Are there any engineers out there who are as amazed as I am at the way AMCAS treats engineering courses in calculating the GPA?

I was truly amazed to find that in calculating your GPA, AMCAS does not treat engineering courses the same way they treat math courses.

As a mathematician and engineer, I’ll be the first to say that there are some academic areas that are as demanding mathematically as any applied or theorretical mathematics curriculum. I can think of two such areas – economics and engineering.

I have two math degrees (BA with 3.7+ GPA and MA with 3.5+ GPA), and two engineering degrees (MS & Ph.D with 3.4+ GPA). In my years in the classroom, I’ve found that courses in economics and engineering are intensely mathematical to the point where mathematicians taking elective courses in these areas have done poorly. I’m one of them. During the pursuit of my graduate math degree, I, along with three other buddies from the mathematics department, barely survived two economics elective courses due to their mathematical rigor. The same is true for engineering. Going into my engineering program I thought I’d cruise through the courses due to my mathematics background. I was wrong. These courses are steeped in applied and theoretical mathematics, at least to the level of the traditional graduate mathematics curriculum (except for the more abstract realms in math).

Given the rigors of the engineering curriculum, I’d argue that more weight should be given to engineering courses. Does anyone have experience with petitioning AMCAS? Please share your thoughts. I don’t mind being the first to do so.

# AMCAS Treatment of Engineering Courses in GPA Comp

My Dad is an engineer, so I know what engineers do. Here are my thoughts on the subject for what they are worth:

I am ambivalent about counting math as a science, so I won’t go into that.

I thought that engineering is pretty much a professional degree in physics. If physics counts, why not engineering? Why not PA studies either. I am not sure they have solid reasons behind these, but I bet they are unwilling to bend.

As a behavioral scientist, I am baffled that AMCAS or AACOMAS, neither one, considers behavioral science as a science. True, there are few lab classes, but as someone who also has a degree in biology I can say that behavioral scientists are very rigorous in their treatment of the scientific process. More so, even than the “hard sciences” are.

In general, I believe that “pure” science, or art, or whatever, tends to diss the applied stuff. If only I got a new colored pencil for every time my mother dissed my craftiness, favoring “fine” art instead… I had a local college tell me in one breath that I was just what they were looking for, and then tell me I was unqualified to teach a statistics class because I don’t have a degree in math. Apparently, an advanced degree in statistics wasn’t good enough for them! Many scientists look down upon engineering, and I have heard that med schools also look down on the engineering degree, and the AMCAS designations seem to reflect that. To me, this doesn’t make much sense, since I regard medicine as human engineering, or a verrrry applied “science”, and it is precisely this that attracts me to medicine over straight science, which I find as dull as fine art. However (and maybe I misinterpreted the instructions) AMCAS allows you to pick how you want the classes designated. I was told by many people that I didn’t have to bother with physics lab, since I used to manage a lab, and I have plenty of engineering lab experience. We’ll see. But, on AMCAS, I counted several civil engineering classes for my Physics req, and I would challenge anybody who disagrees that it’s rigorous to try to pass a real calculus-based engineering mechanics class over the cotton-candy physics class for non-majors. I counted many engineering classes as math or science, and left other classes out, like managerial accounting (tho probably more difficult than the ubiquitous pre-algebra class for the typical bio major) or Industrial Relations. I classified civil and electrical engineering classes as physics and engineering courses like statistics and operations research as math. The real pain for me was that in my undergrad years, I blew off the science courses, preferring to get a 3.9 in my major, and now I have only a 3.6 in undergrad BCPM.