Impact of COVID on re-entering MD/PhD students into MS3 for AY 20-21


2+ Year Member
Oct 29, 2018
Status (Visible)
  1. MD/PhD Student
Can faculty comment on how the COVID pandemic will likely impact rising MS3 students? I've recently privately defended with plans to re-enter next month. My institution has forecasted clinical interactions to start again at the earliest of June, if possible. The first two rotations have been moved to online learning. Luckily I do not have to worry about rescheduling step 1 but I'm concerned over how the next year will play out. The most useful part of MS3 is clinical experience and patient interaction, and I have some worry that online learning will severely impact the educational experience. Rising MS4s have said they have more time to study now, but the majority of their core clerkships were as normal. I would not be surprised if a second wave in the fall/winter causes clerkships to move back to online learning for another period of time, and/or there are some limitations throughout the year.

Would it be worthwhile to even consider pushing re-entry to another year and either continue PhD research or find another experience (i.e. clinical research, etc.) until the COVID crisis has settled a bit more? Obviously this is impacting basic research productivity as well but educational experience of MS3 students seems like it might be pretty significant down the line.

I understand pretty much everyone is in the same boat and there are no clear answers - just hoping to glean a bit of advice from how other institutions are handling it all and what faculty are thinking as far as impact of students.

Stay safe and sane, everyone!


MSTP Director
10+ Year Member
Oct 11, 2007
TEXAS (Eden)
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Circumstance vary across the country based upon COVID-19 ground issues. While everyone in the country paused clinical rotations, in some cases, some electives and clerkships are beginning next week with social distancing and keeping students away from COVID wards. However, that is only possible as my city has 78% of ventilator capacity available. Regardless, we are going to have NATIONAL flexibility for Dean's Letters and other requirements to apply. Program directors will be flexible. The Natl Assoc. of MD/PhD programs is trying to sponsor a national webinar on a meeting with PSTP directors sometime in June or July. If we are able to pull this out, I will also advertise it here.... The NIH GP Fair will be a Virtual Fair.
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