ParabolaMDPHd

10+ Year Member
Feb 14, 2009
16
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MD/PhD Student
Im a recent matriculant into an MD/PhD program and thought I'd offer some advice. I know when I applied, I made the mistake of taking out the MSAR, and pretty much going down and applying to all the top rated schools. Many times schools that are prestigous for medicine can have shabby MD/PhD programs. This isnt the case all the time, many of the MSTP programs are at well known schools and are very good, but some schools have an MD/PhD simply to have one, and many times schools dont put a lot into it. I just figured I'd throw that out there. The school I am currently at was a school I applied to just because I had some family ties to the area and didnt have any intention on going there and in the MSAR, it had a rather low ranking. It turned out being probably my favorite school after interviewing and I thought it had one of the best facilities that I saw and it was a very ambitious program. Keep an eye out for good schools with programs and less prestigous schools with good programs. Well, thats my two cents.
 

bd4727

10+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2008
361
26
USA
Status
Attending Physician
Im a recent matriculant into an MD/PhD program and thought I'd offer some advice. I know when I applied, I made the mistake of taking out the MSAR, and pretty much going down and applying to all the top rated schools. Many times schools that are prestigous for medicine can have shabby MD/PhD programs. This isnt the case all the time, many of the MSTP programs are at well known schools and are very good, but some schools have an MD/PhD simply to have one, and many times schools dont put a lot into it. I just figured I'd throw that out there. The school I am currently at was a school I applied to just because I had some family ties to the area and didnt have any intention on going there and in the MSAR, it had a rather low ranking. It turned out being probably my favorite school after interviewing and I thought it had one of the best facilities that I saw and it was a very ambitious program. Keep an eye out for good schools with programs and less prestigous schools with good programs. Well, thats my two cents.
While true, this is a rarity. The medical schools have to contribute more to the MSTP budget than the NIH grant provides, so it is a big deal to establish these programs and there are a lot of people at the school keeping oversight of these programs. An applicant should be cautious of everything, but this particular concern is not one that is lurking behind every corner, IMO.
 
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ParabolaMDPHd

10+ Year Member
Feb 14, 2009
16
0
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MD/PhD Student
Im not sure if I understood you, but I was saying be wary of prestigious schools that are NOT MSTP. In general, all of the NIH funded programs are very good.
 

gbu730

bake dreams
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Jul 26, 2008
122
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New York
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Pre-Medical
This is probably a dumb question.........but how do you determine the quality of MD/PhD program from a school? I'm waiting for my MCAT scores to add schools to my application, but how do you find out how good their program is before going on interviews?
 
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ParabolaMDPHd

10+ Year Member
Feb 14, 2009
16
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MD/PhD Student
Not a dumb question at all because its actually quite complicated. First, a dead give away if its a good program is if its NIH funded, or an MSTP. Now some schools refer to their program as an MSTP program but arent NIH funded (im not sure who they are trying to fool), but the NIH should have the programs listed on their site I believe.

Finding a good MD/PhD program (non-NIH) funded is much tougher. Some pre-interview ways to sift through schools would be to look at some numbers. First, how many people do they accept. If it is one or two, probably not that serious about the program. Look for around 5+. Secondly, is the program fully funded (tuition waved + stipend). To fully fund an MD/PhD takes alot of money so if its fully funded and there are a decent number of people accepted each year, a school is putting a good amount of money into it. Once you have narrowed down some schools, check the literature and see if any of these schools are prominent researchers in your desired field.

The interview can tell alot about the program. If the school takes care your expenses (room, food or even travel), its generally a good sign. Not to say that we deserved to be pampered, but if a school is doing these things, it means they are willing to spend alot of money on 1) recruiting good applicants and 2) the program itself. If a school isnt spending money to get applicants, chances are they wont spend much money on matriculants either.
Chech out their labs and see how up to date they are, and furthermore, see what plans for the future the school has. Is it going to build new facilities, apply for certain grants, recruiting researchers in X field, etc.

I believe these are good ways to find a good program and hopefully a program that is a good "fit". These aren't the only ways, I'm sure others have things to look for.
 

