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M.Sc. before MD/PhD?

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by brandonite, May 31, 2002.

  1. brandonite

    brandonite Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Oct 19, 2001
    Manitoba, Canada
    Hi all. :D

    Just curious what all of you think of this... My prior research has been in astronomy, and I have just begun working on biophysics in the past week at the National Research Council of Canada. It's an amazing lab, and an amazing place to be.

    Anyway, as you may remember, I am not a particular fan of the med school here, and I hold a very prestigous and valuable (over $30,000/yr) scholarship for grad school, that I will have to forfeit as soon as I start my first class of med school.

    So, would doing a M.Sc. be a good idea? I would find out about the research in biophysics before committing to that as my research area? I guess the added time is a concern, but does anyone think that doing an M.Sc. first might cut down the length of time for my Ph.D. by a year or so? I'm only 22, but time is a priority for all of us MD/PhDs... That is the only thing stopping me now...
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  3. guardian

    guardian Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2001
    I'm not an MD/PhD, but how would doing a Masters decrease your time for completing a Doctorate? Decreased time spent in rotating through labs/searching an area of interest? Would you be looking to commit to the same lab for your PhD if you like the lab? Just curious.
  4. atsai3

    atsai3 10+ Year Member

    May 15, 2002

    A prior Master's, even if it is in the same field as your PhD, will not cut down on the time. Most PhD programs require you to retake the basic methods courses anyway.

    The advantage of the prior MSc is that your coursework (and perhaps the research you do during your first two pre-clinical med school years) will be much more focused, and you can hit the ground running once you begin the full time PhD years.

  5. brandonite

    brandonite Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Oct 19, 2001
    Manitoba, Canada
    Well, I was thinking about things like class requirements. I know generally in Canada, the class requirements for a PhD are four half courses beyond that of a MSc. So, 24 credit hours in total - 12 for a MSc and 12 for a PhD. Is that true down in the US too?

    Also, perhaps having a M.Sc. on a related area would allow you to dispense with some of the indecision that would be at the start of a PhD program...
  6. kristi1696

    kristi1696 Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 16, 2002
    I know a bit about this. I will be starting in an MSTP program this year and I've just graduated with a M.Sc. in Molecular Biology. I disagree with what some of the others have been saying. While it is true that doing a Masters may not cut down on PhD time through coursework, I really feel that it can do so with a gain in overall lab experience (i.e. designing experiments, techniques and writing). Besides, I thought it made the whole application experience easier. You get to know faculty much better, which leads to better letters and you get to do a lot of advanced coursework. If you have the time and it would work out financially, I would consider it...

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