mtnman

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holy cow. it sounds like you actually want to stay longer than 8 years!
 

BDavis

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adoggie said:
I read that people there usually can stay longer than 8 years.. does anyone know more details about this? Is it still free?
I think there are several MD/PhD programs where people stay more than 8 years; at Baylor, most of my classmates will graduate in 9 years and the range is from 7-11 years with the average being close to 8-9 years. We are funded for the whole period of time; I would assume Harvard's policy is similar, but I don't know that their averages are like.
 

whoa nusse!

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Does anyone know when and how (snail mail, email, phone) Harvard is supposed to let us know of their decision? Will we hear from the MD side (HST, NP) and the MD/PhD side separately?
 

Habari

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you'll get a call from the mdphd side. the np/hst acceptance will come in the mail, either shortly before or after.
 

whoa nusse!

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Hey habari what institution are you attending? Do you know other details about the hst/np and mdphd post-interview admissions process at harvard? Thanks.....

W. Nusse
 

Habari

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i'm at the tri-I (cornell/rockefeller/ski). there isn't much more to know - basically you'll get a large packet from the np/hst people, and a call shortly after from the mdphd people. there is a waitlist, which i believe one is informed about my mail, but there is phone followup. the waitlist does move a bit, and they make attempts to arrange other sources of funding if possible. [this is assuming things haven't change since my year]
 

whoa nusse!

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Hey habari tri-I is a great institution and only few can rival the opportunities available there. I am wondering, did you have a hard decision to make when you decided to attend? What schools were you considering in the end and why did you decide on tri-I? Thanks......
 

Habari

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Hey habari tri-I is a great institution and only few can rival the opportunities available there. I am wondering, did you have a hard decision to make when you decided to attend? What schools were you considering in the end and why did you decide on tri-I? Thanks......
i did have a couple decisions to make, as do many at the end of the season, and chose the tri-I for a number of reasons - though it's mostly a matter of taste and style at the end, rather than finally figuring out which of ones choices is the 'best'. it seems almost silly in retrospect [this isn't meant to trvialize, because it does certainly loom large on ones personal radar at the time], because though i was right about focusing on some things, others factors i thought about at great length seem trivial, and many others that i never thought about are much more important. for example, though i have sought it out, i didn't invision the magnitude of influence nyc itself would have on my social life, and eduction - both in school and out.

i should also mention that my applications, impressions and decisions were based strongly on my interest in pursuing a neuroscience phd. about one month after joining a program, i realized that i had a stronger interest in infectious diseases, and have pursued that ever since. quite a change, considering the lens through which i viewed the research at different schools.

to answer your question more directly - i was certain i was attending about 5 or 6 different schools for stretches of time before i went to the triI revisit and realized it was the place for me. some schools that come to mind are ucsf, ucla(caltech), washU, columbia and yale - there were others i can't quite remeber. my most difficult final decision came down to ucsf and here, but i ended up coming here for a number of reasons. it may seem odd that i chose triI over ucsf, or columbia, for instance, considering my interest in neuroscience at the time of my decision. i suppose that speaks to personal idiosyncracies, and that purely objective factors don't always take precedence. a good friend of mine, and classmate intially thought i was foolish for turning down ucsf, and others in my class thought him foolish for turning down harvard mstp. on the other hand, triI was many of our top choices. of course, there are many people at other schools who chose not to attend triI.

i've become a poor cheerleader for triI vs OtherSchool, for a number of reasons: 1) i think despite the confusion of the end-decisions, most people have a sense for what they want 2) what people are looking for in programs, and what they want out of a program can differ a great deal and 3) i think the idea of vigorously convincing someone to attend the same institution that you do smacks of insecurity. i still feel strongly about triI, and don't mind speaking about my likes and dislikes - but perhaps i'll save that for another thread or a pm, if someone wants.

for me, the decision making process faded very quickly, as i suspect it does for most. finding labs, dealing with med school and enjoying the city/friends quickly take precedence.

but i'll let this get back to the thread topic. there are a number of harvard mdphd people who occasionally check this site- they are the best source of info about the way their program does admission notifications.
 

whoa nusse!

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You're awesome Habari! Thank you so much for the insight. Could you mention some of the things that, in retrospect, are very important to keep in mind and the other things that did not turn out to be as important? While this would of course vary from one person to the other, I'd really appreciate your thoughts. Thanks again. :)

-w Nusse
 

whoa nusse!

