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(MSTP MD/PhD application) Improved chance with Master's? + Additional Questions

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Hello friends,

I am currently a junior hoping to gain admittance to an MSTP program. My current GPA is ~3.65 and I am currently majoring in Cellular and Molecular Biology (B.S.) as well as Modern Language with an emphasis in Spanish (B.S.) with minors in Chemistry (emphasis in Biochem) as well as Sociology. I recently transferred back home from a flagship state university to a smaller, midsize state university. I transferred because of personal issues related to the health problems and treatment for a sibling. These personal issues led to my GPA suffering a great deal dropping from ~3.8 to where it is at now. As a result of transferring, I will have to take an additional year to graduate. However, I am taking the GRE in February in order to apply to an accelerated Master's program at my institution in Cell and Molecular bio, which if admitted would allow me to graduate with both my undergraduate degrees and my Master's in a total of 6 years. Now that I've set up the general narrative of my situation, I have a few questions.

1. Will my transferring from a larger, more well-known institution to a smaller but still competitive research university hurt my chances of being noticed by MSTP admissions?
2. Will my Master's program benefit me very much in admissions if I do well in my graduate courses? (Will it help much having a Master's instead of not having one)
3. Will my M.S. be looked at differently if it's an accelerated program as opposed to a traditional one?
4. In my program I'm given the option to do a thesis or a non-thesis program. Which would be most desirable to pursue if MSTP is my goal?
5. Being a nontraditional student, would this hurt or help my application given that I would be a few years older than most traditional students?

Thank you in advance for all of your help.

I'm sure I'll bug you all with more questions.

Have a great day, friends.
 

wholeheartedly

Epi Geek
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Hello friends,

I am currently a junior hoping to gain admittance to an MSTP program. My current GPA is ~3.65 and I am currently majoring in Cellular and Molecular Biology (B.S.) as well as Modern Language with an emphasis in Spanish (B.S.) with minors in Chemistry (emphasis in Biochem) as well as Sociology. I recently transferred back home from a flagship state university to a smaller, midsize state university. I transferred because of personal issues related to the health problems and treatment for a sibling. These personal issues led to my GPA suffering a great deal dropping from ~3.8 to where it is at now. As a result of transferring, I will have to take an additional year to graduate. However, I am taking the GRE in February in order to apply to an accelerated Master's program at my institution in Cell and Molecular bio, which if admitted would allow me to graduate with both my undergraduate degrees and my Master's in a total of 6 years. Now that I've set up the general narrative of my situation, I have a few questions.

1. Will my transferring from a larger, more well-known institution to a smaller but still competitive research university hurt my chances of being noticed by MSTP admissions?
2. Will my Master's program benefit me very much in admissions if I do well in my graduate courses? (Will it help much having a Master's instead of not having one)
3. Will my M.S. be looked at differently if it's an accelerated program as opposed to a traditional one?
4. In my program I'm given the option to do a thesis or a non-thesis program. Which would be most desirable to pursue if MSTP is my goal?
5. Being a nontraditional student, would this hurt or help my application given that I would be a few years older than most traditional students?

Thank you in advance for all of your help.

I'm sure I'll bug you all with more questions.

Have a great day, friends.


Welcome. We have a physician scientist section here where you might be able to get better answers to your questions. Would you like me to move your post there?
 
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Lucca

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The masters will not inherently improve your chances. The research experience during your masters work and the associated products (presentations, papers, etc) will. A masters degree is not the only way to attain those things if you are lacking them from undergrad. Go to the sticky at the top of this board about MD/PhD chances. That will have the information you need to assess your own competitiveness for MD/PhD programs
 

OxToCA

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A masters will help, but probably not an accelerated one since you most likely won't have time to generate a publication and do other things, like present at conferences, be involved in ECs, etc, IMO.
 
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jesie

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Anecdotally (based on my interview experience and the ages of the other kids in my mstp class), only around half the kids coming into MSTPs are coming straight out of 4 years of college. Masters degrees and multiple gap years are very normal.

Chill with all the majors and minors...for now, just get your gpa up and put in serious hours in the lab. Don't spend your time on a bunch of extra SOC or whatever is ancillary given your personal goals and interests. I didn't even have one real major (I had a weird pick your own adventure major, didn't take any science beyond what you needed for the MCAT) and I was fine with multiple MD/PhD acceptances.

If you end up doing it, do a thesis program. Just be very careful about picking a lab that you could end up getting stuck in (like X-ray crystallography or something).

Will your grad courses actually count as grad courses or in your unique situation will they be able to count towards your uGPA? That could help repair it.

Unless your current university is super prestigious (in which case, STAY), i don't think anyone will care about your transfer.
 
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