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applying MD-PhD with Computer Science major

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pioneer22

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Hi everyone,

Would MD PhD programs look unfavorably at an applicant applying with a major in Comp Sci, and not Bio / biochem?

Assuming mcat, grades and all else checks out. Research experience in computational biology / genomics, and the student intends to pursue a PhD in comp bio / genomics....would they be perfectly admittable or at a disadvantage?

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eteshoe

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    Nope. You'll be fine.
     
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    pioneer22

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    does anyone have any experience applying with a Comp Sci degree?
     

    pugsessed

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    As long as you have significant research experience (most of the time about 2 years) and enough upper level bio classes, I wouldn't see why you would be at a disadvantage.
     

    pioneer22

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    As long as you have significant research experience (most of the time about 2 years) and enough upper level bio classes, I wouldn't see why you would be at a disadvantage.

    How many is significant? ie. 2? does biochem count as upperlevel?
     

    Noctámbulo

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    How many is significant? ie. 2? does biochem count as upperlevel?
    Everyone is going to view this differently-- there is no black and white, numerical answer. Does your application as a whole indicate an ability to succeed in medical school? That's where your background in biology matters most. Otherwise, for the PhD, you could pursue work in the social sciences if you wanted to. If you have a solid foundation and experience in your indicated research interests, you are fine for the PhD portion-- just make sure you've fulfilled the medical school's course requirements/ recommendations.
     

    pugsessed

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    How many is significant? ie. 2? does biochem count as upperlevel?

    I would look at the medical school admissions to see what courses are required. If you take all those classes you should be fine.

    Some schools require upper level science classes. These vary between schools, however, sometimes it will be labeled as a 300 or 400 level class (some are labeled 3000 or 4000). It depends on the school. Example the course number would say BIOL 309 which would indicate microbiology at your university.
     

    ellealla

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    You should do it! You should also get a PhD in Computer Science. I am doing an MD and a PhD in Computer Science. There are SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES to combine CS with medicine. There are a ton of people in CS who really, really benefit from a medical perspective. I have been surprised by how helpful it is to have a medical background when tackling my research questions. It will let you avoid the common pitfall of designing a new method that is in fact entirely useless based on the way medicine actually works in real life. The key is to choose a program that will allow you to pursue a computational PhD. There are some MD PhD programs that explicitly restrict the types of PhDs you can pursue, e.g. only biological options. However, some MD PhD programs will let you pursue a PhD in whatever area you want, even if it's computer science. Just make sure you ask when you're interviewing, to ensure you end up at a program that will match your interests. I would highly encourage anyone interested in computation and MD PhD programs to choose an MD + computer science PhD. You will have more opportunities than you can possibly take advantage of, and you'll get to work with a lot of awesome people.
     
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    HomeSkool

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    You should do it! You should also get a PhD in Computer Science. I am doing an MD and a PhD in Computer Science. There are SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES to combine CS with medicine. There are a ton of people in CS who really, really benefit from a medical perspective. I have been surprised by how helpful it is to have a medical background when tackling my research questions. It will let you avoid the common pitfall of designing a new method that is in fact entirely useless based on the way medicine actually works in real life. The key is to choose a program that will allow you to pursue a computational PhD. There are some MD PhD programs that explicitly restrict the types of PhDs you can pursue, e.g. only biological options. However, some MD PhD programs will let you pursue a PhD in whatever area you want, even if it's computer science. Just make sure you ask when you're interviewing, to ensure you end up at a program that will match your interests. I would highly encourage anyone interested in computation and MD PhD programs to choose an MD + computer science PhD. You will have more opportunities than you can possibly take advantage of, and you'll get to work with a lot of awesome people.
    necromancy.jpg

    Please pay attention to the date of the last post before necrobumping a thread that was resolved five months ago...
     
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    Princeton Medical Student

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    You should do it! You should also get a PhD in Computer Science. I am doing an MD and a PhD in Computer Science. There are SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES to combine CS with medicine. There are a ton of people in CS who really, really benefit from a medical perspective. I have been surprised by how helpful it is to have a medical background when tackling my research questions. It will let you avoid the common pitfall of designing a new method that is in fact entirely useless based on the way medicine actually works in real life. The key is to choose a program that will allow you to pursue a computational PhD. There are some MD PhD programs that explicitly restrict the types of PhDs you can pursue, e.g. only biological options. However, some MD PhD programs will let you pursue a PhD in whatever area you want, even if it's computer science. Just make sure you ask when you're interviewing, to ensure you end up at a program that will match your interests. I would highly encourage anyone interested in computation and MD PhD programs to choose an MD + computer science PhD. You will have more opportunities than you can possibly take advantage of, and you'll get to work with a lot of awesome people.
    Mind if I PM you some questions? Comp sci major here.
     
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    Piglet2000

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    You should do it! You should also get a PhD in Computer Science. I am doing an MD and a PhD in Computer Science. There are SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES to combine CS with medicine. There are a ton of people in CS who really, really benefit from a medical perspective. I have been surprised by how helpful it is to have a medical background when tackling my research questions. It will let you avoid the common pitfall of designing a new method that is in fact entirely useless based on the way medicine actually works in real life. The key is to choose a program that will allow you to pursue a computational PhD. There are some MD PhD programs that explicitly restrict the types of PhDs you can pursue, e.g. only biological options. However, some MD PhD programs will let you pursue a PhD in whatever area you want, even if it's computer science. Just make sure you ask when you're interviewing, to ensure you end up at a program that will match your interests. I would highly encourage anyone interested in computation and MD PhD programs to choose an MD + computer science PhD. You will have more opportunities than you can possibly take advantage of, and you'll get to work with a lot of awesome people.
    Can you share which MD/PhD programs allow the students to choose any area for PHD including computer science? I agree with you that computer science combined with medicine can do amazing things!
     

    ellealla

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    I applied a few years ago and ended up applying to any MD/PhD program that would allow "computational biology" (it just so happened that the place I ended up also allowed computer science, so I did computer science instead.) Off the top of my head,some of the schools who allowed it at the time were: Duke, Harvard, UPenn, Stanford, WUSTL, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Yale, Weill Cornell, Columbia, U Pitt/Carnegie Mellon. Since it's been a while, policies may have changed, so this list may be longer/shorter if you were to apply now. Also, as an applicant I had asked more about comp bio, which may be in a different category than "CS" (though it's a pretty safe bet that if an MD PhD program will NOT let you do comp bio, they're not going to let you do CS, either. :) )
     
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