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On a side note, I confirmed from the program office that the HST decisions have been finalized and forwarded to the MSTP program. HST is sending out letters first thing Monday morning the 7th...MSTP has yet to conclude their deliberations. Goodluck ladies and gentlemen!

-w Nusse
 

Caduceus

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adoggie said:
I read that people there usually can stay longer than 8 years.. does anyone know more details about this? Is it still free?
Well, I doubt that too many people *want* to stay longer than 8 years but it is very common, at a number of schools, and yes the years beyond 8 (up to 10 AFAIK, possibly more) are indeed covered by the MSTP grant so long as you stay full-time enrolled. The length of your stay is partly in your hands but also depends on many factors totally outside your control, e.g. structure of the program and requirements of your PhD department, which will often vary wildly even within the same school. Also there’s always the luck of the draw with your thesis project. You might hit the jackpot and jump into a mature project for which you can start immediately doing meaningful work. OTOH you might have little to show for Project #1, be forced to ditch it, start from scratch with Project #2, and only barely glean enough data to make it interesting over many more years. Serendipity—that’s science for you.

You should try to be as efficient as possible with your work but, remember, you may have to pursue something longer than other people depending on how the chips fall with your work. Don’t fall into the trap of obsessing with some arbitrary timepoint at which you’ll be done—your project’s done when your committee says it’s done, period, and you should maintain your focus on what has to be accomplished to complete your work. Otherwise you’ll go crazy.

Remember, the average PhD alone in the biomedical sciences these days takes 6-7 years (and often many more!). As a dual-degree, you’re piling another incredibly tough degree (4-5 year MD) on top of this. Some programs do allow MD-PhD’s to omit some of the PhD requirements, but many really don’t—in mine e.g., I had to do almost everything, i.e. almost all the classes, PQE, teaching, and the other various and sundry requirements that the PhDs had to meet. I’m sorry, but there’s just no way anybody’s going to get through this type of program in 7-8 years; 9-10 years is the norm. (And I know of a few 11-12 years as well.)

Be realistic about this. You may get lucky (or find a lab or department that whisks you through) and finish in 7-8 yrs. Most likely, you won’t—it’s just too damn hard to finish all the prereqs and then do a top-quality thesis. So there’s a good chance you’ll spend close to a decade in your MD-PhD program. Use this fact to help you decide if you really want to do the dual-degree, and also in deciding where you’ll be happy enough to spend 9-10 years.
 

whoa nusse!

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Thanks for your insight, Caduceus. Would you be willing to share which school you are currently at? I'd be very interested in knowing more about your experiences at your institution.

Sincerely,

WN!


Caduceus said:
Well, I doubt that too many people *want* to stay longer than 8 years but it is very common, at a number of schools, and yes the years beyond 8 (up to 10 AFAIK, possibly more) are indeed covered by the MSTP grant so long as you stay full-time enrolled. The length of your stay is partly in your hands but also depends on many factors totally outside your control, e.g. structure of the program and requirements of your PhD department, which will often vary wildly even within the same school. Also there’s always the luck of the draw with your thesis project. You might hit the jackpot and jump into a mature project for which you can start immediately doing meaningful work. OTOH you might have little to show for Project #1, be forced to ditch it, start from scratch with Project #2, and only barely glean enough data to make it interesting over many more years. Serendipity—that’s science for you.

You should try to be as efficient as possible with your work but, remember, you may have to pursue something longer than other people depending on how the chips fall with your work. Don’t fall into the trap of obsessing with some arbitrary timepoint at which you’ll be done—your project’s done when your committee says it’s done, period, and you should maintain your focus on what has to be accomplished to complete your work. Otherwise you’ll go crazy.

Remember, the average PhD alone in the biomedical sciences these days takes 6-7 years (and often many more!). As a dual-degree, you’re piling another incredibly tough degree (4-5 year MD) on top of this. Some programs do allow MD-PhD’s to omit some of the PhD requirements, but many really don’t—in mine e.g., I had to do almost everything, i.e. almost all the classes, PQE, teaching, and the other various and sundry requirements that the PhDs had to meet. I’m sorry, but there’s just no way anybody’s going to get through this type of program in 7-8 years; 9-10 years is the norm. (And I know of a few 11-12 years as well.)

