Aug 8, 2017
2
0
I'm considering medical school in order to pursue a career as a researcher. I'm also considering a PhD instead of MD to become a PI, but that's another conversation. As I'm interested in research being a large component of a future career, I think I would probably need to get into a top ranked MD program (happy to be told otherwise though)! Please help me gauge whether this is a realistic goal/how competitive I could be in order to help inform my PhD vs MD decision (not considering both because I don't want to be a student forever). I've included some of my background below.

Academic background:
Canadian university undergrad: 3.83/4.3 cGPA, bachelor's in computer science honours
Canadian university MPH in epidemiology: 3.89 GPA, 2 practicums in research hospital

Work experience:
Sept 2016 - current: research manager in neurology at children's hospital (study design, data analysis, manuscript writing, grant writing, etc)
Feb 2015-Sep 2016: research assistant in neuroimaging (developed analysis pipelines, data analysis)
Summer internship at electronic health records company (software development)
NSF REU on studying brain connectivity in autism using graph theory analysis
2009-2014 - Fitness instructor
2007-2010 - Crew at McDonald's

Publications (several are still in prep but will be submitted soon; all relatively low impact):
2 - 1st author
5 - 2nd author
1- 3rd author
1 - 5th author

Other
-Chancellor's scholar during my undergrad (full ride)
-dual US-Canadian citizenship
-girl scout throughout childhood; currently a girl guide leader though will likely have to suspend this once I start taking prereqs

Given that I haven't written the MCAT and need to do all of the prereq courses, I'm probably, at the earliest, 2 years away from applying I think.
 

etp123

5+ Year Member
Aug 25, 2014
338
258
Status
Pre-Medical
If your end goal is research then just go for a PhD not an MD. I would suggest an MD/PhD but you've mentioned that's rather off the table. The training you get in the respective degrees are very different. PhD prepares you for a research life, how to develop experiments, how to read and compose literature, the ins and outs of daily lab function, grant writing, blah blah. Then you transition to doing post-doctoral work and with luck into a professorship. To me it seems like getting an MD would not be optimal for your career goals since med school will train you more on patient care and treating diseases, and if that's not your end goal it seems a bit of a waste.

With your stats you stand a good shot at getting accepted to a great PhD program, so I'd look into that more. Best of luck!
 

futuremdforme

5+ Year Member
May 12, 2013
885
676
Status
Non-Student
For your goals and background, MD PhD is the obvious choice even though you're not keen on it. Yes, you're a student for longer but you also have a better chance of having it paid for. There are some schools in Canada where you could apply without the MCAT. MD PhD is 7 years, but a PhD alone can often take 5 or 6 so it's not necessarily that much longer.

I think you're very competitive for top MD schools in both Canada and the US.

In terms of MD vs PhD, what do you want to research in? I would look at the top papers in your field, figure out who the PIs are, and gauge their credentials. But focus a bit more on the young people who have recently broken into the field.
 
OP
M
Aug 8, 2017
2
0
For your goals and background, MD PhD is the obvious choice even though you're not keen on it. Yes, you're a student for longer but you also have a better chance of having it paid for. There are some schools in Canada where you could apply without the MCAT. MD PhD is 7 years, but a PhD alone can often take 5 or 6 so it's not necessarily that much longer.

I think you're very competitive for top MD schools in both Canada and the US.

In terms of MD vs PhD, what do you want to research in? I would look at the top papers in your field, figure out who the PIs are, and gauge their credentials. But focus a bit more on the young people who have recently broken into the field.
Thanks for the comment. Most of the recent papers in my area of interest are by MDs, sometimes MD/PhDs, so unfortunately, it doesn't seem like a PhD only is a good way to go unless I want to pivot and look at animal models/mechanisms of my area of interest.
 
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