ToTheLighthouse

5+ Year Member
Feb 21, 2010
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Pre-Psychology
I'm thinking about Med-School. I love philosophy, theory etc., and would like to continue to study these kinds of things.
Could I do this while in med-school, then later in Psych. residency?
Or should I just stick with the Clinical Psych. PhD route?

I feel like an MD in Psychiatry is a more prestigious degree, and will grant me immense job security, and even be a great advantage in finding clients in private practice.

I feel like a Psych. PhD may be less respected than a Psychiatrist, and I don't want THAT.

Input?
 

st2205

Attending
10+ Year Member
Oct 29, 2006
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Attending Physician
I can't speak for residency, but if philosophy is what you're looking for I don't think you'll find it in medical school. In medical school you'll take biochemistry, anatomy, histology, microbiology, pharmacology, histology, physiology, pathology, neuroscience, and histology. Then you'll do rotations in surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, family medicine, etc. There's not a whole lot of philosophy.

Of course, you may find you like the above mentioned, so it's worth exploring. You could google medical school curriculum and see what is entailed to get a better idea if you think that may be up your alley. Also do so with PhD programs, as you may find that the other stuff that's involved in the PhD may not be your bag.

If your sole goal (not that it necessarily should or shouldn't be) is job security, as mentioned, I think, despite the sacrifice involved, MD/DO wins out (of course the arguement is made to the contrary that if you're willing to work hard, etc., but in all honesty it would be MD/DO).
 

Sartre79

10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 29, 2003
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Resident [Any Field]
I'm thinking about Med-School. I love philosophy, theory etc., and would like to continue to study these kinds of things.
Could I do this while in med-school, then later in Psych. residency?
Or should I just stick with the Clinical Psych. PhD route?

I feel like an MD in Psychiatry is a more prestigious degree, and will grant me immense job security, and even be a great advantage in finding clients in private practice.

I feel like a Psych. PhD may be less respected than a Psychiatrist, and I don't want THAT.

Input?
Hello. My undergraduate degrees were Philosophy, Poli Sci, and Psych so I can relate to your love of abstract thinking, etc. I can only comment up to the M3 year, but here is my opinion: Medical school thus far is a memory game of science facts and their application, and there isn't a lot of abstract reasoning/thinking in the coursework that is similar and/or emphasized like that of a liberal arts program. In fact, when ethical debate, psych theory, or "touchy feely" subjects come up, there is often a collective groan from many of my classmates (I can only account for my school, and I suspect many of them are going into surgery :laugh:). So, you may be disappointed with med school curriculum if you are looking for the things you posted above. However, Psych residency may be better since you tend to be around people that have more in common and tend to like cerebral thinking, etc....but I cannot comment with any authority. Best of luck!
 
Sep 21, 2009
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Medical Student
Completely agree with the above comment, but I go to a very "traditional" med school in the deep South. Schools in other areas might be quite different.

I hope more people of your mindset do go to medical school! I found the first two year's curriculum to quite boring (which is not to say that I was good at it ;) ), but I was able to cobble together some great electives that made third and fourth year more enjoyable.

Overall I've been shocked by how little training most physicians seem to have in ethics, knowledge, philosophy, sociology and law, considering how important that stuff is to our job. But people in medicine have such different personalities, I'm sure you could ask other people in my class and they would tell you that ethics class was completely pointless.

I would encourage you to pursue what you think will be most rewarding to your long-term goals! There have been times when I wished I had gone the PhD route, but ultimately I'm glad for the choice I made. Some reasons why I stuck with medicine...

1. I was already in medical school when I realized what medical school was actually like. (Oops). At that point I didn't want to throw away the time and money I'd spent and not finish.

2. I found almost every field of medicine very interesting and genuinely loved helping people with their health issues. I like being a doctor first, then a psychiatrist.

3. You can always get a PhD or more training is psychology later.

4. I wanted to be able to prescribe medicines for my own patients.

5. Job security and variety - felt like the M.D. would open up a lot of options to me (running a community mental health center, addiction treatment program, etc)

6. Medicine and medical school is a completely different, weird culture and it's neat to be apart of it. (Also frequently miserable, but I'm a fourth year atm so I'm not very miserable :D) Very few people get the experience of training to be an MD. It's pretty crazy.

7. I'm sure there was a good deal of ego thrown in there.
 

toby jones

10+ Year Member
Jan 8, 2007
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Clinical psychology isn't philosophy anymore than medicine is.

I guess it is about what you enjoy. With respect to medicine vs clinical psychology do other areas of medicine or other areas of psychology interest you more?

There is an option to do a PhD with a medical program (at least there is where I am). I know a couple people who did a PhD in philosophy alongside the medical training. I guess you could do a PhD in psychology alongside if you liked. With respect to Clinical psychology / philosophy blend I guess you could declare a double major and pursue both that way. Depends on what interests you the most, I guess.