Considering an MS in bioethics - before or after the MD?

topwoodsfan27

New Member
Nov 16, 2019
4
2
24
  1. Pre-Medical
    I am currently 24 and have just returned to school for my second to last semester of my organismal biology BS that I have been working on since the Fall of 2015, with two separate extended medical absences thrown in. I do have a 4.0 and know that I'm very fortunate to not have to worry so much about numerics, but have some other concerns about my potential. I happen to have a genetic connective tissue disorder and related chronic conditions and some of my doctors have suggested that medical school may not be the best option for my body. That said, I am not deterred and do think that I am in a position (after all of my previous surgeries and treatments) that should allow me to keep going. School is without a doubt draining but is also something that I genuinely enjoy.

    I did not decide to switch from pursuing veterinary -> human medicine until I was in my 20s and realized as a patient that I wanted to do more with my life to help those who are often underserved (with a particular interest in LGBTQ medicine). I haven't taken an official MCAT yet but my full-length practice scores are in the 508-514 range, and I do plan on dedicating a bit more time to get back to that level of preparation (or more) once I decide when to apply. I'm currently thinking of delaying my application until the Spring of 2023, though the idea of applying this upcoming cycle is hard to resist as I feel so far behind already and know I would be able to take the MCAT in the new year, a few months from now.

    That said, I am very strongly interested in getting a Master's degree in bioethics as it is something that I am passionate about and a field that I feel intersects very closely with the type of medicine I'd like to practice - not because I feel like it is a stepping stone or will make me a better MD candidate. I also do think that with an anticipated gap year or two, perhaps that is the best use of my time.

    As of right now, I am planning on getting the MS first and then going for my MD - but don't know if that's the best arrangement. Many of the programs I've seen mention working professionals going back to school, so that makes me wonder. I've also seen some MD/MPH and MS/MPH programs, but think the MPH may take me away from the individual patient aspect that I care so much about. Does anyone have any recommendations??
     

    JanetSnakehole

    I’m a very rich widow with a terrible secret.
    2+ Year Member
    Jun 18, 2018
    831
    1,922
    the West Coast
    1. Medical Student
      I think you do the MD first, then worry about a Master’s degree. Several medical schools have joint MD/MS bioethics programs so that could be an option. You can probably do a program at least partially online as a practicing MD.

      But the faculty I know with advanced degrees in bioethics use it to either teach bioethics or serve on bioethics committees. It seems like it helps them advance in their various administrative roles, but it doesn’t seem to directly impact their patient care in any significant way. You say you are unsure about an MPH because of a lack of an individual patient aspect, but it’s not like an MS in bioethics is going to be any better in that respect.

      Your gap year is likely best spent refining your ECs and studying for your MCAT. Don’t underestimate the time and effort this can require. Are your ECs in good shape?
       

      Dave1980

      Membership Revoked
      Removed
      10+ Year Member
      Jan 25, 2007
      1,080
      1,935
      1. Attending Physician
        I am currently 24 and have just returned to school for my second to last semester of my organismal biology BS that I have been working on since the Fall of 2015, with two separate extended medical absences thrown in. I do have a 4.0 and know that I'm very fortunate to not have to worry so much about numerics, but have some other concerns about my potential. I happen to have a genetic connective tissue disorder and related chronic conditions and some of my doctors have suggested that medical school may not be the best option for my body. That said, I am not deterred and do think that I am in a position (after all of my previous surgeries and treatments) that should allow me to keep going. School is without a doubt draining but is also something that I genuinely enjoy.

        I did not decide to switch from pursuing veterinary -> human medicine until I was in my 20s and realized as a patient that I wanted to do more with my life to help those who are often underserved (with a particular interest in LGBTQ medicine). I haven't taken an official MCAT yet but my full-length practice scores are in the 508-514 range, and I do plan on dedicating a bit more time to get back to that level of preparation (or more) once I decide when to apply. I'm currently thinking of delaying my application until the Spring of 2023, though the idea of applying this upcoming cycle is hard to resist as I feel so far behind already and know I would be able to take the MCAT in the new year, a few months from now.

