Nov 29, 2019
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Hello, I have a question about specifying interests in oncology on fellowship application. My research background in undergrad/medical school/residency has had been varied with clinical malignant heme, basic and clinical solid tumor, and translational immunotherapy research. My goal is a strong academic institution for fellowship and then academic career and involved in clinical/translational research.

My question is on interviews how specific do I need to be on the career I’m interested in? I know I want to do oncology as opposed to benign heme, but I don’t know if I have a specific oncology field I’m dead set on. I can certainly choose one to say on interviews if I need to and I could show genuine interest and not be lying. At the moment I’m leaning towards more solid tumor but personally would want to complete a malignant heme/BMT rotation in residency before closing that avenue down as I’ve got a real interest in CAR T cell therapy from prior research.

Should I choose a specific oncology field during interviews then wherever I match re-evaluate my interests once in the program and seeing the available faculty? Thanks


10+ Year Member
Sep 15, 2008
I think it's perfectly acceptable (and mature) to say you're open to different fields if you are - most reasonable faculty will understand that interests can change over the course of fellowship and that you don't have to have the next 25 years of your life (/academic plans) perfectly mapped out.

I do think if you do have a very specific / niche research interest and want to work with a particular lab/advisor/group during fellowship, mentioning this interest and trying to interview with the appropriate people during the interview process can be useful to get a sense of if a place is right for you.

That being said, even amongst the 3-4 of my co-fellows who were very clear about who they wanted to work with when they started fellowship / seemed to have a very clear set life plan for what they wanted to do, most ended up doing something completely different.
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