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MD/PhD

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by MoeDaMan, Jul 2, 2001.

  1. MoeDaMan

    MoeDaMan Senior Member
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    One last questions,

    I have seriously debated this for 3 years, and I don't think at this point if I know the answer?

    Couple of questions on the joint program as well as my background...

    I have done research for approximately 3 years, 6 abstracts, 1 paper published and another paper is in the process of being published. I have done neuroimaging research, as well as genetics research for two different labs primarily on neuropsychiatric diseases...

    I have about 5 or 6 very competitive research awards in my school. I was really adamant in pursuing an MD/PhD. HOwever, couple of things really discourage me along the way, that seemed minor at first but now seem such a critical factor...

    1) if I am applying to an average of 20 and 30 schools, and I apply to the joint program of lets say 5. Won't it be obvious to all the other schools, that these 5 schools are my top choice?

    2) I really don't understand, after working in 4 different labs these past four years. On how, pple pursue a joint program, in a school or a lab they have never been to. I have had personal experiences of pursuing a top notch lab, and found that some of the pple in the lab were so ANAL and antisocial. of course, I keep to myself if pple are not social and focuse on my research. But I never knew how much politics were in play?! :(

    3) Also, how could you be sure that the lab your pursuing is getting good funding? Gosh, in one of my labs, every 3 years, when the grant was running out, half the pple in the lab would have a cigarret on one hand, and a DARK Bitter black coffee onteh other hand....u couldn't even say hi to some pple cuz they were such in a bad mood...

    4) Is there anyway, that I can get my medical degree first, and then get my PhD degree and still be eligible for the wonderful scholarship? I don't know how pple are able to commit 7 years of their lives without at least finishing 6 years of their life getting a degree? I know you see the fruits of your labor at the end of 7 years, but wouldnt it be easier to finish the md first and then the phd, or vice versa?

    I really love research a lot not as much as medicine though. However, these little things, lab interactions, funding, the length of the program are such a turn off. I never thought myself of being naive, but when I look back. I used to think that the only consideration for doing an MD/PhD is the school and the lab. However, after my experiences, these little things are annoying. I don't know, maybe it was because I was an undergraduate, and pple would step on you if they felt like it. Maybe as a MD/PhD one is more entitled to respect? At this point, I really am confused on whether to apply or not, even though I have tried to have such an extensive background in terms of research?!!?!

    please advise :eek:
     
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  3. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator
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    As far as I understand, it's two separate process.... Meaning, you apply through AMCAS then the schools send you more information regarding the MD/PhD apps which in turn you'd have to fill out a separate application for.... Good luck and best wishes....
     
  4. Seal

    Seal Member
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    MoeDaMan:

    I went through the same process last year of trying to decide whether to apply to MD/PhD programs. In many ways, I had similar concerns: I wasn't sure about my application, I wasn't sure if I wanted to a combined degree or just MD or PhD alone (I was also more interested in medicine than research at the time.)

    Let me try to answer your (many :smile: questions):

    That is a lot research! You have certainly proven your commitment towards and aptitude for research. I am sure you are very dedicated to pursuing research, and this will help you tremendously.

    First of all, why would you only apply to 5 joint programs? If you are sure that you want to do MD/PhD, then perhaps you should apply MD/PhD for all the schools. Some people choose to apply to some MD and some combined degree because their application is weak. Yours sound so strong that I am pretty sure you won't have a problem getting in. Also, you said that you loved research but wasn't sure about medicine. Would you really want to go to a school if they just accept you for the MD but not MD/PhD?

    Even if you do apply to only 5 MD/PhD programs, the other schools won't know that. Unless they ask you specifically during the interview whether you applied to MD/PhD programs at other schools, they have no way of knowing that you even applied for the combined degree.


    Well, I guess you really have no way of knowing EXACTLY what the school or the lab you are going to will be like unless you've already spent time there. For me, I chose a school that I had never been to before and certainly did not know anybody at. I am not worried however, because I feel like I learned sufficiently about the program and the students there during my interview and revisit. I also view this as a new experience; I think it would be incredibly boring to only attend a school that I have alrady had worked in.

    As for the lab: well, most programs require 10 or so week rotations, so I guess during the rotation you can find out about the personalities of other people in the lab. You may also hear from other faculty or students about the funding situation in the lab, although you can never really tell, as you said.

    Yes, 7 (or more!) years is an incredibly long time, and it's almost frightening to commit yourself to this long of a training process. Perhaps you're right, it might be easier to go on with a degree with a PhD "on the belt" or an MD. But I think the point of the combined degree MD/PhD program is that you will get training for both degrees in conjunction with each other. You will apply what you learn from one degree to the other and vice versa, so you intersperse your MD and PhD training rather than go through all 4 years of medical school then going on to the PhD. I really don't think that any program funds you to do the degrees separately. Certainly, you can do your MD first and pay it yourself, then go on to do your PhD, the latter of which will be funded. But I don't think there is a program that gives you one degree first and then the other.

    It's always going to be up to you what career path you take. I understand your frustation--you've worked so hard to do so much research, but now you're realizing that the real world involves so much bureaucracy and you have to wade through so much s*** to do what you really want to do. I know it's going to be a difficult choice for you. The most I can say is think it through. Think about why you want to want to be a doctor, think about whether you want to go into straight practice or whether you want to do mainly research. If it's the latter, the MD/PhD will certainly help (although it isn't necessary). Ultimately, it comes down to what you want to do and which path you believe will lead you to best accomplish your goal.
     
  5. MoeDaMan

    MoeDaMan Senior Member
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    Gosh Thanks Seal :D

    that was such an awesome reply! moe aint DA man, U DA MAN :D

    anyway, I guess, I shouldn't county my chickens before they hatch...

    I might not even get into an MD/PHD program...so I might be worrying for nothing....

    ;) :D
     
  6. Seal

    Seal Member
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    Seal da woman, you mean ;)

    Well, good luck with the application and everything. As I said, I think you've got an excellent chance, and you're obviously very dedicated. Ring me up if you're ever in St. Louis!

    Best wishes,
    Seal
     
  7. MoeDaMan

    MoeDaMan Senior Member
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    Seal U da Goddess...

    sure, I will ring you up and maybe you can show me the whole town, just kidding, didn't mean to take advantage of your generosity :D

    thanks for ur input though, I appreciate it
     

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