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PhD during residency, before or after?

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Orestis

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Hello people,

I am a 5th year medical student from Europe. I do not want to go to USA, I wanna stay in Europe. But since this is the biggest online medical community I know I am going to ask here, after all I guess more or less the same will apply for Europe as well.

So... I wanna become a neurologist and mainly do neuroscience research. I know that I can do research without a PhD but it is better to have a PhD. I know that it is possible to do a PhD during my residency but considering that both PhD and residency are quite hard themselves it will be almost impossible to do both the same time. What do you think would be better? First get my PhD and then continue with my residency or the other way around?

Thanks :)
 

shadow522

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Hello people,

I am a 5th year medical student from Europe. I do not want to go to USA, I wanna stay in Europe. But since this is the biggest online medical community I know I am going to ask here, after all I guess more or less the same will apply for Europe as well.

So... I wanna become a neurologist and mainly do neuroscience research. I know that I can do research without a PhD but it is better to have a PhD. I know that it is possible to do a PhD during my residency but considering that both PhD and residency are quite hard themselves it will be almost impossible to do both the same time. What do you think would be better? First get my PhD and then continue with my residency or the other way around?

Thanks :)
If competition for a position in European residency programs is like that in the USA, then I would imagine it will be better for you to finish your residency and then do the PhD. Alternatively, you can look for residency programs that emphasize a research component and perhaps pursue a research heavy fellowship after residency instead of the PhD. You could also do a postdoc after your residency instead of a PhD. These would more or less accomplish similar goals in terms of your research training. I know several successful PIs who did their MD, residency, then postdoc and are now faculty with labs and graduate students while also practicing clinically.
 

Orestis

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Residencies are less competitive in Europe, at least in Germany that I am interested. I was thinking about doing that, just do my residency and try to join research projects without having PhD, but after some googling people are saying that it is getting harder for non PhD researchers to get funding. Plus don't I need a PhD if I want to become head of a department in university hospital?

Thanks for the fast repply
 

Future MD/PhD

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I'm actually doing research in a university hospital in Germany right now and the head of my department (who spearheads all the research that is conducted within the department) does not have a PhD. Whether you think that will affect the quality of your research or your ability to get funding is a different question. Nevertheless, the German post-doc that I work closely with somehow managed to get a PhD during his medical school training, so I can ask him some more targeted questions if you'd like. My two cents would be to get it after residency, but if you're more inclined to see patients than do research, then I would skip the PhD and simply do research heavy fellowships and whatnot. What type of research/practice split are you hoping for (50/50, 80/20, etc)?
 
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Orestis

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Hi!
I would say 70% research 30% practice. It is really encouraging that the head of the department does not have a PhD yet he is still the "boss". Since you are in Germany right now, do you know how easy is it to do a bit of research during residency? In USA for example in many hospitals you can choose between two different programs, one of them focuses on research(some days of the week in the last residency year I think). How common is for a resident spending some time in research in Germany?

P.S. I am not studying in Germany so I have no idea about their system.
Thanks!
 

Future MD/PhD

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So apparently it's not very easy to do research during residency in Germany, but it depends a lot on the residency. I just asked my friend whether neurology residencies are more lenient towards research and I'm waiting for his reply. Since you want to do more research than practice, however, I highly suggest doing a PhD after residency, or a post-doc, or a research heavy fellowship, like @shadow522 said. I think a graduate degree could help to demonstrate your ability to conduct good research, but the same could be accomplished during a period of time when you publish a lot of first-author papers.
 
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Orestis

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People are telling me that a clinical PhD is much easier than a basic science PhD. Is this true?
 

Future MD/PhD

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I've actually heard that you graduate faster with a basic science PhD. Working with humans can be very unpredictable...
You may also want to consider the quality of your training. A professor once told me that getting a clinical PhD is like learning how to build a roof whereas getting a basic science PhD is like learning how to build a house. You can specialize in the roof later if you want to, but you don't have the option of specializing in doors, or windows, or something else if you chose the first option...just a thought. The guy who told me was a basic science researcher, so take his bias with a grain of salt. Some people also say that what you want to do long-term is what really matters, but most people agree with the former statement.
 
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Orestis

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Ok thank you guys for all your help. Tomorrow there is a recruiting agency for doctors in Germany coming in the city. I will try to get some extra info from them.
 

Blackdogue

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Ok thank you guys for all your help. Tomorrow there is a recruiting agency for doctors in Germany coming in the city. I will try to get some extra info from them.
Wow, I hope you find what you're looking for, since I'm also Greek and considering neurology residency and phd in Germany.
 
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