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Full Member
10+ Year Member
Mar 19, 2008
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I am a Neuroscience major ready to graduate in May, and am considering future degree options after I do a couple years of research.

Initially I had always been sold on going for a PhD. I had never really been interested in patient care, not that I don't want to help people, i just am more interested in the mechanisms and such behind different functions/disorders/diseases.

Anyways, I very recently was fortunate enough to hear Sir Jonathan Miller (a true "polymath"- physician, neurologist, and playwright) speak about going into medicine, and he made me realize one important thing- as an MD, you have the advantage of being able to operate and conduct research on humans (which you don't get as a PhD, atleast not in the same way).

Considering my interests are primarily with the functions of the HUMAN brain, I am wondering if perhaps I should go for a MD-PhD. Unfortunately, with a 3.1 undergraduate GPA i think it might be near impossible, but who knows. I know the rest of my resume is/will be very appealing.

So, what do some of you with an MD/PhD do? How long did the entire process take? I have heard it can take as long as 13 years, which makes it sound pretty unappealing to me, but at the same time, the amount of freedom that I would be afforded in research and finding work in general is hard to pass up.

Thanks everyone!


15+ Year Member
Sep 10, 2003
East of Eden
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I hate to throw water on your fire, but the 3.1 GPA will be an obstacle. I do know of individuals with 3.1 GPAs who matriculated at "Top 5" institutions, but they are few.

Your motivation for the MD needs to go beyond a desire to do research on humans. Most programs will reject an otherwise strong applicant if they cannot articulate a cogent rationale for pursuing both degrees. Medical school admissions committees are particularly keen on applicants demonstrating interest in the practice of medicine.

You do not need to have an MD to do research that is directly related to human health. Many clinical departments (radiology, neurology, ophtho, etc.) are staffed heavily with PhD researchers. The only practical differences between the PhD and the MD-PhD researcher is that the latter gets to diagnosis and treat patients. To be sure, the MD-PhD will have some additional insights into the research topic based on her clinical observations (at least that is what MD-PhD directors tell themselves), but that does not mean that PhD researchers cannot make very significant contributions.


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2007
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  1. MD/PhD Student
You can always collaborate with neurosurgeons and neurologists...


Full Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2007
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  1. MD/PhD Student
I suggest you go PhD

It seems you don't have the conviction that MD/PhD requires
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