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DO vs. MD for a Canadian interested in pathology

Discussion in 'Pathology' started by, Apr 11, 2017.

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  1. 2+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2015
    Hello everyone,

    I have been accepted into a great DO school that I feel very comfortable at. I did not apply to any MD schools in the last application cycle. I am a Canadian student and I have always been interested in pathology. I got the impression from many people that it would be easy for me to match in pathology in the US. However, some people are telling me that an MD would significantly improve my chances of getting into pathology as not all programs sponsor visas to Canadian DOs. I know for US citizens the chances for matching into pathology are almost the same for both DOs and MDs. My questions are:

    1) Is there a significant number of pathology programs that would only take MDs and not DOs?

    2) Is there a significant number of pathology programs that would only sponsor visas for MD grads rather than DO grads?

    3) Would it really be worth deferring my acceptance to the DO school to spend another year reapplying to MD schools?

    4) (Canadian residents might be able to answer this). Would having an MD rather than a DO significantly improve my chances at matching in Canada, given that a) every year there has been many unfilled positions in pathology in Canada, therefore it should logically be easy to match as a DO in the unfilled positions at least, b) although it is said on paper that US MD grads match in the first iteration as Canadian MD grads, would this practically still be true? I would imagine program directors giving preference to Canadian MD grads than to US MD grads, which means that US MD grads end up competing for the remaining spots, just like DOs would in the second iteration and the IMG match.

    Any insight is appreciated.
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  3. DNC127

    DNC127 Im just here so I don't get fined. 2+ Year Member

    Jul 31, 2015
    The Mountains

    Quote from a girl at our school (DO school) who matched Pathology at a respected place this year when asked if she did research or anything significant to improve her app: "LOL no, anybody with a pulse can match pathology so I only applied to a couple places, and matched to my #1"

    Don't know if it is competitive... but she didnt seem to think it was haha.
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  4. 2+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2015
  5. 2+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2015
    Anybody else can provide me with further insight? Any advice is appreciated.
  6. coroner

    coroner Peace Sells...but who's buying? 10+ Year Member

    Aug 3, 2007
    22 Acacia Avenue
    If you go to a DO school, you should have no difficulty getting into path. This isn't derm or plastics.

    I don't know if being a Canadian-citizen DO vs Canadian-citizen MD (whether you go to Canadian med school or in US) will affect visa sponsorship for residency in the US. Every year hundreds of IMGs from China, India, and the Middle East come here for residency and get visas sponsored. Whereas if you did residency in the US, you would not be an IMG since you will have graduated from a DO school in the US regardless of your citizenship being Canadian. I would check with pathology residency programs or GME offices.

    I would not defer a year of starting DO school to get into MD school, unless you really want to go allopathic and have 'M.D.' behind your name. It also depends if you think your GPA and MCAT would be competitive enough to get in. If not, you may end up potentially wasting a year when you already could have started med school.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017 likes this.
  7. Wilderness_gal


    Oct 22, 2016
    Coming from a program perspective, it makes no difference with respect to recruitment or visa sponsorship if you are a DO. What can help make a small difference for some programs is taking USMLE Step 1 in addition to COMLEX. It makes comparison of applicants easier for programs and ensures you would get through a USMLE Step 1 screening filter.
  8. thebouque

    thebouque 5+ Year Member

    Nov 30, 2011

    Canadian path resident here. I know many provinces recognize the DO degree, but not all of them, so you should check that out.
  9. 2+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2015

    Thanks for the reply. Did you have any major issues matching into a pathology residency as a Canadian DO?
  10. ChiTownBHawks

    ChiTownBHawks 2+ Year Member

    Sep 17, 2013
    Actually, since 2013, all do. Unlimited practice rights in every province.
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  11. thebouque

    thebouque 5+ Year Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Ok according to Chitownbhawks all the provinces recognize DOs, that's great!

    Concerning your question, I'm not a DO I'm a Canadian MD graduate.

    Good luck !
  12. 2+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2015
    Thank you everyone for your replies. I have decided to go through with my DO acceptance, as everyone i have spoken to (including the responses I got here) has indicated that DOs do not face any difficulties in the field. I have even met a DO who is doing a high end fellowship in my subspecialty of interest.

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