PhD to MD

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Junior Member
10+ Year Member
Feb 10, 2005
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I am a first year PhD biomedical student at Washington University. I was strongly debating going to medical school right away, but I have a desire for research and I was misinformed as an undergrad that I needed a phd to be an effective researcher (I would like to do clinical research, also seeing patients).The program in which I am currently enrolled is through the medical school and thus, we have access to certain classes for med students (ex. neuroanatomy). Would these classes transfer to any US medical schools upon matriculation? I considered just stopping short in my phd education to start medical school but I have yet to take the MCAT (I plan on taking it this summer) and by the time I took it and applied to medical schools, I would theoretically only have about 2-3 years left for my PhD work, so I decided I would just be patient. If you have any advice, in general or on any particular medical schools that I might look into which transfer credits relatively "easily", I would be very grateful.

Gut Shot

Full Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 7, 2003
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Congratulations! You've just found yourself in the same miserable hell that I was in. Don't worry about transfer credits. A few credits here and there won't shorten your overall stay in med school, so forget about it. If you have to retake a class in meds school, just revel in the fact that it's easy and you will ace the exam with minimal effort.


10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jul 22, 2004
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There's a couple of things you can try to do:

1. Contact the MSTP program at your school and see if they have a provision for people who have completed a bit of PhD work. Many schools have a policy that if you are in a PhD program, take the MCAT and apply to medical school, you can still be considered for the MSTP.

2. As the other poster said, transferring credits isn't going to be a really big worry. If you take some classes that don't transfer, its not that big a deal and if you are missing some classes, you'll be missing them no matter what. Don't worry about transferring credit. Don't take med classes just so you won't have to take them later--take them because you want to.

3. You want to contact the MD/PhD programs that you are interested in and see if they will accept transfers. Some schools are not prepared/do not accept transfers and others are big enough to do so.

4. Be careful with stopping short on the PhD because if you go through the motions and then keep putting off your final defense, you stand to upset your PI with all the time and effort he has put into you as well as the funding he has provided for all these years. You can be relatively certain that the longer you wait to do this, the more upset he/she will become. The chance of being accepted into another lab in your field will decrease as time goes on because many of these investigators know each other and are only a phone call away. I'm not trying to scare you, but think you should come to a decision about this pretty quick.

PM me if you'd like any additional advice.