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PhD during or after medical school

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Rocket3004

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More and more I've been thinking about pursuing a PhD (current medical student).

I've talked it over with the combined program coordinator, and while I will get stipend and what not as usual, they will not cover my cost of MD education.

Basically, I wouldn't mind doing a PhD perhaps during residency since from a purely fiscal perspective (which is worth mentioning, but not the best reason), it would be moot.

HOWEVER, an advantage of doing a PhD now would be that I would probably be more competitive for a residency (esp. at an academic institution). The thing is, is that I don't really want to spend more time at my home institution. It's good, but I would like to do my PhD elsewhere. If I continue to do fairly well, depending on the specialty, I would probably be able to "match up" to a "better institution" - most likely somewhere I'd be much happier. It is a bit of a risk though to bank on that sort of thing, I mean who knows what could happen.

EDIT: forgot to mention: what are the pitfalls of each considering my position? Is it hard from a logistics standpoint to pursue a degree during one's residency or at least after graduating?
 

Rocket3004

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Really? So no insight at all as far as doing the PhD post-graduation (i.e. during residency). Many academic-oriented residencies recommend/require/etc. a year or so of research, so I don't see how it would be that big of a stretch to stick around for another year or so and get a PhD?

Thing is I'm already heavily considering taking a year off during medical school as-is purely for research. So that would be 1 year now then ~2 years later... I guess that would be almost the same as doing the degree now (~2 years). Perhaps I am being too optimistic?
 

GWD

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You might consider the NIH Loan Repayment Program...

I review a lot of grant proposals from MDs that decide to go back and get advanced basic science degrees

It's certainly an option
 

Neuronix

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Thing is I'm already heavily considering taking a year off during medical school as-is purely for research. So that would be 1 year now then ~2 years later... I guess that would be almost the same as doing the degree now (~2 years). Perhaps I am being too optimistic?

You are. I wouldn't have done the MD/PhD program without full funding myself, and I'm always amazed when others will.

There are some rumors of residencies where they give you PhDs in roughly 3 years. I haven't seen these sorts of things myself. If you go for your PhD now, especially in a non-combined program, you should expect it to take around 5 years like it does for any graduate student. If you work especially hard and luck is on your side you might get that down to 4.

Sure, a PhD makes you more competitive for residency, but I would argue not enough to make you lose several years off of your life. A killer boards score and AOA probably helps more. If you really are interested in research, I would advise you to take your year now and move on. If you're serious about continuing in basic science research you'll have opportunities later on depending on what specialty you choose.
 
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