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MD-PhD interest last year of undergrad?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by MudpuppyLake, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. MudpuppyLake


    Apr 15, 2013
    I have recently become interested in MD-PhD programs but am in my final year of undergraduate study. If anyone here has applied and been accepted to such a program, or has knowledge of what it takes to get into such a program, I would be highly interested in hearing your tips!

    Do you usually get into such a program right after undergrad, or do most people take a year or two off and get a masters or do research in that time?

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  3. Dr. Retractor

    Dr. Retractor 2+ Year Member

    Jul 11, 2014
    Haven't applied but I know a little about it.

    To get into an MD/PhD program you need the same as what you need to get into med school (good ECs, high MCAT/GPA) plus a lot of research (ie more than what a regular MD applicant would usually have). Most people who matriculate to MD/PhD programs have a few publications under their belt, but it's not an absolute requirement. If you haven't done that in undergrad you might want to do some graduate level work to get research experience. You can start the program whenever you want, whether it's right after undergrad (you apply the summer after junior year) or after a 1 or more gap years, during which you can do a master's if you want.

    Another note: the MD/PhD program is usually about 7 or 8 years, so doing a masters before that makes all of training about 9 or 10 years total, not including residency or post-doc.
  4. neurotroph

    neurotroph 5+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2011
    Totally false. The people who have even one publication are a very small minority. I think the figure I heard was that 15% of MD/PhD applicants have a pub.

    OP, you'll get better info in the Physician Scientists forum:
    Whether people go straight through from undergrad or take gap years really just depends on the person. You generally need at least two years of research experience to be competitive, so if you don't have that you should definitely take a gap year or two to build up your research experience. Getting a master's isn't necessary since you're going to be getting a PhD later on anyway.
  5. freemontie

    freemontie Banned Banned

    Aug 19, 2014
    I know one person who is MD/PhD at a top 20 med school. No publications or gap years for research but she did do REU every summer. Which makes sense- no point taking on someone to do a PhD who hasn't demonstrated ability to do research. This person also had a 3.9-something at an ivy and an mcat of 40.

    IMO (and I'm no expert though) 1 gap year of research would be fine. I don't think you want to do two and appy with no publications. (Makes you look like a failure if you spend that much time in research and didn't get a pub out of it.)
  6. lumpyduster

    lumpyduster 2+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2013
    I think (I hope? haha) it really depends. I had awesome results on this one project I did last summer, but reproducibility was a bit of an issue (working with nano-sized things) and although my PI was happy with the results, which could have led to a paper, he wasn't really interested in the project and wanted me to work on something else he was more excited about (actually first he wanted me to work on both but then he realized he was asking too much from a lowly undergrad). Current project is 1000x more difficult/unlucky. I'll probably get a pub out by graduation, but damn do I feel like I've been working on things for a year with nothing to show for it.
  7. SynBio

    SynBio Arrowsmith in training 2+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2013
    Catalystik and noolsy like this.
  8. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    May 22, 2008
    Deep in the heart of Texas
    As already mentioned, the key distinction between MD only and MD/PhD is the substantially larger research requirement. You are going to need substantially more than a summer or a couple of semesters of research, and the experience itself will need to be substantial. I just interviewed a few MSTP applicants this past week, and their applications typically included 2-3 years of work in a lab, often the same one. Many did a year at the NIH or worked as a research assistant, but that's by no means a requirement. You also need to have a clear vision and reason for pursuing the MSTP program. Your education is being paid for, and the expectation is that you will be a SCIENTIST first and a clinician second. If that isn't your goal, then consider a different path as you are unlikely to be accepted to a combined program.

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