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McGill New Bioengineering program - premed

A photo of IronMan IronMan
Hi there,

I am really interested in a Medicine career at The U.S.A and as a high school student, I am looking to make the right decision in order to pave the way to my dream of becoming a doctor and going to a top notch US medical school. So, I discovered this new program called bioengineering that is slated to begin next year at McGill and I am really interested. Actually, I am looking to some good advice, I am just thinking that engineering would be a good preparation for med school because it teaches you how to think and solve problems and it's really interesting, also so many research opportunities that will look great on resume for med school, a good back up profession if not admitted to med school but at the same time it may be a GPA killer, so I would really appreciate your opinion about that especially that a top med school in the US will basically require something around 3.8 GPA, I don't know if that's possible in engineering at McGill but hope it is ! lol. Also, I heard that in top schools such as Harvard they use grade inflation to make their pre-med students look great for med school and I just wonder if such a thing exists at McGill knowing that McGill doesn't have a pre-med society nor a pre-med committee that will look into that for students considering careers in medicine after undergrad ? Thanks in advance ;)
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A photo of ktel ktel
No, McGill won't inflate your grades if you are pre-med to make you look better. And I sincerely doubt that Harvard does that either.

Bioengineering isn't exactly 'new'. It might be new at McGill, but other schools offer it. I have known a handful of engineers who have done that specialization and then went on to med school. It's possible. I had a 3.9 GPA in engineering.
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A photo of uncharted1111 uncharted1111
Grade inflation for pre-meds? That's a good one.
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A photo of IronMan IronMan
Thanks for your response. Can you give me some examples of schools that offer that as an undergraduate program in Canada ? yes, actually all the HYPS ( Harvard - Yale - Princeton and Stanford ) do that to increase their pre-meds chances to be admitted to medical school ! Also, I would like to know that from your experience is it pretty possible to get 3.9 in that field of engineering or it's a pain in the neck and I have to study day and night for that ? Also, do you think it is the best pre-med option ? Thanks again
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A photo of uncharted1111 uncharted1111
Umm I'm a pre-med at Yale and I can guarantee you that grade inflation doesn't happen for us.
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A photo of ktel ktel
No, HYPS don't inflate their grades. They have a reputation for a reason.

I know the U of A had a biomed option. I also know that if you do some research you can find out for yourself what other schools offer it.

I took mechanical engineering. At the U of A biomed can be a specialization within mechanical, so similar courses with co-op terms and an extra semester of courses. So I'm going to assume that it would have been similar in work load to my degree, but would have taken an extra year to finish. I definitely did not study day and night, I only studied a week or two before an exam. I did all my homework. I played a varsity sport. I had a social life. That's just me, not indicative of what your experience would be, because you're not me. Is it the best premed option? Depends on the person. Had I wanted to do med school I think I would have probably gone that route. I know a lot of people who want to do med school who would probably not succeed in engineering.
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A photo of IronMan IronMan
Actually, this is what I heard so far so you may be right, but then how can you explain the fact that Yale have a high percentage of pre-meds going to med school as Harvard, Stanford and Princeton knowing that it's pretty impossible to score 3.8 GPA in such school to get in a top US med school while bot Berkley, MIT and Caltech pre-meds don't ? And they are top schools as well ! I am not sure of this, but in one of the College confidential forums there was a guy who explained it really well, here you can check :http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/pre-med-topics/19444-best-premed-programs.html
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A photo of uncharted1111 uncharted1111
A ton of people come into freshman year saying that they want to go to medical school, but then they get weeded out and change career plans as they start to take all of the required classes. General chemistry and sophomore organic chemistry are the two biggest weeder classes I think, since they are curved to a B-/B. The people who still say they're pre-med after taking those classes are usually the ones who did well in them (read: B+ or above). It's not impossible to get a 3.8 GPA here, but you have to work REALLY REALLY hard. My science GPA is about a 3.83 right now even after taking about 1/3rd of the pre-med requirements so I'm still happy going down the medical school route.
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A photo of IronMan IronMan
Thanks for your response Ktel, you may be true about the fact that bioengineering isn't a new option but it is actually a new program and the first of its king in Canada as a program again, the thing that attracted me to the program is that it offers really great research opportunities, small classes especially that's it's a new program at McGill without considering the fact that the professors will be common with McGill Faculty of Medicine which will probably enhance my chance of getting into McGill med school but I am also afraid to get a bad GPA which will destroy my dream of becoming a doctor, I think I am just confused at this stage like every graduating high school student. Can you just give me an insight of the king of work and the experience you had in this program back when you were a college student ?

