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I'm doing a PhD and thinking about an MD after...help

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by ophidianphan, Mar 14, 2007.

  1. ophidianphan

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    Has anyone here taken that path? I'm doing my research in neuroscience...alot of electrophysiology and histology, maybe some molecular bio later.

    I'm most interested in how medical schools would treat someone who already holds a PhD the biomedical sciences. Is it possible to get tution wavers or grants by doing lab work while in school for the MD, or anyting to that effect? I have heard that some coursework can be skipped b/c of prior graduate education...details would be really helpful since i don't really feel like independently contacting medical schools now. Thanks.
     
  2. Circumflex

    Circumflex Junior Member
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    I have 2 friends who went this route (1 is in my current class). Neither of them got tuition waivers and they took all of the med school classes because they never took any in grad school - only grad school classes. I guess if you took classes with med students while in grad school (including taking the standardized shelf exams), the school might waive the class(es), but I would imagine that this would depend on the school. Although you don't have much free time in med school, you may be able to get a generous, understanding PI to hire you as a post-doc or student-worker and let you do some experiments when you can. One of my friends did this and brought in a little cash.
     
  3. mendel121

    mendel121 Just hoping to match
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    I did this - I tried to get out of some of the med school courses, like evidence based medicine and genetics - since I did my PhD in genetic epidemiology, I thought I had a pretty good arguement, my school did not, most likely you'll have to take all the courses.

    I'm an M2 now, I have worked in the lab that I did my PhD in as a part time post doc since I started school. I work at one med school and attend a second school close by - it works out ok from a time and money prespective - those of us who already have the PhD know what it is to work hard, so it takes a little sting out of the hectic schedule.

    I also didn't get any tuition breaks - to be honest, I keep my PhD a sort of secret so as not to draw undue attention. I did bring it up to adminstrators, and I was rather discouraged by the laughter.
     
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  4. OP
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    ophidianphan

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    ouch.... not sounding too good
     
  5. greg12345

    greg12345 New Member
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    Man, how do you guys manage to work in the lab during MS1 and MS2? Y'all must be some kind of smart or something and don't be needing to study.
     
  6. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    Current PhD to MD student here. My PhD is in pharmaceutical chemistry. To answer your questions:

    1) You're basically treated the same as anyone else. When you're an M1 (which I am), you're an M1. It's a little like being a high school freshman all over again. Medicine is very hierarchical, much more so than grad school. So if you expect people to give you special treatment just because you have a PhD, you probably aren't going to be very popular. Some of the faculty do treat me more as a colleague (ex. I call them by their first names), but in general, I have the same academic requirements that my younger classmates who are fresh out of college do.

    2) I was extremely lucky to get a full scholarship, and since I'm also over 30, I wound up not having to take out any loans. But in general, this is not the norm. Most people take out loans unless they or their family has a spare hundred and something thousand grand lying around.

    3) You will probably not have enough time to do significant research while you're in classes if you want to do well in school. But the summer after M1 is a popular time to do research, and you can apply for grants to do this. (My school even pays us to do summer research.) You may also be able to take a research elective during M4 and possibly get paid.

    4) I'm not skipping any coursework, although I possibly could have made a case for getting out of biochem and pharm. But like mendel, I took grad classes, not med classes, and I don't know how the school would feel about it. Plus, I've been finding the review useful. If you're like most senior grad students, you probably haven't taken any classes in the past few years, and sometimes an easy A or pass is a nice thing to have when your other classes are kicking your derriere. :)

    On a somewhat unrelated note, I wish you were in my class. Histology is the bane of my existence. :rolleyes: :p
     
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  7. OP
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    ophidianphan

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    thanks for the advice guys.
    One thing i just don't understand about medical students...how the hell do they pay to live if there's no time other than to study. Do you guys just take out loans for rent too or what?

    Obviously you can see my ignorance as i'm used to stipends and tution wavers.
     
  8. Circumflex

    Circumflex Junior Member
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    Unless they are wealthy, most med students get federal finanacial aid (Stafford Loans). It is automatic - if you are in med school, you get the loans. The amount you are given is based on a budget constructed by the school's financial aid department. They calculate cost of living in that particular city (rent, etc.) and provide a number and that is the amount you are given (plus tuition and fees). It's not a lot, but it is enough to live on.
     
  9. OP
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    ophidianphan

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    thanks flex...makes sense.
     
  10. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    If you're over 30, some schools will consider you financially independent. But yeah, most people take out extra loans. The really bad news is that if you're under 30, all schools as far as I know require you to report your parents' income and they use that to determine your loan versus grant ratio. That's true even if you're married. :thumbdown:
     
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  11. OP
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    ophidianphan

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    holy crap Q that insignia is hilarious. Where can a get the t-shirt?
     
  12. DogFaceMedic

    DogFaceMedic Member
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    There are some programs that allow prior health related PhDs to do M1&2 combined then jump in as M3s -- but you will have to research that a little. My father's "old friend's son" apparently did this 10+ yrs ago, so my info is a little second hand. ANyone else know anything about these 3yr programs?

    And I would definately do the MD, because I really enjoy medicine.

    As for money. Once you are in, they help you find the money, even if it is loans. Public health service and the military give full rides and stipends. NIH may have some programs too. But, read the fine print: PH wants primary care and military has wars. I enlisted once upon a time in a prior life time, so the Army has made my finances work out very well. But the military is definately not for everyone, so if considering it talk to someone person who is doing or has done in the military what you want to do.
     
  13. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    The only three-year program I know of is at Duke. They will allow incoming students with PhDs to skip the M2 year, which is a research year there. There are other schools like AECOM that will permit you to opt out of the thesis requirement if you come in with a PhD. But it won't get you out any faster. As far as I know, there are not any shortcut programs like what you're describing for PhDs. U Miami used to have one, but they disbanded it years ago. I think that's the general trend for schools that want to keep their LCME accreditation.

    And I want to second what you said about being very careful about taking money from the armed services or the government. I'm not saying it's a bad choice for everyone, but go into it with your eyes open. It's the Golden Rule: he who has the gold, makes the rules. So if they decide that they want to send your butt to Iraq or rural North Dakota, well, at least you'll get to travel a little at the government's expense, I guess. :scared:

    Heh, ophidianphan, I think I should make t-shirts too. I don't know if any are available. I drew this avatar myself. Maybe if I feel ambitious this summer, I'll go to Cafe Press and try it. Think I can get Lee to sell them on SDN??? :p
     
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  14. OP
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    ophidianphan

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    guys, thanks a bunch for all the good advice. You have opened my eyes to the realities and opportunities.

    Q, yeah i suggest you make those t-shirts before i do. Chemists would freakin goes nuts over them.
     
  15. Auraraptor

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    ophidianphan, I am curious, can you apply to your current schools MD/PhD, and just finish your PhD as part of said program? Are you very late in your process?
     
  16. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    Well, the good news is that Lee has agreed to let several of us design new shirts. So it's going to happen at some point as soon as I get someone to walk me through the whole Cafe Press thing....
     
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