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My school has a combined degree BS/MS in biochemistry that i'm considering switching to. Its a year longer than the BS. What would be the affect of going into a MD/Phd. program already having a masters? Would this confer any advantage (ie. shorter time to Phd.)?
Does anyone know?

Thanks!

Cameron
 

GlcNac

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I don't think getting an M.S. will significantly shorten your Ph.D. unless perhaps if you get the Ph.D. and M.S. from the same school; from what I understand, many graduate programs do not transfer many credits from M.S. coursework done at another institution. Also, if your M.S. is in biochemistry and you decide to pursue a Ph.D. in, say, neuroscience, you'll probably have to take a substantial number of additional classes anyway. That said, having an M.S. might distinguish you somewhat at the admissions phase of the process. So while an M.S. might help you slightly to get into an MD/PhD program, I don't think it will help you very much in getting out faster.
 

pathdr2b

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Originally posted by GlcNac
So while an M.S. might help you slightly to get into an MD/PhD program, I don't think it will help you very much in getting out faster.

I think this depends on the school/program. I was recently pursuing a PhD at a program which accepted ALL of my MS credits (PhD in Pathology and MS-Chemistry). These programs were at 2 different schools and had I stayed I probably would have finished in ~3 years. Just make sure you negotiate the specifics of the program requirements AFTER you get accepted but BEFORE you matriculate and be sure to get it in writing.

It would also be helpful to identify PI's you want to work with before you interview.

Good Luck!
 
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Thanks for the responses!

I'm in my second year of undergrad and kind of kicking around the idea of doing this 5 year combined masters thing (applications for which are this summer). I'm pretty far ahead of the game...I was planning on finishing undergrad a year early (grad a year from now) and going to med school...but now i'm thinking that maybe i'd rather do a combined MD/Phd. While I think I could likely get into medical school if I applied this summer...I dont think that I would have a chance at MD/Phd. programs. I was thinking of the masters as a possible way to stay here for an extra year (or two maybe...need to work out the whole program with my advisor sometime) and open up the option of applying MD/Phd.
 

vixey1230

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I graduated from undergrad in 3 years, and my advice would be that unless there's a specific reason why you want to stick around for the MS (e.g., there's a PI there that you'd really like to work with and he/she won't hire you but will take you as a masters student), just graduate and get a full-time reasearch position.

The only caveat with that... make sure the PI that you'd be working for understands that you want to matriculate in a MD/PhD, that you will work hard and do whatever you need to in terms of your research project, but you'd appreciate the acknowledgement of projects completed. Surprisingly, quite a few PIs have a policy of not publishing ppl who are on payroll. Not that you can't get into great programs w/o publications, but if you've done the work, you should get the credit.
 
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