banana k

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at the risk of being an idiot and asking questions others have asked...

i'm pondering MSTP, only i'm going at it the complicated way. my BSc is in zoology from a university in australia, and my research and in-progress publications are all on cardiotoxicity of jellyfish venoms. i'm starting next year at a straight-up MD program at university of sydney. but, as happens when you sink your teeth into really cool research, i'm getting a bit hooked... MD/PhD has been mentioned to me as a possibility, but more as a speculative "you should do this" than a "here's how you do it" thing. NOW. i know the way it works in the US is that you get accepted to designated universities with MSTP grants and spots specifically allocated for MD/PhD programs, and the government or funding body gives you the scholarship and stipend to keep you going for that long haul.

what i'm wondering is what EXACTLY is this funding body? is there only one? are there md/phd scholarships to be had for non-designated universities (i.e. U Sydney)? can you create-your-own-program, as it were? is there a web page with "how to do md/phd"? they haven't got a formal MSTP in australia, at least that i know of. so if possible i'd love to wring money out of the US somehow, given that 7 years is quite the tuition fees to come up with.

if anyone even knows the overseeing body where i could inquire with the powers-that-be about this, i'd be obliged.

cheers
k
 

Gfunk6

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There is not an overseeing body, per se.

It works like this, the NIH (specifically the NIGMS branch) gives out MSTP grants to medical schools on a competitive basis. Schools can be given fully-funded MSTP positions to the tune of two to a dozen or more. These medical schools can run the MSTPs as they see fit and have full rights to accept or reject those they see fit. However, every five years or so, each MSTP undergoes an audit by an NIH team and they are either renewed, put on probation, or have their grant revoked.

With that said, the MSTP fellowship is meant to be given to US Citizens and Permanent Residents. However, I know a few schools with MSTPs that have private funds that can go to extremely well-qualifed foreign applicants.

In addition there are a slew of private medical schools who do NOT have MSTP funding from the US Federal Government but run an MD/PhD program with their own private funds. Obviously, these programs are under no oversight and can give out spots as they see fit.

Finally, it IS possible to pursue an MD and a PhD separately in your home country. Generally, this will take longer than an MSTP, will not be very well-integrated and, you run the risk of staying out of clinical medicine or research for long periods of time. Unfortunately, this can lead to stagnancy of your skills in these respective areas.

As to your final question -- my understanding is as follows. Under no circumstances will you receive money from a US medical school (either public or private) to pursue an MD/PhD program in your home country. The point of these grants is to increase the number of physician-scientists in the US after all.
 

freddytn

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In addition all MSTP funded programs can only accept US Citizens / Permanent Residents and I imagine the majority of the other individually run MD/PhD programs do as well (depending on restrictions set by the university / state / or other sources of funding).

My only suggestion is if you are intent on pursuing an MD/PhD under a combined degree program, there are only a few countries I am aware of that offer these options (the US, Canada, Switzerland, and Germany). However, beware that each of these countries may have restrictions similar to the US about citizenship. My best suggestion is to pursue each degree individually (unfortunately though doing your PhD in the United States, you won't be charged tuition and then you will receive a stipend). As for the MD degree, there are other ways to support yourself (the way that several MD/PhD students in the US also support themselves) via teaching assistantships, loans, and grants/scholarships offered through your school's financial aid office. Many MD/PhDs who have completed the training separately have gone on to successful careers.

In response to governing body, although the NIH (US), and the canadian version of the NIH, and the Swiss NIH/NSF all fund these MD/PhD programs. Many often forget that the individual graduate schools and medical schools also invest heavily in the training of MD/PhDs. Even at MSTP institutions, usually there is not any one student that is on that same funding all 7-8 + years of funding. The NIH NRSA F30 fellowships and the similar ones in Canada are the only ones that fully support a student from receipt of the award until graduation.
 
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banana k

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let me clarify - i am a US national, undertaking a US-equivalent medical program, that happens to be set abroad but still qualifies you for matching in the US. given as i can't get money out of the Aussie government since i'm a foreigner here, US grants are my ticket.