Help me decide: WashU vs Northwestern vs UNC vs Case Western vs Duke (WL) for MSTP

Which MSTP should I attend

  • WashU

    Votes: 28 63.6%
  • Northwestern

    Votes: 4 9.1%
  • UNC

    Votes: 5 11.4%
  • Case Western

    Votes: 1 2.3%
  • Duke (Waitlisted)

    Votes: 6 13.6%

  • Total voters


2+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2016
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Hi everyone,

Feeling incredibly fortunate and lucky to be in the situation that I am currently in! I'd appreciate any feedback or discussion on these MSTPs! For context, my current research interests include cardiovascular biology, immunology, metabolism, and genomics. But I also want to keep an open mind so I'm also pretty interested in cancer biology, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, and maybe BME. (lol I guess I like everything). I am aiming to go into academic medicine, and hope to match (don't roast) to a top internal medicine program and then cardiology or oncology or some other IM subspecialty fellowship. Below are my options:

-Seems to be strong in all research areas, especially immunology. But also pretty strong in cardiovascular research.
-Faculty I interviewed with are really nice.
-Program is large and well-supported.
-Great reputation in general, pretty good in all specialties
-St. Louis would be a nice change of pace from where I am currently at.
-New curriculum change, into its 2nd cohort I think? Though I like the changes that were made, such as the 1.5 year preclinical curriculum.
-Maybe the student community isn't as tight-knit because of the size? Not sure tbh.

-Decent cardiovascular research, any other strong areas?
-Awesome location in Chicago
-Program is also decently large and well-supported
-Good reputation
-Heard the students were pretty tight knit
-Time to graduation is kinda long I heard.
-Curriculum is pretty traditional but integrated.
-I guess Chicago living is pretty expensive.

-Very strong cardiovascular research
-MSTP student community is tight-knit and super nice. Definitely, the most cohesive student community I've seen on the trail so far.
-Program size is good as well
-Chapel Hill is a nice area and cheap to live.
-Seems to get a lot of NIH funding for students.
-Not as reputable as the others

Case Western
-Decent cardiovascular research, especially paired with the Cleveland Clinic
-Students seemed really productive coming out of the program
-Cleveland is an ok area, not bad.
-Not as reputable as the others
-Students didn't seem as tight-knit as other places

Duke (caveat: waitlisted):
-Decent basic science cardiovascular research, but not as strong as some of the other choices.
-Love the curriculum of 1 year pre-clinical, numerous ppl graduate in 7 years or spend 5 years in their PhD and still graduate in 8 years.
-MSTP leadership is the best out of all the ones I've interviewed at.
-Great reputation
-Durham is a nice area, affordable.
-I'm not sure lol!! I guess waitlisted haha.

As you can see, I don't really see many cons in any of my choices. Could anyone provide insights on the strength of the research areas that I am interested in for these schools? I'm currently going off by reputation and research and I don't know much about the unique aspects of each program as I should. Any feedback and insights into student life, research, match success, academics, etc would all be welcomed and appreciated. Thank you guys so much!


Will Walk Rope for Sandwich
Staff member
Volunteer Staff
7+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
City of the Future
Status (Visible)
  1. MD/PhD Student
WashU MSTP is head and shoulders the better program of these in terms of research, track record, program leadership and you will live very comfortably on a grad student stipend in StL.


MSTP Director
10+ Year Member
Oct 11, 2007
TEXAS (Eden)
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
I have lectured/visited at all of your choices (and trained at one). In the big picture, you are splitting hairs. They are all terrific choices with sufficiently excellent track-records that the trainee outcomes will overlap prominently. It comes down to the trainee and her/his scholarly productivity >>> program reputation. Where do you see yourself thriving best...
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