I'm going to apply for PhD programs of biology or biomedical science. I understand that I need certain semesters of biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and mathematics. Because I'm going to graduate in four years while double-majoring in math and biology, I can't afford to take courses of various subjects, as I can take, except for subjects belonging to math and science, only one semester of social study and humanities, two semesters of foreign language, and four semesters of PE. Since my college has quasi-open curriculum, there's no problem with the credit requirement of my school.

But should I take courses of various subjects for my PhD admission? Does variety of courses taken in undergrad matter in PhD admission?

1 Answer 1


If you are attending universities outside of the US, you normally wouldn't have much in the way of diversity—almost all of your courses are directed toward the general area of your major. So it's not that big a deal not to have too many outside courses.

In general, though, I also think that admissions committees do not place as much weight on courses outside the major as courses in the major. If you are a physics major, for instance, a C in a US History course is not going to be as problematic as a C in electricity and magnetism.

  • I'm actually attending an university in the U.S. I knew that admission committees don't place much weight on courses outside the major, but I'm surprised to hear that the variety also doesn't matter so much. Thanks for your answer. Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 5:30
  • It is not about courses being in/out of the students major, but relevant to the PhD department. The C in US History is going to hurt the Physics major a lot if he/she applies for a PhD in History.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 15:52

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