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MD/PhD

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by CoffeeCat, Jun 9, 2001.

  1. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel

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    I am considering going MD/PhD and I had a few questions I hope you all can answer:

    1) How do adcoms view MD/PhD candidates as compared to MD candidates? I know that the interview process is much more difficult, but I've heard conflicting things about whether a higher or lower GPA/MCAT is needed to get in (disregarding research - I know that is necessary).

    2) When you're sending in your letters of recommendation should they be solely for medical school or should they be addressed to MD/PhD programs? How should I ask my letter writers to address them? I am very confused about this and my medical advisor was unable to answer it!

    3) Also, if there are others reading this post considering MD/PhD, do you know your final destination - research, clinical trials, professor, doctor?

    Thanks for your help. I enjoy reading everyone's posts!
     
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  3. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    Hello,
    I recently went through the application process (applied all MD/PhD) so hopefully I'll be able to help.
    1) MD/PhD students tend to have higher MCATs and GPA than MD-only students. This demonstrates your academic potential. While there are fewer applicants for these programs, there are a limited number of slots at each school. This makes admissions very competitive. However, once you get interviews (I've heard the magic number is 6), you are almost certainly going to get in somewhere (unless you are horrible in an interview). The focus at this stage is much more on your research and ability to communicate it. There is a certain amount of subjectivity because it is the interviewers' impressions of you that will determine if you get accepted or not. You may find quite a deal of randomness to the whole process, because of the number of highly qualified applicants and the limited number of slots available.

    2) It really depends on the school. Some will have you send separate letters for MD/PhD admissions (typically from your research advisor(s)). For others, a single set of letters will suffice. The letters should be addressed to "Committee on Admissions." Often the MD/PhD decisions are made by a subcommittee of the larger admissions committe. At other schools, there is an entirely autonomous committee that handles MD/PhD admissions. At any rate, you should obtain letters from individuals who can best assess your research potential.

    3) I'll be headed to UCSF for the MSTP (MD/PhD program) this fall. Right now, I see myself doing some combination of research, medicine, and teaching. Probably more emphasis on the research, but I definitely want to practice too.

    Hope this helps and if you have any questions, please let me know. :)
     
  4. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel

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    Thank you for your great response. One other question that I have is this: if you're applying to the MD/PhD program and you fail to get in, is it still possible to be accepted to the MD program? Thanks again and congratulations.
     
  5. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    Yes, most schools will consider you for the MD program if you do not get into the MD/PhD program. The only one that I know of that didn't until recently was Hopkins. For some schools, you need to be admitted separately to both programs. For example, at UCSF (and Harvard) you must be admitted to the medical school in order for the MSTP committee to admit you. I got admitted in January to UCSF medical school and then in April to the MSTP. Other schools such as UCLA have a completely separate MSTP committee that evaluates applicants independently of the medical school admissions committee. They can admit you MSTP, MD-only, or give your application back to the medical school for consdieration for MD-only. Yet other schools must technically admit you to both, but often the MSTP or MD/PhD program has the final say (i.e. if they want to admit you, the medical school usually has no problem with it). The procedure that is used is dependent on the particular school, so you will have to find out specifics about the schools you are interested in. Just an added layer of complexity to the already heinous admissions process. :eek: Hope this helps...
     
  6. doepug

    doepug Senior Member

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    Just one addendum to Vader's advice...

    In a new policy (started this year), MD/PhD applicants at Hopkins who aren't interviewed/accepted for an MD/PhD spot will have their applications sent to the MD pool.

    Good luck,

    doepug
    MSII, Hopkins
     
  7. Christiangirl

    Christiangirl Banned
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    Another thing to note about this.... A friend of mine applied MD/PhD a couple of years ago and while the schools that rejected her MD/PhD considered her for MD, it still hurt her considerably because it delays your application. Basically, the schools did not forward her application to the MD only program until after they reviewed it and about two months elapsed. If you are considering rolling admissions schools, this is something to consider.
     
  8. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    It really depends on the particular school's admissions process. Some schools (like UCSF) will consider you first for the MD program. In any case, you are right about being cautious about delays. You should definitely try to turn in applications early. If you do them early enough, then the slight delay at some schools shouldn't matter significantly. MD/PhD applicants tend to have higher average MCAT, GPA, etc. and tend to be very competitive with MD-only applicants. From my experience, I applied all MD/PhD, but got into several schools MD-only. This obvious didn't affect my chances at those schools. However, you should look at the particulars of any specific school's admissions process.
     
