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I'm currently a second year undergraduate student at UCSC well on my way towards a double major in Computer Science and Chemistry. I'm interested in either pursuing a graduate degree in Chemistry (potentially Computational Chemistry) or a job in Software Engineering. I would love to teach Chemistry but Computer Science is something I'm also good at and pays well. My current plan towards graduation is 5 years.

My question is this: how negatively would changing to a Computer Science B.S. with a minor in Chemistry affect my graduate admissions? Doing so would allow me to graduate a year or more sooner and still keep my options open. I've worked two summers of a Software Engineering internship and plan to pursue undegraduate research starting third year. Any other advice?

Thanks!

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  1. It would not directly impact your chances at admissions. If graduate school (either MS or PhD) is your goal then tailoring the work you do in undergrad towards working on research projects should be your focus. Talk to professors you like about their work, and see where they need additional support is a great way to start.

Talking to people who are knowledgeable about your specific situation is the best way to get started. Being able to demonstrate you have experience with various research methods and have an inquisitive mind are the best way to really orient yourself towards doctoral programs in my experience. If chemistry is where you want to focus, working with that faculty and getting substantial coursework in that area would help make sure admissions committees understand your qualified in these areas. Sorry, this is a very general response, but given your position it is most useful to know that really just pursuing research opportunities is the most important thing.

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  • Thanks for your answer! With regards to starting research, my current plan is to take an Honors Organic Chemistry lab which allows for investigation of my own topic. I'd then start as a research assistant either in summer or the start of my third year. Would starting earlier be beneficial?
    – piguy
    Sep 13, 2023 at 4:12
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Having only a minor in Chemistry could hurt your chances of admission to competitive graduate programs in Chemistry. Having a minor in Chemistry should have no impact (positive or negative) on your chances of getting into a competitive graduate program in Computer Science.

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