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Difficult to Transfer into MD/PhD?

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DeadCactus

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How hard is it to transfer internally into an MD/PhD program? Is it generally much harder than applying in the first place?

If you were on the fence about what route you wanted to go; would you be better off trying for MD/PhD (to avoid trying to transfer) or straight MD (to increase your chances of an acceptance at the med school)?

Edit:

On a related note, is there a significant financial drawback (or any other drawback for that matter) to doing a PhD in residency or fellowship as opposed to during medical school?
 

marctam86

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would you be better off trying for MD/PhD (to avoid trying to transfer) or straight MD (to increase your chances of an acceptance at the med school)?

does applying MD only give you a better shot?

i dont think so, i think its hard to compare, as they each look for different things.

i couldnt imagine getting interviews md only. i have no clinical experience. yet, i have 6 interviews so far for mdphd.
 

Neuronix

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How hard is it to transfer internally into an MD/PhD program? Is it generally much harder than applying in the first place?

Depends on the program.

If you were on the fence about what route you wanted to go; would you be better off trying for MD/PhD (to avoid trying to transfer) or straight MD (to increase your chances of an acceptance at the med school)?

Depends on your application. If you're going to get into MD/PhD you'll probably get into it if you apply straight off the bat. If you're not going to get into MD/PhD, odds are you won't if you attempt to transfer in.

On a related note, is there a significant financial drawback (or any other drawback for that matter) to doing a PhD in residency or fellowship as opposed to during medical school?

If you get funding, as most MD/PhD students do, you will incur no medical school debt as you will have full tuition waiver and make a stipend. If you do a PhD in residency or fellowship you will have student loan debt. There are loan payback programs, but they are competitive and rare and often don't pay back all of your debt.

I hope I have answered your questions. I think you need to decide if you see yourself in a 80%+ research career. If so, apply MD/PhD. If you're not sure or don't want that much research, you don't need a PhD and you shouldn't apply MD/PhD.

Good luck deciding!
 

QofQuimica

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Your three main options if you want to do medical research are to consider going for an MD, MD/MS, or MD/PhD. What you decide to do should be governed by your career goals, not by which type of program you think would be "easier" to get into. As other posters have mentioned, different types of programs look for different kinds of backgrounds in their applicants, and they prepare their students for different kinds of careers. So, what is your goal? If you want a bench (basic) science career, a PhD (or at least an MS) would be useful. If you don't want to do basic science research, you don't need a PhD. There are some five year programs that offer formal training in clinical research and award an MS if you want to do clinical research. Alternatively, you could do a research fellowship during or after residency if you decide to go with an MD-only program.

You didn't mention considering this as an option, but I think it's still worth saying that whatever else you decide to do, don't apply PhD-only if you know you want an MD. It's a lot easier to go MD-to-PhD than it is to go the other way around.
 

DeadCactus

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I didn't mean to sound like I am trying to pick based on which is easier; I simply thought that if I was unsure perhaps I should go MD only (under the belief that while clinical experience + research was standard for MD/PhD it was above par for MD only) to maximize my chances on the part of my education I am sure of and then fitting the PhD somewhere else once I am more certain.

"I think you need to decide if you see yourself in a 80%+ research career."

My problem, in a way, is that I could very easily see myself in such a career. I'd be perfectly content running a lab and practicing a little clinical medicine one or two days out of the week and I am confident that this will not change as I grow older.

At the same time, there are things on the clinical side of medicine I would also be very content doing and which I really would like to pursue (but would doubtfully have time to pursue as an MD/PhD). I'm less sure that these interests won't change, but I am not concerned with them changing to the point that I would be discontent with my career.

Part of me says to just go MD, I'd be happy there and spend less time in school.

Part of me just can't stand the idea of passing up the opportunity to get an MD/PhD and even so of giving up my involvement in basic science and engineering.

I've got to admit; there are worse places to be than picking between two directions you'd be happy to go in...
 

Neuronix

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I simply thought that if I was unsure perhaps I should go MD only (under the belief that while clinical experience + research was standard for MD/PhD it was above par for MD only) to maximize my chances on the part of my education I am sure of and then fitting the PhD somewhere else once I am more certain.

