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Boston U MD/PhD vs Tufts MSTP

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by hypophora, Mar 12, 2018 at 7:14 AM.

  1. hypophora


    May 25, 2017
    So, considering between these two schools. BU's program is NOT MSTP funded and will not provide a stipend for the 4 med school years. Med school tuition is still remitted and during the graduate years you're paid like any other grad student. Tufts' program is an MSTP with all the benefits that implies.

    Primary research interest is neuroscience (esp. neurodegeneration) and BU has a much larger and more diverse (and I think stronger) research faculty in neuro compared to Tufts.

    Does anyone want to weigh in on relative benefits of a potentially stronger research environment vs. being funded all 8 years + the "MSTP prestige"?

    Both schools are pretty close to each other in Boston so I don't think there will be an appreciable difference in quality of life between the two (aside from stipend).
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  3. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich Moderator Rocket Scientist 2+ Year Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    I would go to a funded program over a non funded program, hands down no questions asked. A lot of non MsTPs are still capable of providing a stipend with tuition waiver for med school years. Is that not the case w BU?
    TurtleGnome likes this.
  4. Fencer

    Fencer MD/PhD Director Physician PhD Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Oct 10, 2007
    I second Lucca's comment.
    TurtleGnome likes this.
  5. hypophora


    May 25, 2017
    It really is the case that BU does not provide a stipend for the 4 med school years of the program. It does seem kind of strange to me that they don't, given that they are a pretty good medical school and have pretty high tuition for their MD students! I honestly have more research faculty at BU I would be interested in working with, but I suppose you only get one thesis advisor in the end.

    In your opinion what is the factor that makes the stipend the crux of the thing? My impression is that the quality of life change and career benefit (freedom from graduating debt free) from being funded would be the primary significance.
  6. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich Moderator Rocket Scientist 2+ Year Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    Yes, obviously having money and no debt is preferable to not having money and having debt.

    If an md PhD program doesn’t pay for med school it just shouldn’t exist imo lol.
  7. HamiltonPineapples


    Nov 18, 2017
    Not OP, but:

    BU covers tuition for all years. But only provides a stipend during the PhD. So the loans would solely be for living expenses.
  8. bluelamin

    bluelamin 2+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2015
    i think BU used to be an mstp but its not anymore
  9. hypophora


    May 25, 2017
    Yep, Hamilton is correct.
    IDK if BU ever was an MSTP, actually.
    I'm really trying to weigh this decision carefully. Any other opinions or insights would be appreciated, especially if you know anything about either of these two programs specifically.

    Here are my "reasons to go to each school":

    larger research faculty in neuroscience, especially neurodegeneration (my big interest area)
    better ranked (for what that's worth)
    I already know people there (students and faculty)

    it's an MSTP (they will pay me a stipend during the med school years, also prestige)
    strong institutional support for MD/PhD students
    nicer facilities
  10. emergencyblimp


    Feb 26, 2018
    Would it be possible to be at Tufts but work with BU faculty of interest for your PhD? Idk how it is up in Boston, but I interviewed at a couple other cities that have a high concentration of medical schools, and they all mentioned how easy it was to collaborate across institutions. Something for you to consider/ask about, seems like that might give you the best of both worlds.

    Are there any people at Tufts that you'd be interested to work with? If so, I'd just take the fully funded program. As someone said in another thread where someone was debating MSTP versus an unfunded program: "The debt, even if it just two years of med school, will come back to haunt you and may limit your willingness/ability to pursue an academic career by the time you are done training in your mid to late 30s."
  11. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd Administrator Physician PhD Faculty SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Mar 14, 2002
    the beach
    MSTPs don't generally allow this. If they're paying for everything they generally keep you in house or affiliated institutions with rare exceptions.

    I would take the fully funded program for sure.

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