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Medical How do I choose between MD/PhD vs. MD?

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Mr.Smile12

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I am currently taking gap time and applying to med schools. For most of my undergrad, I was planning on pursuing a PhD, but between my junior and senior year, I decided an MD/PhD would be the better route for me. My decision was always between PhD or MD/PhD programs, but now while applying, programs ask if I would like to be considered for the MD/PhD programs alone or to be considered for the MD program should the MD/PhD program not accept me. Do I have anything to lose by selecting to be considered for both programs? An MD alone isn't really what I envision for my future (I really am dedicated to research, but want a translational aspect to my work - I don't think I could be primarily a physician for my entire career). I appreciate that a dual degree isn't necessarily required for this future, but I do think the MD would augment the PhD significantly and augment my ability to conduct human studies.

Basically, I'm thinking about whether selecting consideration for the MD/PhD alone will come across as conceited and/or close-minded, or as dedicated to a career as a physician-scientist? Or are the decisions truly made independently and I'm completely overthinking this?

Thank you so much! This is my first post here, so any feedback is greatly appreciated :)
There is a lot of information about MD/PHD programs on AAMC including differences between MSTP and non-MSTP programs. More importantly you need to consider differences in funding and future careers with PHD vs MD/PHD options vs MD programs with student research required. The training time differences among these options require serious thought and intention.

Many people do a research gap year before entering either PHD, MD/PHD, and MD MD programs. There are a few DO/PHD programs out there too.

There are translational researchers with just MD training, with just PHD training, and both degrees. The degree doesn't matter but the area of your interest will reveal options. There are programs for PHDs doing translational research at many medical schools.

And a modest PHD stipend is always attractive.

Of course the elephant in the room: what are your GPA and MCAT/GRE scores? A viable MD/PhD candidate non-URM needs to be within the 80th or higher percentile of the MCAT and definitely high science GPA.

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Goro

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Thanks for the reply!

My research interests are mainly centered around metabolic diseases and skeletal muscle physiology and disorders, and include mitochondrial dysfunction, bioenergetics, metabolism, aging, exercise physiology, and nutrition.

I'm currently in my second gap year. I've been working full time as a research tech in a lab that is very heavily focused on mitochondrial biology, bioenergetics, metabolism, and exercise training.

Cum GPA: 3.59
BCPM GPA: 3.46
MCAT: 518

I feel very certain that the MD/PhD path is what I want to follow. The main thing I am wondering is whether schools will schools think differently of you depending on if you select to be considered from the MD/PhD only or if you want to be considered for both the MD/PhD and MD paths at their schools. I got myself into thinking that if you select to be considered for both then you may come across as not committed to the MD/PhD, or that if you select on the MD/PhD then you may come across as close-minded and/or arrogant. I am likely overthinking this, but just wanted to ask!
Your GPAs are not competitive for MD/PhD. In fact, they're at the lower end for MD as well, unless you have a massive rising GPA trend. In any case, you're going to need to have DO schools on your list, and no, a high MCAT doesn't salvage the sGPA.

MD/PhD programs also like evidence of research productivity, and good LORs from your PIs..

A few DO schools do have DO/PhD programs.

You can do plenty of research with just the MD.
 

Mr.Smile12

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I agree. If you had a biomedical science degree, the GPA's are generally too low for a viable MD/PhD application. You might be fine with just a Ph.D. application in a biomedical science program if you have a strong interest in research, and there are many programs such as the Gerstner Sloan Kettering programs that also give Ph.D. students a grounding in translational research. It doesn't matter what your research interests are "now" or whether you would be interested in staying in that field; most people will wind up changing fields.

Each program with an MD/PhD program will be able to tell you how they select applicants for their interviews and work with the MD admissions committee. You are probably overthinking this until you get some feedback or read more about it in AspiringDocs.org .
 
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