Be realistic about this. You may get lucky (or find a lab or department that whisks you through) and finish in 7-8 yrs. Most likely, you won’t—it’s just too damn hard to finish all the prereqs and then do a top-quality thesis. So there’s a good chance you’ll spend close to a decade in your MD-PhD program. Use this fact to help you decide if you really want to do the dual-degree, and also in deciding where you’ll be happy enough to spend 9-10 years.
 

Habari

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Be realistic about this. You may get lucky (or find a lab or department that whisks you through) and finish in 7-8 yrs. Most likely, you won’t—it’s just too damn hard to finish all the prereqs and then do a top-quality thesis. So there’s a good chance you’ll spend close to a decade in your MD-PhD program
i do agree with some of the things that Caduceus said, but i have to say that there absolutely no reason for 9-10 years to be the norm, and i assiduously avoided programs where this was the case - because it reflects poorly on the program, and/or the institutions committment to the program. does just 2 extra years in an already lengthy program make a difference? to me, it absolutely does.

while i agree that there is no point fixating on a number for the sake of getting out in an arbitrary amount of time, there are structural decisions made to a programs design that do make a difference. things like having a grad school that has no teaching requirements (but available if one would like them), minimal course requirements (caltech and rockefeller come to mind - there are others), summer rotations that begin before med school starts (i wasn't pleased about this on the outset, but it was great and a good idea), a director that attends and is welcome at your committee meetings when you feel like you should be wrapping things up, and the possiblity of only spending 1.5 years in the clinics post-phd, if you choose.

if one worries about sacrificing the quality of their thesis in order to get out faster, it should be clear that those things are not coupled. there are certainly programs that have been reprimanded by the nih for effectively giving out 'md/phd discounts' with regards to the phd, in order to get students out faster. this is something one should look into before matriculating at a program - it needn't be the case - there are many programs that maintain the time/quality balance successfully.
 

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Habari said:
i do agree with some of the things that Caduceus said, but i have to say that there absolutely no reason for 9-10 years to be the norm, and i assiduously avoided programs where this was the case - because it reflects poorly on the program, and/or the institutions committment to the program. does just 2 extra years in an already lengthy program make a difference? to me, it absolutely does.
I agree. At my program (Iowa), they say the average is 7.5 and I think that is pretty much right on - half the folks do it in 7, half do it in 8.
 

Neuronix

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Habari said:
i do agree with some of the things that Caduceus said, but i have to say that there absolutely no reason for 9-10 years to be the norm, and i assiduously avoided programs where this was the case - because it reflects poorly on the program, and/or the institutions committment to the program. does just 2 extra years in an already lengthy program make a difference? to me, it absolutely does.
I 100% agree. The average at Penn is 7.54 years. Harvard is notoriously bad for graduation times for various reasons, and applicants should be well aware of that before choosing their program.
 

whoa nusse!

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Habari said:
are certainly programs that have been reprimanded by the nih for effectively giving out 'md/phd discounts' with regards to the phd, in order to get students out faster. this is something one should look into before matriculating at a program - it needn't be the case - there are many programs that maintain the time/quality balance successfully.
Habari,

Specifically which programs have been reprimanded by the NIH in this manner? Also, which have been reprimanded for being on the other end of the spectrum and keeping their students for too long? This is extremely important information but not readily available as far as I know. Thanks.

-WN!
 

milliardo_L

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whoa nusse! said:
Habari,

Specifically which programs have been reprimanded by the NIH in this manner? Also, which have been reprimanded for being on the other end of the spectrum and keeping their students for too long? This is extremely important information but not readily available as far as I know. Thanks.

-WN!
I am very interested in hearing about this, so please someone with info about it make comments. :scared: Also, anyone has some info about Harvard's program?? I've heard their program was on probation for this matter(taking too long). They argue things have changed since they made improvements, but they were relatively recent, so there hasn't been a class to show the results. Specially to current students, how has the experience been?
 

Tufty

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Does anyone know the details of Harvard's waiting list. I was waitlisted and the letter says, "Our ability to offer you a position depends on whether any of the MSTP offers we have made will be declined. Although is is unlikely that our roster will change, we will contact you by May 2, 2005".

I know someone mentioned earlier that the roster changes quite a bit. What is the case here? what are the chances of making it off the waiting list?

thanks, tufty.

milliardo_L said:
I am very interested in hearing about this, so please someone with info about it make comments. :scared: Also, anyone has some info about Harvard's program?? I've heard their program was on probation for this matter(taking too long). They argue things have changed since they made improvements, but they were relatively recent, so there hasn't been a class to show the results. Specially to current students, how has the experience been?