How many words is personal statement for MD/PHD suppose to be?


Total nerd
Staff member
15+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2002
the beach
Attending Physician


* The “MD/PhD Essay” = describe why you want the dual degree in 3000 characters. In brief: your patient interactions should inform your research, and your research should enhance your patient interactions. You need to articulate passion and aptitude for BOTH basic scientific research and patient care.
* When discussing your research interests: Be specific but general (how about that oxymoron?!
For instance:
Do not write, “I want to cure cancer.”
Do write, “I am interested in developmental biology, specifically how developmental pathways become inappropriately regulated, resulting in tumor formation.”
* Do not mention specific PIs with whom you are interested in working.
* The “Significant Research Experience Essay” = describe your research experiences in 10000 characters.
Describe both the “big picture” of the lab’s work as well as your independent role. Follow this general format: 1) what is known (i.e., background information); 2) the “hole” in the field (i.e., the specific question or problem that the lab’s work aims to understand or solve); 3) the hypothesis; and 4) your specific contributions to the project.
- For each experience: specify your mentor’s name and affiliation and the duration of your experience.
- If your work resulted in a publication on which you were an author, provide the full citation in the “Work/Activities” section of the application. Be certain to cite publications properly and accurately, using the standard formatting for your field. In general, do not cite papers that are “in preparation” for publication. It is OK to cite papers as “submitted.” Definitely cite papers that are “in press.”
- Do not overstate your contributions to a lab. Washing glassware, preparing solutions, and doing minipreps does not constitute “research.”
- Be REALLY SURE that you understand what you are writing about and that you are being accurate.
* The two additional essays will ONLY be forwarded to your designated MD/PhD programs (i.e., schools to which you are only applying to the MD program will not receive these essays).