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1Path

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About 3 years ago I was talking with a VERY famous breast cancer pathologist about my future goals and I commented that I felt like an MD/PhD would give me a solid background for a career in breast pathology. Maybe my tone was off I don't know, but this MD only became VERY irate a fact I didn't put much weight into at the time. Well recently when I mentioned the fact that the MD/PhD's I met in a certain residenty program were shaprest in the group (I didn't use that term specifically but that's the jist of it), and one of the MD only folks also seemed VERY irate.

I've spent a greater part of my profesisonal life in academia working around primarily PhD's, but also MD's and MD/PhD's but I'd never noticed any sserious angnst between the groups and with the exception of the 2 situations, I still haven't. But now I'm starting wonder is this "angst" common??? Do your MD or PhD only classmates "hate on" you guys? Are MD/PhD students intellectual elitist or assumed to be? Do you feel you have to keep a low profile because of professinal jealousy? If so, how pathetically sad!
 

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I've never worried about it and have never felt like I need to keep a low profile. I never brought it up on clinical rotations, but sometimes other students or residents (my former classmates) would bring it up. As for MDs, the most common response was "more power to you" - never any jealousy. Many of them would hate being in a lab, and indicated that they respected me for taking such a long course.

As for the PhD, most did not care, but I did come across a few that questioned my commitment to science or my intent. I think some may not take MD/PhDs as seriously or think that we do it to help the resume/get school paid for, but these are the minority. Again, many say, "I would never want to be in school that long."

However, I have also seen some MD/PhD students who gave off a superior attitude or expected different treatment during their PhD training. Again, these are few, but they are out there.
 

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About 3 years ago I was talking with a VERY famous breast cancer pathologist about my future goals and I commented that I felt like an MD/PhD would give me a solid background for a career in breast pathology. Maybe my tone was off I don't know, but this MD only became VERY irate a fact I didn't put much weight into at the time. Well recently when I mentioned the fact that the MD/PhD's I met in a certain residenty program were shaprest in the group (I didn't use that term specifically but that's the jist of it), and one of the MD only folks also seemed VERY irate.

I've spent a greater part of my profesisonal life in academia working around primarily PhD's, but also MD's and MD/PhD's but I'd never noticed any sserious angnst between the groups and with the exception of the 2 situations, I still haven't. But now I'm starting wonder is this "angst" common??? Do your MD or PhD only classmates "hate on" you guys? Are MD/PhD students intellectual elitist or assumed to be? Do you feel you have to keep a low profile because of professinal jealousy? If so, how pathetically sad!


I haven't really noticed any of that. Granted, I'm in my first year of the program, but the MD-only students don't seem to resent us in any way (maybe a few of them are a little envious that we're getting paid to go here while they're paying, but that's not a big thing). Some of them erroneously (at least in my case) believe that we're smarter or better students than they are, but I don't detect any jealousy. I think they also feel a little bad for us that we have to spend an extra 3 or 4 years in school and some of them respect us for wanting to do research (which many have no interest in). But, I detect no friction between the MD-only and MD/PhD kids. So, no angst, no hating, no professional jealousy (as far as I can tell).
 
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1Path

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However, I have also seen some MD/PhD students who gave off a superior attitude or expected different treatment during their PhD training. Again, these are few, but they are out there.
I've spent most of my time at non MSTP schools. Could this be the issue? OTOH, I have seen a LOT of MD only students give attitude in any number of situations especially toward PhD only students but even that hasn't been very common. Maybe the real issue is that it's acceptable to say that other folks are smarter but that no one wants to hear how smart MD/PhD students/graduates are compared to everyone else?? I just call it like I see it but have only been called out when I specify MD/PhD.
 

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I've spent most of my time at non MSTP schools. Could this be the issue? OTOH, I have seen a LOT of MD only students give attitude in any number of situations especially toward PhD only students but even that hasn't been very common.

I'm at a non-MSTP school. Again, no issue. It might just be a function of the school you're at and a few random stuck-up people who skew your view of interactions between the different types of students.
 

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I've spent most of my time at non MSTP schools. Could this be the issue? OTOH, I have seen a LOT of MD only students give attitude in any number of situations especially toward PhD only students but even that hasn't been very common.

I'm at a non-MSTP school. I agree - I've seen med students with a superior attitude to PhD students (only a few). I know a couple of guys who started the PhD portion with an attitude, then dropped it when they realized how hard PhD students work and how difficult research (successful) can be - they gained a whole new respect.
 

