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Programs & People that PhD between M1 and M2

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thegreatdanton

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Hi, I am an M1 in the MD/PhD program and for many reasons, I really want to do my PhD between M1 and M2. I've talked to both MD/PhD directors that agree that this is a viable possibility, my future PI would prefer it, and students further along in the program think it is both doable and many wished they'd done the same. The red tape for doing this is going to be the dean of the medical school with whom I've set up a meeting at the end of this month and hearing that he can be stubborn with policy changes, want to bring in a thorough report to convince him. I've currently researched step 1 score creep, USMLE completion time limits, and non-traditional approaches to two of our previous MD/PhD students. I'm now trying to seek out people that did this approach or programs that allow this option to better support my case. It seems like Urbana Champaign has a more integrated M1-PhD phase before starting the rest of medical school but that's as far as I've been able to dig up currently. Can anyone help me?
 

URHere

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Until very recently, my program allowed students to choose between starting their PhD after MS1 or after MS2 (or in very rare cases, after MS3). I'd say about 10% of our students chose to start the PhD early. As you mentioned, those students avoided the whole score creep issue and also formed stronger bonds with their new MD classmates than those of us who were thrust back during clinical rotations.

The only strong arguments I could see for not starting the PhD early is if your school has drastically different calendars for the MD and the PhD programs (such that you couldn't finish MS1 in time to start the graduate portion) or if you haven't picked a research lab yet (which doesn't sound like it is the case for you). Just keep in mind that there will be much less flexibility with finishing your PhD in time to come back to MS2 than there would be if you were coming back into clerkships, where you could generally start a block or two later than everyone else. If you don't time things perfectly, you may be committing yourself to an extra year in lab.
 

thegreatdanton

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Until very recently, my program allowed students to choose between starting their PhD after MS1 or after MS2 (or in very rare cases, after MS3). I'd say about 10% of our students chose to start the PhD early. As you mentioned, those students avoided the whole score creep issue and also formed stronger bonds with their new MD classmates than those of us who were thrust back during clinical rotations.

The only strong arguments I could see for not starting the PhD early is if your school has drastically different calendars for the MD and the PhD programs (such that you couldn't finish MS1 in time to start the graduate portion) or if you haven't picked a research lab yet (which doesn't sound like it is the case for you). Just keep in mind that there will be much less flexibility with finishing your PhD in time to come back to MS2 than there would be if you were coming back into clerkships, where you could generally start a block or two later than everyone else. If you don't time things perfectly, you may be committing yourself to an extra year in lab.

Would you mind telling me which program this is? Our program is moving to MS3 as well which I think is risky in regards to people having 3 years of med school paid and under their belt, rotating through a specialty that they fall in love with, and then deciding to forgo the extra 4 years of PhD.
 

neurotroph

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Most students at Pritzker start the PhD after MS1. Hopkins also allows it for students who want to.
 

URHere

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Would you mind telling me which program this is? Our program is moving to MS3 as well which I think is risky in regards to people having 3 years of med school paid and under their belt, rotating through a specialty that they fall in love with, and then deciding to forgo the extra 4 years of PhD.

I'm at OHSU. If you want more info about anything, feel free to PM me.
 
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