should I explain this in my SOP or not mention it thereby not drawing more attention to it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that the more important peice of info, not mentioned here, is what is your research experience like? If it eases your stress, I am applying to biophysics phd programs with little phsyics coursework (my undergrad was in applied math though, so related) but I am not worried about it holding me back because my research experience and interests align perfectly with the programs.


So what is your research experience like and does it fit well with the faculty research at the schools you are applying to? Schools are certainly willing to overlook coursework deficiencies for students with incredible research experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you, bsharpe269. That's a very good point that I overlooked.

I was an intern in a brain cancer lab for a year at a translational research institute.

My project consisted of validating previously done microarray data on tumor samples treated with various chemotherapies using PCR (very basic, I know).

Then I have a summer doing H&E staining and cell-ct imaging to determine how the nucleus of a cell progresses from neoplasia to displasia.

I am currently working in a bioinformatics dry lab doing analysis on GWAS studies for various cancers, so not much biochem to be had here. 


I know that my work at the translational institute aligns with the biomedical programs I am interested in, but I am afraid my project there wasn't impressive enough to make up for my coursework. Actually, not taking biochem/o chem cleared the way for me to take more bioinformatics courses in undergrad but I have since decided I am not interested in applying to computational/informatics programs. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

If you have the chance, you should try to take a biochemistry course. The other suggested courses would be helpful but with your research experience, I think that would be fine. Just make sure you can get strong letters of recommendation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.