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I'm an Ontario student going into my 3rd year in hopes of getting in a masters program in molecular biology or food science. This semester I am taking a biochemistry course. With this course there is also a complementary lab course offered that is not required in my program, however, most other programs in my department need to take it. I am unsure if I should take this course as it may be looked for during admissions, although if I didn't need to take it I could use this additional time to volunteer in one of my professor's lab to gain experience.  I have looked into the admissions of these programs in my area and the minimum requirement is having a BSc along with the required average and letters of recommendation so It seems like not taking this course wouldn't affect me. Although, even if this course is not required for my Bsc, I feel as if not taking this course will heavily hurt my chances.

Should I take this Biochemistry lab or use the time to build my research experience?

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If you're applying to medical school this could potentially be an issue, depending on what the exact requirements are in your region. But most phd programs that I am aware of do not have a specific list of courses they want to see you take. It can help to have several courses in the field that you are applying for—but most likely spending the time building research experience would be much more valuable. Research fit/experience is the first and most important metric used by grad schools. There's no need to freak out over specific courses that you can't fit into your schedule.

Edited by Janiejoneswoah

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Several PhD programs have a class that's kind of a "broad overview" of necessary topics. I'm in a pharmacology department and we have a course that's entirely cell biology and biochemistry- the reasoning for the class is that we have people coming in from all types of backgrounds (biochemistry, pure chemistry, chemical engineering, neuroscience, etc) and the class gets everyone onto similar footing. I wouldn't stress about it- the experience you would get doing the lab research is more valuable than the course. 

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