Traditional wisdom tells you that, if you have your heart set on being a medical doctor, you should major in pre-med for your undergraduate degree. However, this line of thinking can land you into stiff competition and a lot of redundant courses.
In reality, doctorate programs want the best and brightest students from all backgrounds. Admissions officers are looking for the capacity to learn and excel, so it’s no surprise that some doctors majored in dance, foreign languages, archaeology or even general studies for their undergrad. Here are ten great options if you intend to apply for a doctorate program post-graduation.
Engineers learn how to solve problems, think on their feet and be methodical. All of these skills translate well into medicine. In addition, engineers are also quite employable in both the public sector and by government agencies immediately upon graduation. If you decide you need a gap year or three after your undergrad, you’ll have little problem finding work.
While you should only choose this major if you truly love the field due to the gruelling course load, biochem is one of the best undergrad majors you can have if you want to be a medical doctor. There will be some redundancy in medical school, which can actually be a boon if you’re a methodical learner.
“Your undergraduate major or masters focus should be a field about which you feel passionate”
As the population continues to expand and age, the medical field will require more gerontologists to meet demand. Medical schools look favourably upon this field, as do all other doctorate programs. You can’t go wrong with an ageing master’s degree, such as a Masters of Management of Aging Services or a Masters of Aging Studies. Gerontology is also a great choice if you haven’t yet decided which speciality you’d like to match.
While competition will be fierce if you want to be a physician (MD), biology is the perfect course of study if you want to be a doctor of optometry (OD). Optometry schools look for strong biology students and show them plenty of favours when it comes to admissions. Biology also prepares you for your OAT in fine detail.
5. Health and Physical Fitness
With plenty of sciences mixed in with practical applications, this field is great for future doctors of any type. If you decide to earn a teaching certificate, you can also take work as a PE teacher with this degree.
6. Dental Hygiene
For those hoping to be a dentist (DDS or DMD), dental hygiene will prepare you for furthering your education. Some dental schools give preferential treatment to applicants who majored in dental hygiene.
If you want to be a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm D), take pharmacy in undergrad. You can get a feel for the field, supplement with some shadowing and decide if it’s right for you. Pharmacy students also have no issue entering medical school, should your focus change.
8. Respiratory Therapy
If your interest is emergent medicine, urgent care or pulmonology, respiratory therapy should be your major. Not only is this career itself high in demand, it translates well into almost all other doctorate programs.
9. Speech-Language Pathology
From those wanting to earn their title as an audiologist (Au. D), speech and language pathology will help you to lay the framework of your higher education. The fields are closely related and there will be some redundancy should you continue on to study for your doctorate.
10. Animal Science
If you’re planning to become a veterinarian (DVM), animal science will boost your VCAT scores considerably. Animal medicine is very hands-on and requires a lot of experience, so you should choose to begin early.
Obviously, there are many different ways to become a doctor and there are many different kinds of doctors. Your undergraduate major or masters focus should be a field about which you feel passionate. Your grades and entrance exam scores will largely determine the fate of your application, not your major.
Submitted by Lizzie Weakley