        That said, I am very strongly interested in getting a Master's degree in bioethics as it is something that I am passionate about and a field that I feel intersects very closely with the type of medicine I'd like to practice - not because I feel like it is a stepping stone or will make me a better MD candidate. I also do think that with an anticipated gap year or two, perhaps that is the best use of my time.

        As of right now, I am planning on getting the MS first and then going for my MD - but don't know if that's the best arrangement. Many of the programs I've seen mention working professionals going back to school, so that makes me wonder. I've also seen some MD/MPH and MS/MPH programs, but think the MPH may take me away from the individual patient aspect that I care so much about. Does anyone have any recommendations??
        I wouldnt get an MS before med school. It is kind of a useless degree and will put you into deeper debt. If you have an MD the MS wont open any doors for you and it wont affect your application much either way
         
        About the Ads

        wholeheartedly

        Epi Geek
        Staff member
        Administrator
        Volunteer Staff
        10+ Year Member
        Verified Expert
        Aug 8, 2009
        6,646
        5,068
        Beyond the Wall
          I am currently 24 and have just returned to school for my second to last semester of my organismal biology BS that I have been working on since the Fall of 2015, with two separate extended medical absences thrown in. I do have a 4.0 and know that I'm very fortunate to not have to worry so much about numerics, but have some other concerns about my potential. I happen to have a genetic connective tissue disorder and related chronic conditions and some of my doctors have suggested that medical school may not be the best option for my body. That said, I am not deterred and do think that I am in a position (after all of my previous surgeries and treatments) that should allow me to keep going. School is without a doubt draining but is also something that I genuinely enjoy.

          I did not decide to switch from pursuing veterinary -> human medicine until I was in my 20s and realized as a patient that I wanted to do more with my life to help those who are often underserved (with a particular interest in LGBTQ medicine). I haven't taken an official MCAT yet but my full-length practice scores are in the 508-514 range, and I do plan on dedicating a bit more time to get back to that level of preparation (or more) once I decide when to apply. I'm currently thinking of delaying my application until the Spring of 2023, though the idea of applying this upcoming cycle is hard to resist as I feel so far behind already and know I would be able to take the MCAT in the new year, a few months from now.

          That said, I am very strongly interested in getting a Master's degree in bioethics as it is something that I am passionate about and a field that I feel intersects very closely with the type of medicine I'd like to practice - not because I feel like it is a stepping stone or will make me a better MD candidate. I also do think that with an anticipated gap year or two, perhaps that is the best use of my time.

          As of right now, I am planning on getting the MS first and then going for my MD - but don't know if that's the best arrangement. Many of the programs I've seen mention working professionals going back to school, so that makes me wonder. I've also seen some MD/MPH and MS/MPH programs, but think the MPH may take me away from the individual patient aspect that I care so much about. Does anyone have any recommendations??


          I would get it later, which could be done in med school, residency, fellowship or as an attending. You have a better chance of getting it funded and seeing how it will incorporate into your intended career path better at a later stage of training.

          The only caveat to that, since you brought up the medical issues, is if you’re hoping to test your ability to stay healthy for a year or two with the Masters before diving in to the gauntlet of medical training. That has the potential to go a few ways. You might stay healhty for two years because you’ve just gone through your treatments and surgeries and then have trouble start brewing once you start, you might have issues during your MS and never start med school, or you might do fairly well through all of it, or any other roller coaster combination of things.

          I would recommend you think very carefully about what your medical teams concerns are about you going to medical school. Be realistic. If you have a chronic and sometimes serious issues, medical school is the perfect storm to disrupt successfully managing it and to stress your system to set it off.

          If you still decide to go, you need to have a very good plan in place for how you will manage each of the issues that might arise and each one brought up by your medical team. You need to coordinate the transfer of care and get established right away when you start, etc.
           
          About the Ads

          Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

          1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
          2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
          3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
          4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
          5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
          6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
          7. This thread is locked.