Apr 26, 2009
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Is it a big disadvantage if you get a letter of recommendation for residency from a PhD vs. an MD. I wouldn't think it would matter, but it seems like getting a letter of rec from somebody "well-known" is very important in many competitive specialties. I would assume that MD's are more well known amongst other MD's than the PhD guys.

Reason I ask is that I've done research forever with a PhD, but he probably isn't well known.
 
Apr 26, 2009
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Medical Student
As of now, Ophthalmology, but I haven't entirely made up my mind yet. That's why I posted this in the General Residency forum. I just wanted to see generally what the best idea was.
 

twilightdoc

Attending
Jun 12, 2009
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Is it a big disadvantage if you get a letter of recommendation for residency from a PhD vs. an MD. I wouldn't think it would matter, but it seems like getting a letter of rec from somebody "well-known" is very important in many competitive specialties. I would assume that MD's are more well known amongst other MD's than the PhD guys.
Reason I ask is that I've done research forever with a PhD, but he probably isn't well known.
Remember that a residency position is primarily a clinical/clinical trainee position, so a letter from someone who knows you in that context is generally better. But if you have done extensive research with a PhD who will write a strong letter, that couldn't hurt, particularly if you are applying to a residency program that makes training academicians and researchers a priority. But I would have at least two letters from people who know you in a clinical context.
 

mcl

10+ Year Member
Sep 6, 2008
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Honestly, if I were reviewing your application, I would think it was odd if you'd been doing long-term research with someone and not included a letter from that person. He/she can speak a lot to your work ethic and ability to process and apply information. As others have said, you should also have clinical letters--and I prefer letters from someone who actually knows you and worked with you rather than someone well known who sends a very generic letter. Admittedly, though, programs may differ on that point.