1Path

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I'm at a non-MSTP school. Again, no issue. It might just be a function of the school you're at and a few random stuck-up people who skew your view of interactions between the different types of students.
No it's definitely not the non-MSTP school I'm currently attending as a graduate student. And I didn't see any "problems" at the MSTP school (Hopkins) I previously attended as a graduate student. I guess I'm starting to think that MD/PhD folks just need to keep in on the DL since you don't know if you're dealing with a "hater" until the cat's out of the bag.
 

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I guess I'm starting to think that MD/PhD folks just need to keep in on the DL since you don't know if you're dealing with a "hater" until the cat's out of the bag.

Yeah, I definitely don't advertise, but no need to.
 

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I've spent most of my time at non MSTP schools. Could this be the issue? OTOH, I have seen a LOT of MD only students give attitude in any number of situations especially toward PhD only students but even that hasn't been very common. Maybe the real issue is that it's acceptable to say that other folks are smarter but that no one wants to hear how smart MD/PhD students/graduates are compared to everyone else?? I just call it like I see it but have only been called out when I specify MD/PhD.
I go to an MSTP school (though I'm not in the MSTP), and I don't see any of that here either. I agree with the people who said that the MD-only students tend to have more respect than jealousy or dislike for the MSTP students. If anything, the PhD-only and MD-only people seem to think it's pretty neat that I have the energy/drive to go back to school after finishing the PhD to get the MD. I don't get the sense that they think I'm abandoning research or science. And all the students, PhD-only, MD-only and MSTP students alike, feel bad for people like me who did my degrees separately. ;)

I do think that since the MSTP students tend to spend a lot of time together and have extra obligations and "perks," they may come across as cliquey to the MD-only students, particularly if the MD-only students are not too interested in research. People who are in love with research are off in their own little world, and that's true no matter what degree(s) they have. :p But as an MD student who is hardcore into research, I don't find the MSTP students to be all that different than the PhD students I knew in grad school. I used to go to the APSA meetings as a PhD-only student, and I never got the impression that people thought I shouldn't be there just because I wasn't also getting an MD at the time.

1path, I think it's probably not a good idea to tell people who are MD-onlies that you think MD/PhDs are the sharpest. That may or may not even be true, but saying it isn't going to win you any friends for sure. Keep in mind that many of your interviewers are going to be MD-onlies or PhD-onlies, and you don't want to turn them off. I think it's fine to say that you admire the MD/PhDs you know as physician scientists (and explain why you want to be one of them), but you don't want to come across like you think they're better than other people just because they're MD/PhDs. There are plenty of excellent and brilliant physician scientists who have one degree or the other but not both. It's understandable why they'd react negatively if they perceived you to be saying that having both degrees automatically makes someone a better scientist.
 

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Do your MD or PhD only classmates "hate on" you guys? Are MD/PhD students intellectual elitist or assumed to be? Do you feel you have to keep a low profile because of professinal jealousy? If so, how pathetically sad!


My 2C....

I do go to an MSTP program, and I'm in my 7th year. This is what I've noticed over the years.

Most MD students here did not even know I was MD/PhD, because our curriculum is the same for the first two years. I know other programs such as Albert Einstein and others keep the MSTPs separate for many classes to avoid repeating similar coursework, which isolates these students. The effect I have seen is that regular MD students call them "mudfuds," although this is not necessarily derogatory. There is some jealousy because of the "perks"- such as better housing. Although at my program the only "perk" really is getting first choice in clerkships.

I saw slighly more "hate on" in grad school. The regular grad students here have an inferiority complex with medical students, probably because it is a medical school and they feel like second-class citizens. Some of them saw me as "one of them", but once you get to know each other this dissipated. I also saw some examples of faculty giving me a more difficult time. This was for two reasons. One is that they simply expect more from you, and if you're not curing cancer then you are a failure. The other was from non-MDPhD faculty- who tend to think that MSTPs get an easier PhD and find it unfair. They tend to go out of their way to give you a hard time. I will say this is extremely rare, but I have seen it. BTW- at my institution we do NOT get easier PhDs (our average is ~5 years). Even my own PI constantly gave me a hard time trying to humble me.

I am about to return to clinics, but from what I've seen you get much respect from residents- as long as you stay humble. Those extra years (and bitterness and cynicism) make you a more mature and level-headed medical student.

/end rant
 

1Path

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1path, I think it's probably not a good idea to tell people who are MD-onlies that you think MD/PhDs are the sharpest..
That's just it Q, I've NEVER said MD/PhD's are the shaprest. What I've said and will continue to say is that while I was at the NIH in the path department that the MD/PhD's WERE the sharpest. Now if people because of there own insecurities want to read anymore into this, that's on them.

