Dreaming about M.D./PhD

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Hednej, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. Hednej

    Hednej ***** Level 60

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    I'm applying M.D. this year but I've had a change of heart and I think M.D./PhD might fit me better for different reasons. I don't have that much research experience though, not nearly enough. So I was thinking I could do research my last year, and then do one of those summer research programs this summer. Would that be enough for me to apply to M.D./PhD in my MS1?
     
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  3. penguinophile

    penguinophile MetalHead
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    If you do research your entire last year and summer, that should be enough research as long as you get good grades your MS1 year. Granted, depending where you are you might have stiff competition, but just make sure its quality research. Probably the best thing to do would be to seek out a lab doing translational research so that you know what you are getting into since that is usually the focus of MD/PhD programs.
     
  4. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    If you've never done any research, what made you suddenly decide that you want to get a PhD? I'm not trying to be flippant or mean; I just genuinely don't understand your change of heart based on what you've written. I do think that doing the summer research and/or working in a lab would be a good idea just so that you can find out whether you even like doing research. And I would say that you should do enough research that you can get at least one PI to write you a strong LOR for your applications. :luck: to you.
     
  5. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Agree with this -- thinking you want to be a scientist without trying it is like thinking you want to be a doctor before seeing what they do. It smacks of ill-conceived throught process. Try research. If, after doing so, you like it, then maybe that's the path for you. But if you just like the idea of multiple degrees, credential or think you can get into a better school via that route, maybe that's not the right gameplan. Also bear in mind that you can absolutely do research as an MD, particularly clinical research, (although certain IM paths lend themselves to bench work too,) and that a number of med students take a year off to do research along the way to bolster this credential, so to the extent you want research to be a part of your career, you can certainly do so via just the MD route.
     
  6. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus

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    A couple of my friends backed into the M.D./Ph.D. program after MSI. It's possible. One of them was an 'early assurance' scholar so he ended up with his M.D. and Ph.D. without ever taking the MCAT or GRE. Anyway, while a Ph.D. is definitely not essential and many physicians pick up research experience along the way, nothing can beat this type of focused training if you are certain that research will be a huge part of your career (you didn't say how much experience you have). If this is the case, I submit you you that token research experiences during medical school are simpy not enough.

    The M.D./Ph.D. program is definitely not for the faint-hearted and so if your major motivation is anticipated financial gains later, financial comfort during medical school, or expected favor by residency program directors, then I would strongly urge you not to do it.
     
  7. Reimat

    Reimat Friend of talking skulls

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    I applied MD/PhD last year and decided at the end of the whole process just to go MD only. First, let me say doing some research this year and over the summer probably will not be enough to get you into a combined degree program. Most applicants have significant ongoing research that they are deeply involved in and knowledgable about. If you are seriously thinking MD/PhD is for you, you should immediately consider dropping your application for next year, working a year or two as a research assistant, then reapplying MD/PhD. If this idea sounds awful to you, then you probably don't want to do a combined degree.

    The most important feature about being a medical scientist is that, like previous posters have said, it requires serious fortitude and a committment to research above practicing medicine. I knew this through the whole application process, but it didn't really sink in until the end. When I realized I'd prefer to practice and see patients, I realized the MD/PhD wasn't worth it. If you think financially it's worth the extra time - it's absolutely not. You'll be spending an extra 3-7 years in school/fellowship - the typical MD/PhD spends ~12-14 years in med school and residency.

    I don't mean to make MD/PhD programs sounds terrible, but they require a committment, and is a BIG decision to make. Look into some more and think about taking some time off after graduating to do research if you're really interested.

    Oh, and I have great respect for all those MD/PhD's out there - I met many awesome one's on my interviews :) .
     
  8. Evil Monkey

    Evil Monkey Disgruntled Primate

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    Several MSTP programs accept MS1 students at their own institution. Of the students I know that have successfully done this, most had substantive research experience from undergrad and came to the decision to pursue an MD/PhD after applying for/being accepted to straight MD programs. If you haven't done research before and intend to test the waters during MS1, I wouldn't anticipate having a quality experience... there simply isn't enough time you can allocate to research and still do well in MS1 classes. Most programs are going to want to see that you have spent several years doing meaningful research and that you appreciate what it means to do real scientific study prior to committing a funded spot to you. However, the only true way to know what their requirements are is to ask. Call up the MSTP or MD/PhD office and tell them of your intent. They will likely give you an idea of the feasibility. Otherwise, do research during your MS4 electives and go the academic route in residency... this is quite common and the NIH does have a loan repayment program for such people.
     

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