to uncharted1111 : from your experience, do you think that bioengineering is considered a good pre med program as far as US med schools are concerned, also do you think it is better to pursue a regular pre-med program in the US than in Canada, finally , can you just give me some input about you current expedient at Yale as a pre med ? thanks in advance
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A photo of ktel ktel
That's just some guy's anecdotal evidence. It seems you like to believe everything you read. The fact is grade inflation is more or less impossible to measure. I don't know why you would think it would be impossible to get a 3.8 GPA in HYPS. Grades typically follow a normal distribution, meaning a certain percentage of people will always do well. Looks possible to me. And the data that guy provided showed me that MIT grads are doing just fine when it comes to med school admissions.
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A photo of ktel ktel

@IronMan wrote
Thanks for your response Ktel, you may be true about the fact that bioengineering isn't a new option but it is actually a new program and the first of its king in Canada as a program again, the thing that attracted me to the program is that it offers really great research opportunities, small classes especially that's it's a new program at McGill without considering the fact that the professors will be common with McGill Faculty of Medicine which will probably enhance my chance of getting into McGill med school but I am also afraid to get a bad GPA which will destroy my dream of becoming a doctor, I think I am just confused at this stage like every graduating high school student. Can you just give me an insight of the king of work and the experience you had in this program back when you were a college student ?



I don't see how it would be the first of its kind in Canada. But OK. In engineering in general you will have pretty good research opportunities because most undergrads don't really consider research, therefore it's easier to find a prof to work with. By the way, where did you find out about this program? The McGill site says its a graduate degree only.

What kind of insight do you want? First of all I didn't do biomed, I did mechanical. Second of all, I didn't go to McGill.
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A photo of IronMan IronMan
Ktel, you can find the information about this new program in both of these links :http://www.mcgill.ca/undergraduate-admissions/choosing-your-program/faculty-engineering and http://publications.mcgill.ca/engineering-ebulletins/2011/09/07/preparing-for-the-bioengineering-revolution/ . The program I am talking about is Bioengineering which combines biological and Biomedical engineering while the program that is stated to be graduate only is the Master of biomedical engineering. I just would like to know that considering, I really don't know if it is accredited or not, do you think it would be better to go directly in the program or to go mechanical engineering and then specialize in Biomedical just thinking that in case of rejection, which I really don't hope ! does biomedical engineering have any good job prospects ? Thanks again
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A photo of ktel ktel
I would never ever ever recommend you go into a program that is not accredited. That is a terrible idea. So definitely look closely at that before you apply. I also would probably avoid the first year of any new program because it could be a nightmare, but that would depend on how the program is structured. If it's building on an existing engineering discipline (for example, mechanical) with some new courses, no big deal. If it's trying to do its own thing, then it might be more difficult. However they do have an established graduate program so that's a good sign.

