MD-PhD Program Choice

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Oct 3, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hi all, I've done a lot of thinking on this alone before posting here, but feel I really could use some outside opinions on this if anyone has any. I have MD-PhD acceptances at the two programs mentioned in the title, and see pros and cons to each. While I'm on multiple waitlists at the moment, most of which I would have to choose over either of these two, I understand that I am effectively rejected until I'm accepted off any waitlist.

For these two programs, I see the research opportunities at each to be comparable (maybe slight edge to BU). I feel very 50/50 at the moment on this decision, so I appreciate any advice. Currently I would say I am interested in radiation oncology or neurology, though the match is obviously many years away and I realize this could change.

Princeton-Rutgers RWJ

- "fully funded", aka stipend and tuition payment all 8 years.
- my partner will be moving in with me at the start of my PhD, and it would be nice to be able to support her. I feel we would live more comfortably here than in Boston.
- cheaper COL on average in NJ than in Boston
- affiliations with multiple institutions for research (Princeton and Rutgers)

- weaker match list (MD and MD-PhD taken into account for this, so they may be more comparable if only looking MD-PhD)
- I have no ties to NJ
- very new curriculum/structure for med school years
- fewer job opportunities in the area (for partner)


- better match list, and more highly ranked on US news for whatever that's worth.
- Boston is fun
- family nearby
- summer research rotation stipends are offered
- slight edge in terms of research opportunities/funding for the school at large
- more job opportunities in the city (for my partner)

- no stipend during medical school years (would have to take out loans or front >$20K for housing and food each year)
- Boston is expensive

Thanks so much to anyone who reads this or votes. Any input is welcome. I've definitely laid out most of the life-factors here in my lists, because I feel (maybe incorrectly) that I'm choosing between "more comfortable life in the short term" at Princeton-Rutgers and "possibly better opportunities down the road" at BU.


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5+ Year Member
Dec 9, 2014
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  1. MD/PhD Student
No stipend during med school years is a non-starter IMO. Go somewhere that values you enough to compensate you like nearly every other comparable program.
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import pandas as pd
Feb 5, 2020
The Great Midwest Mountains
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  1. Pre-Medical
I'll echo what's said above! Going into debt vs full stipend? No brainer for me. Also the cheaper COL and area is pretty. Having lived in NJ for a little I can attest that's its a cool area. Also Rutgers is wicked close to Philly which is such a fun city.
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