Do physician scientists HAVE to do biomedical research?

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by TheShaker, May 3, 2012.

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  1. TheShaker

    TheShaker 2+ Year Member

    Jan 31, 2012
    I understand that the MD/PhD degrees are supposed to create doctors who research about medical issues but does this always have to be the case? I'm really debating whether I want to go for an MD/PhD or just a PhD because I have other research interests. I really do want to become a physician but I'd like to continue doing research in the environment and for bioremediation. Are MD/PhD's restricted to biomedical research or are they allowed to branch out? It doesn't seem so since most schools restrict them to certain labs during the research years.

    Also, on a side note, is it unheard of for someone to apply to both MD/PhD programs and PhD programs in the same cycle? I ask this because I am kind of a borderline applicant would like to get into at least something this cycle (I really don't want to spend a gap year doing nothing). I like research more so I don't think I'll be heart broken if I can't make it into an MD program but I'll be sad about not making it into a grad program. Sorry, I've just recently made the decision to pursue a research degree instead of purely a medical degree so I may be sounding a bit silly. Feel free to correct me or just tell me that I'm being naive.
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  3. StilgarMD

    StilgarMD 5+ Year Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    from personal experience, i go to Rutgers University, and i spoke with the director of the MD/PhD program. he said that if you are accepted to the MD/PhD program, you can be accepted to any PhD program at the school, whether it be Neuroscience or philosophy. i doubt you'll have such luck with MSTP (given the name and all).
  4. mercaptovizadeh

    mercaptovizadeh ἀλώπηξ 10+ Year Member

    Oct 15, 2004
    I think you should just go PhD. Unless you have a substantial desire to work with patients, don't do the MD.
  5. Ventric

    Ventric 7+ Year Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Just do the PhD if you're interested in stuff like bioremediation. I would guess it would be hard to really correlate that to anything clinically relevant, or at least to convince a department chair it is relevant..
  6. soundnin

    soundnin 5+ Year Member

    Jul 13, 2010
    lost in translation
    start researching individual schools early. it's not true at all that students are limited in the scope of what they are allowed to do for their phd. it really varies from school to school, depending not just on policy but also what the strengths of the school are as well. perhaps look at the schools you are interested in for the phd and if they have a med school... and so on and so forth.
  7. BrightandClear


    Jun 28, 2011
    I'd look into schools that offer/allow PhDs in Epidemiology and/or Public Health. Environmental health is a very important component of both of these fields, and it fits your interests. A couple of schools with strong public health programs that come to mind are Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vandy and Emory. There are definitely others.
  8. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd SDN Advisor SDN Administrator 10+ Year Member

    Mar 14, 2002
    the beach
    ... what does this have to do with being a doctor?
  9. a2ndragoon89

    a2ndragoon89 7+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2009
    I think if you were set on being a doctor, helping people, etc first and you recently found out that you enjoy research, you should consider pursuing the dual degree. I have a friend that wants to do an MD/PhD but he can't stand people. I told him to just go for a PhD because it's silly to want to gain that medical degree without a desire to want to be a physician too.
  10. Lil Mick

    Lil Mick 5+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2009
    The South
    There aren't a lot of schools that will allow you to do something like philosophy or math, but there are more that allow epi or psych or anthro. Send me a pm if you want to talk more or about specific schools. I know most of the ones allowing students to pursue stats/math, if you have any interest in those :)

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