Baylor MSTP vs Vandy MSTP vs Harvard MD-PhD (not MSTP)

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


New Member
Sep 19, 2019
Reaction score
Posted this in the Physician Scientist forum, but I thought here would be a good place to get feedback, too. Please delete if this is against policy.

Hi all,

I am grateful to have acceptances to Baylor MSTP, Vandy MSTP, and Harvard MD (NP&HST, can affiliated into the PhD program but still have to pay most of MD tuition). Seeking informed opinions as I weigh my choice.

Disclosure: Currently leaning toward Vandy and Baylor, away from Harvard, but I take informed, experienced advice seriously.

Career goals: I plan to complete residency/fellowship at a competitive research residency and later run a lab at a medical center. I have deep interest in seeing that knowledge generated in an academic setting is pursued and delivered to its logical end in an industry setting, and industry money is excellent for driving PI/II clinical trials, so my end-stage career will likely be partial to complete involvement in biotechnology/pharmaceuticals.

Degrees: BS mathematics, BS biochemistry

Research interests: immunology, applying and creating computational tools to solve biological problems

Extra-career values: My family and personal life are tremendous generators of satisfaction in my life. I plan to start a family of my own sooner rather than later. I enjoy hiking, fishing, rock climbing, and music (I was a jazz musician, mostly into rap/hip-hop and jazz now).

[+ = pro, - = con]. Please offer additional pros/cons I may not have thought of.
All institutions
+diverse research opportunities in my interest areas

Baylor MSTP
- Houston seems boring to live in for 8 years (disputes welcome)
- less developed biotechnology sector than Boston means delayed experience with industry
+ close to my family
+ Houston is cheap, stipend goes a long way
+ Baylor MSTP match list this year was >50% top-tier, northeast spots
+ enormous medical center

Harvard MD-PhD (no MSTP)
- massive cost disadvantage compared to the MSTPs (~100K loans, time value of MSTP money, etc)
- farther away from my family
- smaller stipend during PhD years (unless F award), higher cost of living in Boston --> lower quality of life
- less support from faculty, by all informed accounts
+ near-guarantee of a top-tier, top-choice residency
+ early exposure to biotech industry, with jobs available to MD students
+ connections. HMS grads are represented well in respected roles in academia and industry.
+ prestige
+ beats the other two re. research opportunities

Vanderbilt MSTP
- farther away from my family
- less developed biotechnology sector than Boston means delayed experience with industry
- smaller medical center
+ tremendous support from MSTP faculty
+ best "gut feel" out of any place at which I interviewed
+ perennially excellent match list, like Baylor
+ Nashville has access to lots of hiking and activities that agree with my lifestyle

Major remaining questions for the community:
Q: Does associating with Harvard for medical school provide a career benefit that would merit turning down a fully funded offer and joining a HMS-affiliated hospital later?
  • My initial thought is that this cannot be true, but still he allure of the opportunities available to HMS students remains in the back of my head.

All thoughts welcome, informed ones most valued.


Members don't see this ad.


Full Member
Aug 29, 2019
Reaction score
oooh...this is a tough one. Just my opinion on this, but based on your career goals, it seems Harvard would be the best choice out of all those. However, you also stated that family is the most important to you, in which case Baylor should be the choice. So just based on what you stated was important to you, I would say Baylor is what I would choose. Also, Houston is not too bad. It's just really hot in the summers and it floods sometimes. lol. Anyway, I would pick Baylor.

P.S. That's a really cool research interest. Immunotherapy is hot right now. I got my Master's in immunology so I might be a little biased.
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user