Jan 8, 2021
I am currently a junior undergrad. I started college unsure of whether I wanted to get an MD or PhD, and I've come to realize that I think I would be happy doing both.

However, I don't know if I actually have a chance at being admitted. My strong suit is academics - I have two majors (neuroscience and cell/molecular biology) and a minor in statistics, and a public health certificate. My GPA is 3.9, and I tend to do well in difficult classes like organic chemistry.

I worry about lab experience. I am writing a literature review, because most research was halted once COVID shut everything down. I have plans for a research project, but I am not sure I will get funding. This means, that as of right now, I have no lab experience (other than courses). Additionally, I have done no shadowing or clinically significant volunteering since I was in high school. I plan on graduating in May 2022. Do I have enough time to start? Is it practically to think that I can get these experiences right now, with COVID and everything?

What can I do to improve my chances of being admitted to an MD/PhD program?
Jun 15, 2019
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I think you would most likely have to take a gap year or two to get your clinical hours up and do research. As it stands right now you probably wouldn't have a good shot at being admitted (to MD/PhD, or even individually an MD program or good PhD program)
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SDN Gold Donor
2+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2017
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  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
If you haven't had lab experience or clinical shadowing or volunteering, how do you know that MD/PhD is what you want to do? How do you know that you want to be a physician-scientist, seeing patients in the clinic + perpetually fighting to obtain research funding/manage a lab?

Successful MD/PhD applicants tend to be at least 2-3 years out of college with extensive experiences in research, so no shame in taking the time after graduation if this path is where you truly want to go down.
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5+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2016
Dione, Saturn
Status (Visible)
  1. MD/PhD Student
Yea as of right now you should plan on taking at least 2 years to gain research experience (~4000+ hrs at full time effort) and get whatever the minimum clinical experience you need. If you can publish that would be great - but at least get a couple posters/talks in. Your GPA is excellent so finish strong, and do well on your MCAT.

This is a long path so I suggest you speak to as many people who've taken it/are on it and see if this lifestyle is for you. There is no shame if it isn't. Check out the other threads on this forum to get some ideas of what applicants and trainees are doing.
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