So if it's not accredited, avoid it and do mechanical. If it is accredited it's really up to you. Biomed doesn't have the best job prospects, but there are jobs out there and they are super cool. Plus you could do grad school as well.
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A photo of IronMan IronMan
I am curious to know that if a program is recognized by the ministry of education automatically imply the fact that it is accredited ? I just think that it is a different program from mechanical engineering and it's actually structured based on the graduate program ! What I am eventually considering is transferring to a US top school bioengineering program if it doesn't work for me at McGill's new program !
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A photo of ktel ktel
It needs to be accredited by the CEAB: http://www.engineerscanada.ca/e/pr_accreditation.cfm

I can assure you transferring to a top US school will be incredibly difficult and is not a good back-up plan, which it sounds like you think it is.
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A photo of IronMan IronMan
Thanks again for your time and response, I have some more few questions. Do you know the procedure for a new engineering program to be accredited ? I mean is it possible that a program that is just starting next year to be accredited before even its first graduates ? What would you consider as the best pre-med program and a good back up aside from engineering ? Have you ever heard of any program ( in engineering maybe ) at any university that helps increase your chances of getting into med school ? I mean if it is pre-med oriented ? I know that pre-med literally only exists in the U.S but really hope to find the appropriate program because it's starting to confuse me, I really want to go for engineering but at the same afraid that it will kill my GPA that would destroy all chances of getting in my dream Top US med school !
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A photo of ktel ktel
I don't know the procedure exactly, but I know it is quite extensive. They routinely check in on all the university programs nation wide and require a great deal of material in terms of curriculum, assignments, tests, etc. Because McGill has an existing engineering program the procedure is probably a bit different than when a new university or new engineering program comes forward. You can contact McGill and ask them about whether the program will be CEAB accredited or not.

There is no 'best' pre-med program. It depends on the individual. There is no program that increases your chance of getting into med school. There may be some programs (eg. Mac Health Sci) that statistically have more graduates entering med school, but that's about it. So pick something that interests you, something that you could make a career out of, and something that you think you can do well in.
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A photo of IronMan IronMan
thanks for your response, actually I am considering Mac health sciences but I don't think it's a good back up plan in case not admitted to med school and that's not a secure program for med school barely 60 % of its graduate go to med school, not that many, the thing is I am dreaming high of a Top US med school such as Yale Med School and I need to get as high as at least 3.7 GPA to be considered competitive ! Do you have any info regarding Mac health sciences, would you advise me that over bioengineering ? do you know if the med school adcoms consider the fact that engineering is more challenging and probably look more at the pre reqs GPA rather than CGPA ? would they consider my GPA compared to the avr GPA of my class ? also, can you just explain me how this GPA is calculated ? is it related to the class average ?
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A photo of ktel ktel
60% is a HUGE number of graduates that go to med school. Are you crazy? What kind of statistics do you want?

I don't know a thing about Mac Health Sci. I'm not going to advise you anything. You really need to make the decision by yourself and stop being swayed so much by what people tell you. You really bounce all over the place. Wasn't it just a little while ago you were a huge eng sci fanboy?

Med school will look at your GPA, that's it. There's no evidence to support that they look at the difficulty of your degree. Taking a somewhat different path might make you more interesting in an interview, but that's about it.

Your GPA is calculated based on the grade you get in a class. Typically A and A+ are 4.0, A- is a 3.7, etc. The letter grade is assigned either based on your ranking in the class or based on raw percentage. The former means the class is curved, so the top 2% get an A+, the next 5% get an A, etc. The latter means it doesn't matter how well or poorly you do in relation to everyone else, it comes down to the percentage grade only.
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A photo of iliketurtles iliketurtles
Considering something like 5-10% of all med school applicants in Canada actually get accepted, 60% of an entire program making it (where not even everyone applies to med school) is an unreal number
I heard of someone who got into Hopkins med from health sci last year(?)...don't have that many details, but I would say Hopkins is comparable to Yale
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A photo of IronMan IronMan

@ktel wrote
Wasn't it just a little while ago you were a huge eng sci fanboy?


I truly WAS, I still strongly believe that Engsci is the best undergraduate engineering program in Canada but the thing with Engsci is that it will kill my GPA that I certainly need for med school !

Now, do you think it is better to go into ECE or MechE with a concentration on Biomedical engineering or go straight Biomedical Engineering ? , do you have any idea if this concentration fulfills Med school requirements ?

I mean as far as job prospects are concerned I think being an ECE or a MechE is far better than being a BiomedE !
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