Apr 16, 2013
I am a recent graduate (B. S. Biochemistry, B.S. Biology) and want to eventually get into a top tier MD/PhD program. I'm currently a research assistant in a neuroscience lab at a very good university and I'm considering doing a master's degree before applying to MD/PhD programs to get into a better program than I would be able to currently. My first question is does anybody know of highly ranked M.S. programs for neuroscience in the USA? The problem I've been having when researching schools is that most schools I am interested in for a master's degree only offer doctoral degrees. My next question is how well are MS degrees from outside the USA (say Oxford or Cambridge university) looked at when applying to MD/PhD programs in the USA? Any help regarding these questions would be appreciated.


15+ Year Member
Sep 10, 2003
East of Eden
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A Masters degree will not hurt your chances. I do not know that it will help them, either. Here are 10 years of data (n>4000) from our program:

Status / % Interviewed
Senior with BS / 21%
Postgrad with BS / 20%
Combined BS-MS / 23%
MS after BS / 19%

Given the money you will need to lay out for a Masters, it might be better just to work in that lab full time for a year or two. The challenge with doing a Masters abroad is the time and travel costs to come back to the States for interviews.
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Will Walk Rope for Sandwich
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5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
City of the Future
Medical Student
If you have the opportunity to do a Marshalls or Rhodes or Gates-Cambridge or a similar scholarship where you can be paid to go do research abroad and get an MS at Cambridge or Oxford then that might be worth it in terms of the research experience gained. Even then, if you have sufficient experience under your belt once you graduate then you shouldn't see it as something that is absolutely necessary.

Personally, if I needed more research experience post graduation I wouldn't pay for it. I would do everything I could to be paid for it instead.
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