The fact is that I ONLY talk about my MD/PhD goals in terms of how it will make ME a better scientist when I have to defend my interest in it. In fact, I had one recent lab rotation interview which was NOT a succes because of my position on this and I spent the interview defending why I wanted to pursue the MD/PhD not talking about research as in my other interviews. But the fact is that I don't want to work for/with someone who questions my goals anyway. Fortunately, there are enough other PI's at my school who not only support my goals, but are working with me to acheive them as well so in the end everything works out.:cool:

Finally, it goes without saying that there are MD and PhD onlies who do excellent research and it's "acceptable" to give THEM props. The problem seems to be with giving props to MD/PhD's. Well I'm the kinda person that call's it like I see it. So when I say that the smartest Path resident I've seen life thus far is a DO, you can take that to the bank!;)
 

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That's just it Q, I've NEVER said MD/PhD's are the shaprest. What I've said and will continue to say is that while I was at the NIH in the path department that the MD/PhD's WERE the sharpest. Now if people because of there own insecurities want to read anymore into this, that's on them.

The fact is that I ONLY talk about my MD/PhD goals in terms of how it will make ME a better scientist when I have to defend my interest in it. In fact, I had one recent lab rotation interview which was NOT a succes because of my position on this and I spent the interview defending why I wanted to pursue the MD/PhD not talking about research as in my other interviews. But the fact is that I don't want to work for/with someone who questions my goals anyway. Fortunately, there are enough other PI's at my school who not only support my goals, but are working with me to acheive them as well so in the end everything works out.:cool:

Finally, it goes without saying that there are MD and PhD onlies who do excellent research and it's "acceptable" to give THEM props. The problem seems to be with giving props to MD/PhD's. Well I'm the kinda person that call's it like I see it. So when I say that the smartest Path resident I've seen life thus far is a DO, you can take that to the bank!;)
I'm sure you don't mean to come across like you think MD/PhDs are inherently better, but explaining what you mean without sounding condescending to a non-MD/PhD can be a fine line to walk. When I was interviewing for med school, I had several PhD-only interviewers who asked me why I wanted to go to med school. It was always a tricky thing to explain it in a way that didn't come across as denigrating PhDs....and why should I even want to denigrate them anyway, considering that I *am* a PhD??? :p So we're back again to this business of other people's perceptions. Yes, some people might just be out to pick a fight, but I think that most simply want to know that you've thought out your options carefully. I think if I were you, I would focus on what qualities those MD/PhDs at NIH had that you admired so much, and not talk as much about their degrees. I mean, presumably they are excellent role models in general, and maybe even former mentors of yours. You could wax eloquent about their abilities as physician scientists without having to emphasize their dual degrees. You could also explain why you want to follow their examples and earn both degrees yourself because you think it is the best way for you to achieve your career goals. I don't think any of that is not calling things like you see them. At worst, it may be a bit of a lie of omission, but there are certain times in life where it's best not to tell people every single thought you're thinking. :cool:
 

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I'm sure you don't mean to come across like you think MD/PhDs are inherently better, but explaining what you mean without sounding condescending to a non-MD/PhD can be a fine line to walk.

Definitely, a fine line you will want to master walking with grace before interviews as many of your MSTP interviewers will not be MD-PhDs! Always skim your interviewer's profile and background ahead of time (if possible), otherwise foot-in-mouth disease may hamper your application.
 
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physicsnerd42

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Definitely, a fine line you will want to master walking with grace before interviews as many of your MSTP interviewers will not be MD-PhDs! Always skim your interviewer's profile and background ahead of time (if possible), otherwise foot-in-mouth disease may hamper your application.

Yeah, I remember interviewing with a guy last year who had this very problem. Between telling a PhD (who is an amazing researcher) that PhD's weren't qualified to mentor MD/PhDs for the PhD portion of their training and being arrogant as heck, he completely sank his application. He is at a great MSTP now, but he was rejected from here. So again, you don't need to say every thought that pops into your head.
 

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I agree with the other posters. The problem is one of taking the perceptions of others into account and being sensitive to those perceptions.

One thing I have found is that, at least at my institution, the faculty seem to be especially sensitive--much more so than the students about these issues. I used to step on toes quite a bit more than I do now, having learned over time to become more sensitive to others. While this may sound silly, it is actually quite important because both science and medicine are really social endeavors. It is important to learn how to navigate the politics as you move up the academic ladder. When you reach the top (i.e. deans, department chairs, etc) politics becomes at least half of what you do on a daily basis.