  9. cranberry

    cranberry New Member

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    Do I need to take the GRE for MD/PhD? My MCAT scores are very high.
    Thanks
     
  10. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    For the vast majority of schools, the MCAT will suffice (I did not take the GRE). Congratulations on rocking the MCAT. But don't forget the old adage: Know thy research... :)
     
  11. cranberry

    cranberry New Member

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    Hi Vader,
    Thanks for all the great info you've been sharing. All of my stats are quite high,just published(second author),and good extra stuff. I just graduated with a BS/MS from a top school. Next year I am staying in the lab I've worked in for the last two years. I expect another publication. How many schools should I apply to?
    Thanks again,
    Cranberry
     
  12. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel

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    What sort of questions were you (those who interviewed MD/PhD) asked in the interviews regarding your research? Thanks for all of the great info!
     
  13. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    It sounds like you'll be a great applicant for MD/PhD programs. I didn't even have a publication when applying. The number of schools you apply to is really dependent on you. With your qualifications, you definitely wouldn't have to apply to a ridiculously high number. I would apply to schools in areas that you would seriously consider living for 7-8 years. Many applicants I met applied to around 10-15 MD/PhD programs total. I applied to more because I didn't know how it would end up (I didn't have an especially high MCAT). I would apply to enough to have a reasonable chance of getting in. This may include several top programs and some lower ranked ones. Good luck in applying! :)
     
  14. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    Most of your interviews will focus heavily on your research experience and ability to communicate what you've done. Not surprisingly, typical research questions start with "So tell me a little bit about what you've done." This is the prompt to explain in a clear and concise way what your research is all about, including its broader significance. You must really know it inside-out. Often, you might be interviewed by someone who is an expert in that particular field. In this case, they often will ask you very, very detailed questions about what you have done, in part to see if you really know what you're doing, and in part to see how you react to some pressure. The best thing is to remain calm and give well thought-out responses. If they challenge what you've done, be prepared to explain without getting defensive. When they are satisfied with your responses, they will often tell you a little about what they are researching or they may ask if you have any questions for them. It is always a good idea to come prepared with some questions for your interviewer that show you can think and that you are interested.

    Other questions typically asked are "Why both the MD and PhD?", "Why not one or the other?", or "If you had to choose just one, which would it be?" You should really think this through beforehand and try to draw from your experiences to explain why.

    Inevitably, there are also questions about non-academic things, which could include extra-curriculars. A question that I was often asked was "What do you do for fun?" They want to see that you are a living, breathing human being and not just a lab machine.

    After several interviews, you'll feel like you should be able to just tape record your schpeal and press "play" when it is time. By the end I think most applicants get pretty tired of repeating the same things during interviews.

    Hope this helps and good luck in applying!
     
  15. groundhog

    groundhog 1K Member

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    The President's Medalist for the University of Washington class of 2001 is going on to a MD/PHD program at Washington University in St Louis. She had a dual BS in biochemistry and neurobiology, a 3.97 GPA, and a fist full of research accomplishments.
     
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  17. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    You'll find that at many of the top programs, applicants who are interviewed have done some amazing things and have extremely high qualifications. Since these programs are so selective, you do need to make yourself stand out somehow. However, this isn't representative of most applicants to these programs, so don't fret if you are not the President's Medalist. :D
     
  18. Seal

    Seal Member

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    Well, thanks for the heads-up... now I suppose I know I will be attending the same school as the amazing President's medalist
    :D . I just saw this thread, and want to thank Vader for giving all this advice. When I was going through the application process last year, I would have really appreciated somebody like Vader giving sugggestions and encouragement. He is completely right about everything, also, from the questions asked to the fact that MD/PhD programs should not be thought of as too hard to get in.

    For all of you who are wondering whether you have the stats or research experience to get in (after you hear stories of Superman and Wonderwoman getting in): just go for it if YOU think that the MD and the PhD will benefit you. I was actively discouraged from applying by my advisors, and last year at this time felt that there was no way I would get in. Although I came close to listening to everybody else and not applying, I eventually decided to apply anyway. Now that I am about to matriculate as part of the MD/PhD program at Wash U, I just want to tell those of you who are still wondering yourself whether your application is strong enough to go ahead anyway. Scores are important, but motivation is the key. Your goals should be clear. Your reasons for getting the MD/PhD should be well-defined. You need to know why you want both degrees and not just one, and that response must become part of you. As a result, that determination will come through during your interview, and others will have the chance to see why you are qualified and, most important, why you want the dual-degree training.

    Best of luck to all of you. Remember, don't give up! If you know what you want, nobody can prevent you from achieving your goal.
     
  19. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel

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    Congrats Seal! I love hearing about a good success story when others told you it was impossible...it's a refreshing change.
     
    #17 CoffeeCat, Jun 14, 2001
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009

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