JulyMorning

10+ Year Member
Mar 17, 2007
65
0
Delta Quadrant
Status
Medical Student
Not a dumb question at all because its actually quite complicated. First, a dead give away if its a good program is if its NIH funded, or an MSTP. Now some schools refer to their program as an MSTP program but arent NIH funded (im not sure who they are trying to fool), but the NIH should have the programs listed on their site I believe.

Finding a good MD/PhD program (non-NIH) funded is much tougher. Some pre-interview ways to sift through schools would be to look at some numbers. First, how many people do they accept. If it is one or two, probably not that serious about the program. Look for around 5+. Secondly, is the program fully funded (tuition waved + stipend). To fully fund an MD/PhD takes alot of money so if its fully funded and there are a decent number of people accepted each year, a school is putting a good amount of money into it. Once you have narrowed down some schools, check the literature and see if any of these schools are prominent researchers in your desired field.

The interview can tell alot about the program. If the school takes care your expenses (room, food or even travel), its generally a good sign. Not to say that we deserved to be pampered, but if a school is doing these things, it means they are willing to spend alot of money on 1) recruiting good applicants and 2) the program itself. If a school isnt spending money to get applicants, chances are they wont spend much money on matriculants either.
Chech out their labs and see how up to date they are, and furthermore, see what plans for the future the school has. Is it going to build new facilities, apply for certain grants, recruiting researchers in X field, etc.

I believe these are good ways to find a good program and hopefully a program that is a good "fit". These aren't the only ways, I'm sure others have things to look for.
1. Unless we are talking about Mayo Clinic, or Wisconsin - neither school accepts that many students in their incoming MSTP class.

2. In present economy, a lot of things will get trimmed. If you don't get your entire airfare paid for, don't automatically discount the program.
 
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ParabolaMDPHd

10+ Year Member
Feb 14, 2009
16
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MD/PhD Student
1. Unless we are talking about Mayo Clinic, or Wisconsin - neither school accepts that many students in their incoming MSTP class.

2. In present economy, a lot of things will get trimmed. If you don't get your entire airfare paid for, don't automatically discount the program.
Not quite sure what you mean here. Im a recent matriculant and several non-MSTP schools I interviewed at were excepting 5+.

The whole airfare thing was just an example to say that them spending money on you is a good sign, in whichever way or form.
 

bd4727

10+ Year Member
Jul 17, 2008
361
26
USA
Status
Attending Physician
The whole airfare thing was just an example to say that them spending money on you is a good sign, in whichever way or form.

Actually my impression about this is exactly opposite. All the schools that I interviewed at that were "top tier" did not pay anything for the first interivew. Whereas some lower tier and non-MSTP schools payed for some or all of the 1st interview. I think if you are Harvard you don't need to pay for people to come interview because they are going to come regardless. Anyway, I would be careful about using this to gauge anything.
 
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ParabolaMDPHd

10+ Year Member
Feb 14, 2009
16
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
I think your getting the wrong impression of my post. There are obvious very good MSTP programs. However, there are only so many spots for these programs, so not all of us can go to one of them. So all I'm saying is, going through the MSAR applying to non-MSTP the schools with the highest GPA and MCAT averages may not be the best way to go about it. So all I was doing was offering some advice on how to sift through the schools and find programs which are trying to boost/elevate their MD/PhD program, not slight to top tier programs or anything. I dont know about you, but i'll admit back when I was applying, I was pretty green to the entire process and program, so I was just trying to offer advice to those who might have been in a similar situation as myself.
 

JulyMorning

10+ Year Member
Mar 17, 2007
65
0
Delta Quadrant
Status
Medical Student
Not quite sure what you mean here. Im a recent matriculant and several non-MSTP schools I interviewed at were excepting 5+.

The whole airfare thing was just an example to say that them spending money on you is a good sign, in whichever way or form.
I apologize - I didn't read your original post carefully enough. You were advising to apply to non-MSTP MD/PhD programs that have 5+ students, which would imply that the school is serious about their combined degree program (certainly a reasonable arguement). I somehow misread that any MD/PhD program with less than 5 students isn't serious, which is, of course, not true, eg Mayo clinic MSTP & Wisconsin MSTP (both have entering classes < 5 students).