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I was going to do MD/PhD but I changed my mind. LORs are written, unfortunately, for MD/PhD. Am I screwed?


Full Member
2+ Year Member
Jan 19, 2017
I was set on applying to them, but after actually thinking long and hard about it and writing my essays, I realized my heart was in medicine more than research. I would love to do research as a physician, but in all honesty an MD would suffice for the type of career I want. I regretfully had to come to the decision that I'm better off applying regular MD, and I should let someone who is more passionate and likely to dedicate more time to research apply instead of me.

The problem is, my LORs were written on the expectation that I would apply to MD/PhD programs. I know it was stupid of me, but when I asked them 4 months ago, I was sure this was the path for me. I wish I was more thoughtful earlier, but what's done is done. I had an MD LOR lined up, but the physician suffered a stroke, and his assistant emailed me to tell me that he would not (understandably) write my letter anymore. So, now I'm down to 3: my PI, who taught two of my classes; a science professor in my major; and a humanities professor who I am close with.

Am I screwed? Will adcoms read my LORs and reject me? I know it doesn't look good to change my mind so suddenly, and it probably doesn't bode well. Truthfully I've wanted medicine for longer than an MD/PhD. I was enticed into it by my PI and science profs, who made it seem like it would be a complete waste of my research years if I went regular MD. I do love research and I hope I can continue benchwork in my future, but a regular MD would be just as fulfilling.

I searched the forum and found one post, and the comments weren’t very helpful besides 1. I just wanted to get the MD-perspective.
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The dog is always the real hero.
2+ Year Member
May 24, 2017
I think I posted about this elsewhere too, but generally you don't want to have letters that say MD-PhD if you're applying only MD. I strongly encourage you to get your letter-writers to rewrite their letters.

It can be the same exact letter just tell them to replace any specific mention or qualities of MD/PhD to MD

This may not be perfect, but is the best alternative. Letters geared towards MD-PhD tend to be research and inquiry heavy, which are traits important to MD-PhD programs but less important to MD than the personal competencies that they tend to emphasize.
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