(mainly by prospective students and freshmen)
Should I take AP classes in high school, and if so, which ones should I take?
You should take as many as you think you can handle. These classes are usually smaller, better taught, and more challenging. Your high school teachers and guidance counselors can assist you in determining the best schedule. If you take AP Chemistry, you should be aware that unless you scored extremely well on the exam, we would recommend that you take it over, either the Honors Chemistry or the general Chemistry course. Chemistry is extremely important to both Biochemistry and Genetics majors, and we would prefer that students take ALL chemistry classes, including the introductory ones, at Texas A&M once admitted.
Will Biochemistry or Genetics prepare me for medical school?
Yes. Both degree plans include most prerequisite courses for health-related professional schools, including medical. Of the courses our degree plan doesn’t meet, students can use their general elective hours to fulfill those requirements. In fact, we require more courses than are necessary to take the MCAT. The extra courses will help you do better on the MCAT, and prepare you well for the professional school of your choice. Additionally, our majors prepare students for a number of other careers, including those in research and industry. About 80 % of our students who apply to medical school get accepted – best statistics at the university.
What do Biochemistry and Genetics students do after college?
Our students do a variety of things. About a third will attend professional school, a third will attend graduate school for a masters and/or Ph.D, and a third will do something else (e.g. get a job, law school, sales, etc.).
How restrictive are the degree plans?
Although there are a lot of required courses, BICH and GENE majors have general elective hours. These are absolutely FREE. Moreover, the core curriculum also allows you to broaden your academic horizons. You are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the many courses offered by world-reknown experts on a variety of subjects. Have fun, enrich your life.
What kind of support services do you provide?
We are a small department, and we do our very best to keep track of your academic and personal progress throughout your time with us. As freshmen, we invite you to a series of Monday meetings, GABEE, in which a variety of issues of interest to BICH and GENE majors are presented and discussed. We send letters of congratulations when you’ve achieved a 4.0, and we also send letters of concern when things don’t go so well. We have two active undergraduate societies offering students opportunities to gather for numerous intellectual and social interactions. Peer tutor lists are also available in the advising office.
I’m concerned about the huge courses and impersonal professors. Will I be able to get help when I need it?
One of the major drawbacks of a large research university, such as ours, is that undergraduate classes, especially freshmen ones, tend to be oversized and their professors, very busy with research. HOWEVER, you can make the best of this situation. First, if you’re not Honors eligible, get at least a semester GPR of 3.5 or better and register Honors in the subsequent terms. Honors courses tend to be small and personal. However, speak with an Honors advisor to see how the process works. Secondly, take advantage of instructors’ office hours. All professors have set hours when students can visit for whatever reason. Professors are also receptive to making appointments. Teaching Assistants can be enormously helpful, and may be more accessible than the professor. Academic help is always available. Just look for it.
What’s the recommended load for a freshman?
Course load will differ depending on the background and abilities of the student. However, we generally recommend 12 to 15 hours. It’s very important that students are not overwelmed. We want everyone to start out with a 4.0. Since incoming freshmen generally take Biology and Chemistry, we recommend starting a Math course as soon as possible especially if Math was taken senior year. All freshmen will also take an introduction to Biochemistry or Genetics course.
What’s the difference between a double major and a double degree? Can I be a double major and still graduate in four years?
A double degree requires you to complete both degree plans, and earn at least 30 hours in excess of the larger of the two degrees. A dual degree would be difficult to complete in four years unless the student came in with many AP credits and enrolled in summer courses. If you are interested in a double major with BICH and GENE, you need only 15 extra hours which can be easily achieved within four years.
What courses can I take at a junior college? Will they transfer?
You can take any lower-level courses at a community college except chemistry courses after you have been admitted. We don’t mind if you take core curriculum courses elsewhere. Transfer applicants, please view Admissions website for recommended coursework. If you want to know how a course will transfer, please refer to the Transfer Course Matrix.
What are honors courses, and who can take them?
In order to enroll in honors courses as an incoming freshman, a student must first apply to the University Honors Program and be accepted. Interest in applying can be done during the time of application to Texas A&M University via ApplyTexas. Once you have been accepted into the program, you can begin taking honors courses but you must maintain a 3.5 to continue. More information can be found via the Honors Program website.