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Last minute doubts about pursuing a MD/Ph.D degree?

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Patiently Waiting

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This is my dilemma: until very recently I've set my mind on pursuing just a MD because even though I had one MSTP interview a few months ago I simply didn't think I would be offered an acceptance. Then, I got into the program just a few days ago. While I feel very honored to be considered highly by the Adcoms, I cannot help but start having doubts about myself. Many MSTP candidates seem so sure about what they're getting into (I felt the same way when I was applying for the program). I have no doubts about why I want to pursue a dual degree in the first place, but I begin to wonder if I have audacity, perseverance and many other virtues necessary for a great reseacher. Also, am I committed enough?? It takes a minimum of 7-8 years to complete the degree. Having been away from academic research may explain part of the reason for my hesitation. (I've done extensive research outside academia however)

My question to ya is if it's normal to feel this way and if so/or not so, what criteria have helped you ulitimately decide between a MD vs a MD/Ph.D program? Gosh, I really hate feeling so uncertain...
 

none

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The wonder of it is...you don't have to decide now! Wait awhile, at least through your first year, before making any decisions or even really thinking about it, except perhaps who you'd like to do a summer rotation with.
 

ckent

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If you are relatively sure that you don't want to do this, I would suggest dropping it before school starts or at least finding out what the school's policy is on dropping the MD/PhD program is. At a lot of schools, people (like the dean) frown upon MD/PhD dropouts. Sometimes this is because they have invested their own money into training you, sometimes this is just because you've taken an MD/PhD candidate's spot from their school. Also, some schools have policies where you have to pay back your stipend plus tuition plus interest which comes out to be a lot because you have to take out expensive loans to pay it all back at once. I'm not trying to dissuade you from pursuing MD/PhD, if research is your passion and that's what you want to do with the rest of your life, then MD/PhD is clearly the best path for you (even though it is a long path, it's the best path for research physicians). I just wanted to add that if you are already relatively sure that you don't want to do it, then you might not want to start it. It's not the end of the world if you drop out md/phd program, but I do know that there can be a some disadvantages to dropping out and you should find out more about them before you commit if you are not 100%.
 

Patiently Waiting

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Thanks for the responses. :wink: I am considering these options over two schools, one of the reasons I need to decide within a wk or so. School #1 (MD) is more preferrable to me cuz of its proximity to family and friends among many other things, so I would only consider Schoool #2 (MSTP) if I am gonna go for the dual degree. I guess "I" need to come up with a list of pros and cons about the two programs before making a final decision. Please feel free to add to the thread what aspects about the MSTP you personally like/don't like. It will very much help me come up with the list. Thanks. :)
 
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