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Non-Science Majors and MD/PhD

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by hotstuffdb22, May 22, 2002.

  1. Hello,
    I'm fairly new to this site so I'm uncertain whether this topic has been already discussed, but must one be a science major to apply to these MD/PhD programs? I am an Ancient Languages major, but have flooded my coursework with all the major science courses, and many specific biology courses because that is my primary interest. Anybody out there know? Is it more or less difficult?
     
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  3. Spudster

    Spudster Member

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    If I understand you correctly, you are a non-science major and intend to do a non-science PhD, is that correct? There are certain schools out there that are very receptive to non-biomed MD/PhDers, but they are not too common. I think that Stanford and Yale are among them, though I would check with Marjorie and Susan, respectively, before placing any bets. For any program, the main attraction will be your research experiences. If you have done substantial research in Ancient Languages and can somehow convince them that you will be able to connect that to medicine, then go for it. This also applies if I have misunderstood you in assuming that your PhD would be non-science. If you intend to do a more traditional PhD, then there is no problem so long as you have good research experinces. It is good that you have taken lots of "specific biology courses," but I think most MSTP committees would rather see time in the lab. I, for one, didn't do research in my major (Chemistry), but I did a lot of it and could talk about it in interviews, which seems to be what counts.
     
  4. none

    none 1K Member

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    This is a rather different situation than the vast majority of standard bio/chem MD/PhD applicants. I would definitely contact the schools I was interested in. I know that most graduate programs like to see the bachelor's work done in at least a "related field" to the graduate work. And MST Programs seem to really want students to do something that begins with bio for their PhD. That said, there are the exceptions (MSTP is all about exceptions). UCSD allows students to do their PhD in anthropology.

    I'd be very interested to hear what the OP is going to tell the adcom when they ask how integrating ancient languages with medicine would be useful.
     
  5. shamus1

    shamus1 Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Spudster:
    <strong>If I understand you correctly, you are a non-science major and intend to do a non-science PhD, is that correct? There are certain schools out there that are very receptive to non-biomed MD/PhDers, but they are not too common. I think that Stanford and Yale are among them, though I would check with Marjorie and Susan, respectively, before placing any bets. For any program, the main attraction will be your research experiences. If you have done substantial research in Ancient Languages and can somehow convince them that you will be able to connect that to medicine, then go for it. This also applies if I have misunderstood you in assuming that your PhD would be non-science. If you intend to do a more traditional PhD, then there is no problem so long as you have good research experinces. It is good that you have taken lots of "specific biology courses," but I think most MSTP committees would rather see time in the lab. I, for one, didn't do research in my major (Chemistry), but I did a lot of it and could talk about it in interviews, which seems to be what counts.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">UIUC would probably be the most receptive to non-bio majors. I think that you would find that many schools would be receptive to non-biomed majors. Penn has music & economics majors, Wash U has Latin and music majors (but no Latin Music majors), etc. The important thing though is that these people had a good deal of science coursework and had strong research experience.
     
  6. </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by none:
    <strong>This is a rather different situation than the vast majority of standard bio/chem MD/PhD applicants. I would definitely contact the schools I was interested in. I know that most graduate programs like to see the bachelor's work done in at least a "related field" to the graduate work. And MST Programs seem to really want students to do something that begins with bio for their PhD. That said, there are the exceptions (MSTP is all about exceptions). UCSD allows students to do their PhD in anthropology.

    I'd be very interested to hear what the OP is going to tell the adcom when they ask how integrating ancient languages with medicine would be useful.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">My original question was mainly directed towards whether or not it is a necessity to major in science. As far as research is concerned, I have focused the past two years on cell biology and genetic research, because this is where my passion lies. The reason why I majored in Ancient Languages is because I really enjoyed reading literature in the original language. I feel sorry for people who feel their major must be integrated with medicine somehow. I believe learning difficult concepts helps in problem solving, and problem solving is exactly what medicine is. Ancient Languages just so happens to provide difficult concepts that have actually developed more of my problem solving skills than the general biology and chemistry classes. I hope this explains the reason why I majored in Ancient Languages.
     
  7. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior

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    hotstuffdb22,

    You're ok. Just like the previous posters said, all you need is strong research; and judging from your last post, you've got that. You'll actually have a better shot than a science major, all other things (MCAT, GPA, research, extras,...) being equal.
     
  8. atsai3

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    hotstuffdb22,

    It is definitely not necessary to major in science. As long as you demonstrate strong research aptitude (which in turn will give admit committees an idea of how successful you will be in their program) you should be ok.

    Cheers
    -a.
     
  9. energy_girl

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    To reiterate, I don't think it's necessary to major in the sciences at all IF you have sufficient proof of your interest. This means that you have significant research experience (2+ years) and perhaps quite a few science classes, as well as a good reason for why you chose to major in something else if you're so passionate about science.

    I am currently in an MD/PhD program, and I majored in Philosophy in college. I did so because I knew that my future career would be in scientific research, and I wanted to use my college years to pursue another subject of great interest to me. When I interviewed, many programs were rather curious about this choice, but ultimately I don't think it affected me. So I would say, do what you really love, and as long as you have research in the scientific field of interest, you should be just fine.
     

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