sixpence

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I think I'm honestly interested in research but I don't want to spend 5-6 years doing a phd or doing an MD/phd (I probably couldn't get into a program anyways) so I'm debating doing a masters program. I was already planning to take a year off so although I'd have to take two years off I'd be using that time somewhat wisely? Is this a reasonable reason to take time off before med school? Will a masters degree help any in the future if I want to go into academic medicine, specifically infectious diseases?
 

Wheee

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I think this is a new program, but it sounds like something you might like: http://microbiology.georgetown.edu/masters/biohaz/ (edit: it's also possible to do it as a combined md/ms)

also, don't forget you can do research with 'just' an MD. you'd have an edge if you were md/phd but there are plenty of MD researchers
 
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sixpence

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I think this is a new program, but it sounds like something you might like: http://microbiology.georgetown.edu/masters/biohaz/ (edit: it's also possible to do it as a combined md/ms)

also, don't forget you can do research with 'just' an MD. you'd have an edge if you were md/phd but there are plenty of MD researchers
It says the deadlines are

MS Application Deadlines!
Fall Semester: August 1st
Spring Semester: November 1st

Does that mean you apply like a month before the program starts?
 

Mattabet

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It says the deadlines are

MS Application Deadlines!
Fall Semester: August 1st
Spring Semester: November 1st

Does that mean you apply like a month before the program starts?
It probably does. We lose sight of it here, but it's important to remember that MD admissions are a ridiculous, inhumane process. A lot of master's programs (not to speak to the one above) really struggle to fill their ranks. It's not uncommon in non-professional post-graduate work for the school to pay the student a stipend to attend. Ph. D. - better than free!
 

Tots

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I think they pushed back the deadline. I think the old deadline was July 1st. That program looks really interesting!
 

NickNaylor

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I would second doing research during med school if you want to go that route. The MD will still allow you to do as much research as you want. It might be more clinical based, but it's research nonetheless.

If you don't care about spending the extra time getting the MS, then go for it. I think, though, you'll have plenty of opportunity to do research if you want to do it.
 
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I would support this decision. After undergrad i felt i wanted to do a little bit of more research work, so i obtained a ms in biochemistry. Many people will argue that it wont help considerably and this may be slightly true. I have really benefited from the masters degree (and i'm not talking about the 1 year program-- smp). I have extensive research publications in top journals, i feel like my science understanding is at a much higher level than before. And ultimatly, it has helped me mature. This will make doing research much eaiser in the future, after you decide to take a break from medicine, or do it concurenlty.

goodluck
 

witness23

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I would support this decision. After undergrad i felt i wanted to do a little bit of more research work, so i obtained a ms in biochemistry. Many people will argue that it wont help considerably and this may be slightly true. I have really benefited from the masters degree (and i'm not talking about the 1 year program-- smp). I have extensive research publications in top journals, i feel like my science understanding is at a much higher level than before. And ultimatly, it has helped me mature. This will make doing research much eaiser in the future, after you decide to take a break from medicine, or do it concurenlty.

goodluck
you could, theoretically, get this by emailing some profs (who are hiring/have grants) that you are interested in a career of research and that you want a research specialist job with a potential for independent research. this way, you avoid the masters tuition/cost. in this economy, i would avoid the burden of additional debt if possible

why not go to the NIH?
 

Narmerguy

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I would not support getting a masters. The masters affords you very little by way of research over what a simple MD could get you after you've graduated. If you're interested in academic medicine I would advocate simply trying to get research work while in medical school (some schools build this in). You can also get a lot of meaningful research in during post residency in a fellowship (a lot of academic physicians take this route).

Either way, a masters doesn't get you that much in this country and I actually remember reading an article where masters students/graduates complained how little it afforded them. Granted, you'll have an MD as well but the benefit of the masters will be very limited.
 

austinap

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I think I'm honestly interested in research but I don't want to spend 5-6 years doing a phd or doing an MD/phd (I probably couldn't get into a program anyways) so I'm debating doing a masters program. I was already planning to take a year off so although I'd have to take two years off I'd be using that time somewhat wisely? Is this a reasonable reason to take time off before med school? Will a masters degree help any in the future if I want to go into academic medicine, specifically infectious diseases?

From my experience, I'd suggest either getting the PhD, or skipping it altogether. The MS won't help you in any real sense, but it may be a good experience. However, most masters students I know get to do very little actual research. Two years isn't enough time to really develop your own project and see it through to the results you'd like. It's hard to tell a complete scientific story in that time.

