SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

Just a thought...

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by Marquis_Phoenix, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. Marquis_Phoenix

    Marquis_Phoenix Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    May 6, 2006
    Suppose that one didn't get into the MSTP program of choice, so you did the next best thing and accepted a MD program somewhere else (doesn't matter where, except it doesn't have the cutting-edge research of your interest in place - none of the MD or MSTP program that you were interested in did). Since where you go for MD doesn't matter (suppose money is not that big an issue because you've been accepted with scholarships to the MD program), could you maybe negotiate and do your first 2 years of MD, head off to someplace where they're doing cool cutting edge research as a PhD for 4 years, and then come back to wrap up your 2 clinical years?

    So you're not trapped at a place where the research, while okay, isn't ideal to your interests?
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. Circumflex

    Circumflex Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2006
    You could take a leave of absence from medical school, if they let you. I know someone who did this to do his PhD at the same institution. The grad school took his MCAT, so he did not have to take the GRE and he was able to get medical school classes to count toward his PhD so that he only had to take 2-3 grad school classes. This may be a problem - getting the coursework to transfer. If the other school makes you do all of your PhD credits there, then it could take you a while to finish.
  4. gbwillner

    gbwillner Pastafarian Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    As Circumflex said, yes, it is possible to go LOA from med school for the PhD. However, going off and doing a PhD for 4 years is a nice plan that will not so easily be accomplished. Your med school will not like the extended LOA. It's also foolish to assume you can do a PhD in 4 years. You should be prepared to finish in 4-6 (or more) years.
    IMHO, if you were accepted into ANY MSTP program, you should just go there. As long as there are a few faculty members doing research in areas you find interesting you will be OK. You should never pick an institution because of one individual, and you should not pick a lab based on any one specific project. The most important thing is having a good mentor and labmates in an interesting field. Don't get too caught up in this "cutting-edge" nonsense. You are a student beginning your training. You're here to learn the basics- if you get involved in something truly novel that's great- but don't seek it out.
  5. Marquis_Phoenix

    Marquis_Phoenix Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    May 6, 2006
    Engineering PhD's usually finish Master's/PhD in 5 years.

    Are biomedical PhD's really that longer?

    5 years seems to be the norm from my anecdotal hearings (family, PIs, etc.), for Master's through direct entry PhD programs. 6+ years seems more like lazy PhD students in the social sciences or humanities.
  6. gbwillner

    gbwillner Pastafarian Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    five years is probably about right for an Average. But remember, it's only an average. You may think you're smarter and work harder than everyone, but this does not guarantee you a shorter PhD.
  7. hawkeey

    hawkeey Member 5+ Year Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    If this happened to me and I only was in a MD track, I would have to think about what I really wanted to do:

    1) Basic science in a biomedical setting
    2) Translational / clinical research

    The more basic science desire, the more I would tempted to go in and get that PhD. It's not completely necessary though as you can get into basic science through the opportunities you have as a medical student. The PhD trains you to think in a critical manner, and if you can pick that up as a medical student you can do whatever kind of research that you would like.

    Overall though, I would consider this path:
    1) Do research throughout medical school and during the summer.
    2)Take a year off somewhere (before MS3) to concentrate on experiments. Maybe do a HHMI, Dorris Duke fellowship, NIH fellowship.
    3) Get a residency that will allow some research.
    4) Follow up with a fellowship / post-doc with research in a well established lab.

    For a case study, look up Dr. Helen Hobbs:,2356,13232,00.html

    Dr. Hobbs ascended through the medical ranks to the point where she became chief resident at UT Southwestern / Parkland. While serving as chief resident, she associated with the Brown / Goldstein lab, just before Brown and Goldstein won the Nobel prize. Helen Hobbs is now a full, distinguished professor in the Department of Genetics at UT Southwestern.

Share This Page