BME and PreMed: can you do both?

Rhea Choudhury Biomedical, Rhea, Study, Viterbi Life, Work 0 Comments

Hey guys, what’s up!! Real quick, congratulations to our new Trojans; our first wave of acceptances went out this past week, and if any of you are reading this, major MAJOR props!! You guys have worked so hard for this, and I hope you fall in love with USC, a school that will help you nurture your incredible intellectual curiosity and give you endless opportunities to succeed.

LA County Hospital rooftop. I visited the hospital through my emergency medicine class I’m taking this semester!

One of the first things we talk about when introducing ourselves to people on campus is our major. Hey, my name is Rhea Choudhury and I’m a sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering– if you meet me on campus and introduce yourself, there’s a 90% chance I’ll say those exact words. We talk about majors because we can kind of lump people into categories based on what they’re studying: the engineering majors want to be engineers, the natural science majors are premed and the cinema majors want to go into the film industry. It’s easy to steer conversation when you can size people up in a single question. However, biomedical engineering is one of those amazing interdisciplinary majors that allow you to go in a ton of different directions. Many go into consulting or industry, working more on the business side, whereas some go into research or academia. A few, after studying engineering for four years, aspire to go into medicine. That’s the little niche where I fit.

But how can you do engineering and premed? Is that physically possible? Are you stressed and super competitive and paranoid 24/7? Why would you do BME and not just human biology or pure biology?

Me in high school after a surgical internship. Scrubs rock fyi

At USC, the BME program is structured so that you take all the basic sciences in your first few semesters. You go through bio, chem, physics and ochem, covering all the requirements for the MCAT as part of the major curriculum. Lump in psych and sociology (which fit into the GE system very easily) and you’re literally done with the MCAT curriculum. With all the additional engineering classes required for the major, you get an extremely well rounded experience- sciences, math, and the applications of both to medical fields. Being BME and premed means that not only do I understand the biology and chemistry of the body, I also understand the mechanics of it, and I get to learn how I can harness technology to solve medical emergencies. BME lends a different perspective to the world of medicine, one that I, as a very hands on, real-world oriented learner, have come to appreciate a lot.

Here’s the short answer: BME and premed is tough. You take difficult classes, you have to get good grades, you inherit all the stress that comes with a normal premed student. HOWEVER, with a degree in BME, you learn to approach medical issues with a problem-solving mindset; engineers are problem solvers, and the body is pretty much one massive machine. I take classes with premeds for my minor (Healthcare studies, read more about it here), and I can absolutely say that being a biomedical engineering major has given me a unique perspective in a lot of the problems we discuss in those courses. Doing that minor is a great way to get involved with the premed community, and there are ton of clubs (Red Cross, Interhealth Council, Hospital Volunteer orgs) that allow you to be integrated into the premed world while studying engineering. I personally chose BME because I love problem solving, science and math, but I always wanted to be a physician. Once I came to USC, I learned that I could do both, and I’ve never looked back since.

If you’re interested in medicine, but love tackling real-world challenges and building tangible solutions to problems, go BME. BME = Best Major Ever!!!

That’s all I have for today, fight on guys!


Rhea Choudhury

Rhea Choudhury

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