The "I'll apply MD because it's easier" is often not true, but it depends on the applicant. I think on this forum we like to put out there that MD/PhD programs are harder to get into so people who aren't serious about it won't apply, but in many cases it's not true and I think some people who would be fine MD/PhD applicants don't apply because they're scared off. By the way, the vast majority of MD applicants who interview at my school have research experience. Most don't have the same breadth and depth as the MD/PhD applicants.

If you have A LOT of research, on the order of 2+ years and decent numbers, it can often happen that you'll get into a better MD/PhD program than you can MD program. MD programs will view all that research as just another EC. MD/PhD programs view it as vital to your app and a main thing to compare you on. MD programs will view clinical experience as vital to your app, whereas many MD/PhD programs don't really care. The average numbers for MD/PhD are higher, but the admissions is more formulaic. You don't have to throw in all the randomness inherent to MD admissions and regional selectivity you have with MD programs (not a problem for you in Texas, was a huge problem from my home state). So, I do believe there is a type of applicant out there weak on clinical experience with a lot of research and good numbers who is a stronger MD/PhD applicant than MD applicant. In your case I just don't know.

But still, you have to decide what's right for you.
 

j-weezy

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If you have A LOT of research, on the order of 2+ years and decent numbers, it can often happen that you'll get into a better MD/PhD program than you can MD program. MD programs will view all that research as just another EC. MD/PhD programs view it as vital to your app and a main thing to compare you on. MD programs will view clinical experience as vital to your app, whereas many MD/PhD programs don't really care. The average numbers for MD/PhD are higher, but the admissions is more formulaic. You don't have to throw in all the randomness inherent to MD admissions and regional selectivity you have with MD programs (not a problem for you in Texas, was a huge problem from my home state). So, I do believe there is a type of applicant out there weak on clinical experience with a lot of research and good numbers who is a stronger MD/PhD applicant than MD applicant.

quoted for truth. I consider myself a much stronger MD/PhD applicant than MD applicant.
 

DeadCactus

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Is there anything wrong or any flaw in the idea of applying MD/PhD simply to keep my options open? (Assuming I am either more competitive for MD/PhD or equally competitive for both.)

Edit: Not keeping my options open as in "I might decide on a whim to pursue a PhD later", but "I am truly interested in pursuing a PhD, but not 100% sure yet and would like to push off the decision for another two years to investigate things more."
 

meowkat444

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define "wrong" or "flawed."

annoying to the rest of us who definitely want the md/phd slots, sure. but you gotta do what's best for you, and people do it every year i bet. hell, i mean, i'm only 99.9999999% sure i want a phd.
 

IBleedGreen

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Is there anything wrong or any flaw in the idea of applying MD/PhD simply to keep my options open? (Assuming I am either more competitive for MD/PhD or equally competitive for both.)

Edit: Not keeping my options open as in "I might decide on a whim to pursue a PhD later", but "I am truly interested in pursuing a PhD, but not 100% sure yet and would like to push off the decision for another two years to investigate things more."

I was in a similar position when applying to med schools. I had 3 years of research background but wasn't certain if I would like the clinical aspects of medicine with more exposure. (And part of me doubted my qualifications for getting into an MSTP program... I should have found this site sooner!) So I applied to regular MD programs, but on my interviews I asked the programs about and expressed interest in the possibility of entering some form of a combined MD/PhD if I decided I wanted to do that my 1st or 2nd year at the school. Some schools accept students into their formal MD/PhD program after matriculation (I think UChicago was that way?), but most will just give you a leave of absence to work on a PhD without additional funding.

During my 1st year of MD I decided I really wanted to get the PhD too, so I applied to graduate school of our university... now I'm on my 2nd year of PhD work and I'm happy I'm getting it in addition to the MD. But I'm not receiving MSTP funding, so I'm currently searching out alternative sources. Looking back, it would have been a much better decision for me to apply to MSTP programs to begin with, but I just wasn't really sure what I wanted at the time. You're the only one who can make that decision as to where you stand. BUT, if you really want a PhD, the opportunity is always there (albeit without a tuition waiver).
 
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