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MD/PhD Parasitology

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by socorro, 05.19.14.

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  1. socorro

    socorro 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
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    Pre-Medical
    Just graduated with a BS in Microbiology and a BA in Spanish Translation and Interpretation
    3.5 cGPA, 3.2 sGPA (C's in Calculus, Biostats, Microbial Genetics, and Ochem 2, all spread out)
    Honors thesis in Microbiology, but not much research background
    Great EC's, leadership, volunteering, shadowing, etc.
    Low-income background (applying with FAP)
    White, transgender male

    I would need 20 units of A in science courses just to raise my sGPA to a 3.4!

    I have the FAP, but I'm thinking of not applying this year. I just don't see myself getting in with that science GPA. I still need to take the MCAT and can buckle down (I have my study resources) but I don't know if 1-2 months of studying is going to cut it.

    I'll be spending this year as a Global Health Corps Fellow doing advocacy work for homeless youth. I'm interested in parasitology, and think I want to do MD/PhD. Otherwise I want to be a primary care doc and focus on gender medicine for transgender people.

    Should I...
    a) Apply now if I get a 32+ MCAT score, leverage my story and apply to the right schools (what are my odds?)
    b) Apply to SMP programs and med schools after taking the MCAT about 6 months from now, before it changes over (and expect to do better with more study time)
    c) Come back from New Jersey and spend a year working some low-level salary job at the University to get free tuition to take post-bacc science courses to raise my sGPA
    d) Do a 1-year Master's program in parasitology and get good research experience, then apply to MD/PhD schools. (Do I even have a chance?)
     
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  3. CherryRedDracul

    CherryRedDracul 2 Chainz Muscular Dystrophy 2+ Year Member

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    If you want to pursue the PhD along with the MD, you're going to have to show the admissions committees that you are passionate about research. It's not uncommon for people to drop the PhD because they later realize that they don't like to do research as much as they thought they did. So you not only have to demonstrate that you love research, but also know whether research is really your thing.
     
  4. socorro

    socorro 2+ Year Member

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    I'm definitely interested in research. I'm also interested in the free tuition that most programs provide. I'm wondering why more people don't apply to these programs for that reason.

    I do need to strengthen my research background though. I didn't have a good chance during ugrad because I worked so much.
     
  5. plumazul

    plumazul ☮, ♥, & ♫ 2+ Year Member

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    Because that's the wrong reason to apply.
     
  6. IslandStyle808

    IslandStyle808 Akuma residency or bust! 2+ Year Member

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    Simple, 1) It can be an extra 4-5 years of schooling that you don't need if you aren't interested in purely translational research 2) you generate more revenue as an actual practicing physician than the tuition paid for by the MD/PhD program. Let assume you will make $200 k per year now times that by four years and you get $800 k (I am going to assume with compounding interest from loans you will need to pay back $500k). Plus there are also IBRs, which will forgive loans after 20 years (there is a tax at the end for the income that is to be forgiven).

    You don't need to do a PhD to do clinical research. You can do a research focused fellowship after residency.
     
    Last edited: 05.19.14
  7. IslandStyle808

    IslandStyle808 Akuma residency or bust! 2+ Year Member

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  8. CherryRedDracul

    CherryRedDracul 2 Chainz Muscular Dystrophy 2+ Year Member

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    Yeah, you'll need to do more research to make sure that's the path you want to go down. If I'm not mistaken, you will have separate interviews for MD admission and PhD admission. Thus, during the PhD interview, you will be grilled about research; they will interview you to see if you have the research-oriented mind for the PhD program. People slip into the MD/PhD program without much enthusiasm for research tend to be miserable during their PhD years. And that's why some of them drop their PhD. And like IslandStyle808 said, you will generate more revenue once you start practicing.

    With that said, another option you can try is to get an MD acceptance and then apply for the MD/PhD program during your first two years. One of my friends applied during his 2nd year, got accepted, and will be starting his PhD in neuroscience in the summer. But the same thing holds true: you have to be ready to demonstrate that you are research-oriented.
     
  9. URHere

    URHere 7+ Year Member

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    I'm an MD/PhD student in the parasitology field. As others have said, you have no chance for combined programs without extensive research experience. Some programs have been known to overlook low GPAs for students with very solid research foundations, but you don't have one of those quite yet.

    My advice to you would be to think about what sort of research you want to do. If you want to do epidemiology or global health research, an MPH would probably be better for you than a PhD. If you want to work on clinical trials, that's something you can do with an MD alone. If you want to understand how parasites signal to their environments…well, that's PhD territory.

    I would suggest not going the MD/PhD route unless you're sure it is a good fit for your goals. Yes, most programs fund you and waive your tuition, but the PhD can be an unpleasant experience even for those who really love research. Just about every MD/PhD student I know has considered dropping out at one point or another (despite loving research and wanting to run their own labs someday), and they only make it work because the program is more than money to them.

    For now, I would suggest applying for jobs as a research assistant. Although a Masters degree would give you a chance to take some classes along with your degree, most students who are successful in those programs already have significant research experience. First, you need to figure out if you even enjoy research because, if you don't, getting an MS would throw you into debt for no good reason. If you do, then take a year to learn about the process, master a few basic techniques and then think about your next move.
     
  10. moop

    moop 1K Member Banned Account on Hold

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    No chance for MD/PhD. Shouldn't even be applying with that little research experience; you haven't even see legit research enough to know if you'd like it.
     
  11. DokterMom

    DokterMom 2+ Year Member

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    The GPA isn't fatal level, but that, combined with lack of research is likely close to fatal for MD/PhD --

    Since you're also attracted to primary care for a disadvantaged population and have the 'street cred' to back that up, why not apply that route instead. A decent MCAT combined with a year of advocacy and your current ECs should make you a strong advocate on that front. I'd play that hand --
     
  12. styphon

    styphon Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    No, you do not. I was guided away from applying to MD/PhD because of my lack of publication numbers - but I had done Molecular research in plant pathology x 2 years and 2 years of molecular research in HIV. Makes sense considering the successful applicants at my school had 1-2 pages of publications they had their name on.
     
  13. Espadaleader

    Espadaleader 5+ Year Member

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    You have no chance at MD/PhD. You said it yourself you have limited research experience. Most strong applicants have bad string research experiences in undergrad plus 1-2 years of additional research after undergrad. Peer reviewed manuscripts are not expected but per reviewed abstracts are required (you should have presented you research at least once at a national conference in your discipline). Your GPA is on the low side and you got some C's in some upper levels (A 3.5 cGPA because you got a C and B's freshman year is different than a 3.5 cGPA with C's evenly dispersed. Lower GPAs get in but they have strong upward trends. (The guy that got into medical school with a 3.5, trust me. Dude had a 2.9, 3.7, 3.9, 3.7 trend, not a 3.5x4 trend). You don't have a MCAT score either. If you pulled a 36 and took a gap year you would be all set. Less than 4% of ppl get that score though. As it stands now, apply regular MD and work your unique background into a compelling story.
     
  14. Espadaleader

    Espadaleader 5+ Year Member

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    I meant to say "had strong" not "bad string"
     
    moop likes this.
  15. moop

    moop 1K Member Banned Account on Hold

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    But it's common knowledge that the top MD/PhD candidates all had bad string research experiences...

    P.S. Do you actually still follow Bleach?
     
  16. Espadaleader

    Espadaleader 5+ Year Member

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    Lol, yeah I read the manga, which is actually phenomenal. Its in its last arc.
     
  17. moop

    moop 1K Member Banned Account on Hold

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    It's about time it finished.......it must be over 60 volumes by now. Followed it in middle school lol
     

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