The one possible exception to this would be with people that start a PhD program and leave with a masters. Most PhD programs are organized around the research, so courses don't take up as much of your time. With the right project, it can be possible to get meaningful results in that time. For a more realistic research experience, consider applying for a short-term tech position in a lab, or try to do a year long 'visiting scientist' type of project. That way, you won't waste time doing coursework and can instead focus on figuring out if you really want to do bench research.
 
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sixpence

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thanks everyone. i was planning on just doing research in my year off and I guess that sounds like the best thing to do. some of those masters programs seem like $40000 which is pretty expensive if its not going to do much. hopefully i can find a place that will pay me...
 

austinap

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thanks everyone. i was planning on just doing research in my year off and I guess that sounds like the best thing to do. some of those masters programs seem like $40000 which is pretty expensive if its not going to do much. hopefully i can find a place that will pay me...

I haven't heard of any masters programs that will pay you, however most PhD programs do. You can get some scholarships for masters programs, but they aren't extremely common. The main reason for this is that many people want to get a masters as a quick way to boost their salary (and many times a company will foot the bill for their employees, so they can justify it in part by that).

One thing to consider would be doing a masters along with your MD. Many schools will allow you to complete that for the same price as the MD alone, so that isn't an unreasonable option. You can also do research during med school without getting the degree.
 
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CaliforniaKid

My masters program paid me. I've had 3 publications (which is not bad for 2 years) and one of these publications is in science. Do not believe everything you read in these forums.
 
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CaliforniaKid

I have never heard of a master's degree paying you. That beats the whole purpose of a school offering a degree. PhD programs pay you, but that is money from your PI.
Are you serious?

While i don't know where you get your information, I can tell you that if you have good marks as an undergraduate you can get into a competitive masters program that will pay you for your tuition in exchange that you get support from a PI and agree to become a teaching associate for selective classes.

That is how it works at my school, and how I fund my education.

To the poster suggesting NIH. Great idea, but It is very difficult to get a research position with the NIH.

OP, do your research and be cautious of what you read in these forums.
 

URHere

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I would not support getting a masters. The masters affords you very little by way of research over what a simple MD could get you after you've graduated.
The MS won't help you in any real sense, but it may be a good experience. However, most masters students I know get to do very little actual research. Two years isn't enough time to really develop your own project and see it through to the results you'd like. It's hard to tell a complete scientific story in that time.
I am going to have to disagree with this. I took an extra year to finish an MS program out of college, and I completed a very healthy project during that time. I really value that year of my life, because it allowed me to take full responsibility for my project - including dealing with grant, defense, and publication hoops.

Not all MS programs may be like mine was, but I think that if you choose wisely and are determined to pursue real research that it can be an amazing experience.

As for research experience coming from medical school, I would argue that unless you pursue a research fellowship after residency that you will not learn much of value with respect to research. I have several classmates doing clinic research this summer, but those doing bench work are going to come out of their labs with less experience (and less understanding of the research) than the techs who are there long term.

If you can get in touch with an NIH lab you are interested in working with, the NIH may be a very feasible option.
 

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One thing to consider would be doing a masters along with your MD. Many schools will allow you to complete that for the same price as the MD alone, so that isn't an unreasonable option. You can also do research during med school without getting the degree.
That's exactly what I was going to suggest. :)

Sixpence, my school (CCLCM) is a five year research MD program. You can get an MS at no additional cost if you want, or you can just do the research year and get an MD with research distinction. The medical school part is tuition-free, and the research year pays a stipend. So total cost for all five years is whatever you take out for living expenses during your four medical school years. It would be around $90,000-$100,000 if you take out the full amount. But that's the absolute worst-case scenario if you don't have some kind of outside support or some money saved up. Also, a few people get stipends during med school too and end up being fully funded (tuition plus living expenses) for all five years.

There are some other schools that offer five year MD/MS degrees besides CCLCM. The ones that come immediately to mind are Pitt, Harvard, and AECOM. And like austinap said, you could always take a fifth year for research during med school even if there's no formal five year program. I think probably any med school would let you do that.
 

Narmerguy

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I am going to have to disagree with this. I took an extra year to finish an MS program out of college, and I completed a very healthy project during that time. I really value that year of my life, because it allowed me to take full responsibility for my project - including dealing with grant, defense, and publication hoops.
I understand that you're a lot better acquainted with research than I am, however I too considered enrolling in a masters program (it's complicated). When I actually talked to some of the members of the school about it, they encouraged me not to do it and strongly believed that there would be better ways to achieve research experience. For the record, they would have paid for the masters.

Irregardless of that little anecdote, I feel like one still would not explicitly need to be a part of a masters program to receive the benefits that you cited.