Felixworks wrote:but I heard someone say that it's not a good idea to specialize that early. That there are few jobs for someone with a B.S. Biochemistry, and that it won't make it easier to get a Master's either. They suggested that it would be better to get a plain Biology, Chemistry, or related degree. Opinions? Experiences?
I can speak from the "other side"; that being a current uni professor and a (former) partner in a biotech startup.
Whomever told you the above has no clue as to what they are talking about (in some aspects). The vast majority of people will specialise in undergrad, and unless you're med-school or professional-school (i.e. MBA) bound, you'll hamper your future job prospects by not specialising. Even when it comes to getting into grad school, specialisation is usually required. Personally speaking, I only take students who have specialised in one of three areas (biochem, cellular biology or immunology) into my lab. Entry into professional schools and med schools is little affected by specialisation, as the vast majority of the weight put into your entry is simply your undergraduate mark plus your grade in the entry exam (i.e. MCAT for med school). Keep in mind that by specialising, you'll develop significant knowledge in a specific area; by not specialising you'll limit yourself to general knowledge of a slightly larger area of knowledge. Meaning, when you're competing for a job/program, you'll be at a disadvantage to those who specialised in the relevant area.
The one thing your source did get right is that there are few jobs for someone with a BSc in bchem - although I would extend that to a BSc in any biological discipline. The job market for biologists is crap right now - both in academia and industry - but even before the economic shit hit the mortgage fan, the job market for BSc's was minimal. Biotech/pharma companies want masters/PhD's for sales/R&D; same is true for technician and administrative positions in academia. over the past ten or so years the job market for BSc has largely dried up, as masters/PhD degrees have become much more common, and therefore those degree holders have swamped the job market.
Hope that wasn't too depressing.