odddodo

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10+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2006
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I could not find a separate forum for MD/PhD, so I'm assuming it's supposed to go here...

I've been assuming that I would apply for an MD degree. However, I found out that a mentor I am researching for is assuming that I'll go for MD/PhD. Naturally, this made me curious as to what this path entails. I know very little about it aside from hearsay; I've been reluctant to take that path because I hear that it's even harder to get accepted there than MD. I've also heard that applying for MD/PhD can hurt your chances for getting in as a pure MD.

Any information of MD/PhD programs in general would be appreciated. All I know is that it requires having done more research than a pure MD degree would require.
 

Dr Durden

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Jun 15, 2006
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The Dirty South
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It's generally an eight year sequence where you take the first two years of medical school (i.e. anatomy, pathology, biochem) with the entering class. During summer and "light" semesters, you do lab rotations in which you'll spend around a month working in a lab of interest. The next two, three, or four years are spent in a single lab of your choice pursuing the Ph.D., learning to think independently, design your own experiments, write grants, and complete a thesis. You then finish your last two years of medical school on the wards (i.e. OB/GYN, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Psych).

Each year is tuition free and you generally get a stipend. The more prestigious ones are funded by the NIH and are entitled MSTP or Medical Scientist Training Program. Others are simply funded by the school. It is a program designed to create the next generation of phsycian scientists or basically medical faculty. Unlike MD admissions though, the focus will be heavily weighted by past research experiences and letters of rec. Some schools will let you transfer in as a first or second year medical student, but these people are few and far between.

After you graduate though, you still have to complete a residency to be board certified and then you might still have to do a post-doc. It's a long, grueling process not for the feint of heart and you have to be certain it's for you. Trust me, you'll have plenty of essays and grilling sessions during interviews in which you'll have to explain why you chose such an arduous, but potentially rewarding path.
 

SpeakLittleB

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Apr 28, 2006
204
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MD/PhD Student
Supposedly it is harder, so you'll want to make sure your stats are higher than an average MD applicant. I think there's some saying about 33+ and 3.6+? As to its effects on the MD only process, I personally think the only hindrance is that Md/PhD applicants generally have spent more time on research and therefore have less clinical experiences to present to MD only boards.

The main focus of this degree is on research though, so you'll have to make sure that's something you really want to do. Also you need to consider the arduous path as dr durden suggested... but maybe also how it balances with the free ride + stipend for all your time in the program.

I'm applying MD/PhD this cycle so you can PM me if you want to know more about how the app process goes.
 

Learfan

Machine Gunner
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Feb 1, 2005
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In a very dull place
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Do not go here unless you absolutely cannot live without being a PI. You are looking at 4 years of med school, three to four years for the PhD and then three or more years of residency and possible fellowship as well. You will earn less than half what you could as a PI vs a physician in private practice. Only consider this route if you must have a medical research career.