This is a hidden side of academics that is rarely discussed, but I think deserves more attention. Some of the comments I hear first year students say to faculty make me laugh (in a light-hearted way), as I knew that at one point the same words might have come from my mouth. But I've learned when to hold my tongue. As will they. :)
 

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I'm sure you don't mean to come across like you think MD/PhDs are inherently better, but explaining what you mean without sounding condescending to a non-MD/PhD can be a fine line to walk
No doubt about it and because during interviews it's hard to know ahead of time who may have issues, I think I'll simply turn attention away from the specifics of the degrees and stay focused on research which is what I'd rathe talk about anyway. I'll just need to start practing NOW so I'll have my "story" down pat before interview season!!!!:laugh:
........that PhD's weren't qualified to mentor MD/PhDs for the PhD portion of their training...............
What I'm learning is that whenever the words MD/PhD are said, you don't who is going to be thinking this very thing without anyone having to say it. Of course actually saying it IS arrogance and insulting and a person with my many years of experience certainly knows better than this.
I agree with the other posters. The problem is one of taking the perceptions of others into account and being sensitive to those perceptions
Here's a congtroversial statement. In most cases you have no idea how a person is going to respond to your goals. But now I'm wondering how much of a role gender is potentially playing in all this? Most MD/PhD's are men so it wouldn't suprise me if women being interviewed are given more "grief" about their choices than men since so many of them will be child bearing age during their course of study.
 

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I, and the other muddphuds, sit in the back of class because we have stadium seating and we like to look down upon the peons you refer to as medical students. I laugh when they ask silly questions about ethics and blah blah epidemiology.

They look like psychopaths with all of their highlighters, rainbow pens, flash cards, post-its, etc. They have mnemonics for everything and anything you could possibly imagine.

Med students are like drone bees that do nothing but memorize. They go to class for 6 hours and then to the library to review what they learned. They are like sheep that blindly follow and do what they're told. Independent though is a fantasy. They don't know how to spell "mechanism" because they can't comprehend why someone would want to say that word.

If the neuro masters would allow me to compare the brain to a computer, I would say that med students have 600 GB hard drives, 512 MB RAM with a 1.2GHz processor whereas we have 200 GB hd, 1GB RAM with a dual core 2.93GHz processor.

I'm not sure if this applies to medical students when they get into clinics or when they graduate but this is my limited first year perspective.

If you haven't noticed, people like me are why med students dislike us, but will you really care when you're chair of their department....zing!
 

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They look like psychopaths with all of their highlighters, rainbow pens, flash cards, post-its, etc. They have mnemonics for everything and anything you could possibly imagine.!
Ah man, that post was mean!:laugh:

But as a person with highlighters of EVERY color, rainbow pens, and mnemonics, I resent this statement! :laugh: However, I for one have an excuse. I'm old (40) and need all the help I can get learing all the graduate AND med school stuff!:laugh:

If you haven't noticed, people like me are why med students dislike us, but will you really care when you're chair of their department....zing!
I'll tell you, I get the impression that MD onlies aren't too pleased with the fact that MD/PhD's seem to be shoo in's for their first choice residencies! But why the hate? :confused:
 

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If the neuro masters would allow me to compare the brain to a computer, I would say that med students have 600 GB hard drives, 512 MB RAM with a 1.2GHz processor whereas we have 200 GB hd, 1GB RAM with a dual core 2.93GHz processor.

You are such a freakin' dork. but your analogy rings true with me. I would further add that we have more drive bays and one of those 32-in-one flash memory drives.
 
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Heheh... I too used to disdain the highlighters - till I realized I was going to need them if I ever wanted to pass Step I. ;)

I've now got about ten different colors of dried-out highlighters in the back of my desk drawer... they haven't seen the light of day since I passed. :)
 

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I, and the other muddphuds, sit in the back of class because we have stadium seating and we like to look down upon the peons you refer to as medical students. I laugh when they ask silly questions about ethics and blah blah epidemiology.

They look like psychopaths with all of their highlighters, rainbow pens, flash cards, post-its, etc. They have mnemonics for everything and anything you could possibly imagine.

Med students are like drone bees that do nothing but memorize. They go to class for 6 hours and then to the library to review what they learned. They are like sheep that blindly follow and do what they're told. Independent though is a fantasy. They don't know how to spell "mechanism" because they can't comprehend why someone would want to say that word.

If the neuro masters would allow me to compare the brain to a computer, I would say that med students have 600 GB hard drives, 512 MB RAM with a 1.2GHz processor whereas we have 200 GB hd, 1GB RAM with a dual core 2.93GHz processor.

I'm not sure if this applies to medical students when they get into clinics or when they graduate but this is my limited first year perspective.

If you haven't noticed, people like me are why med students dislike us, but will you really care when you're chair of their department....zing!
Eh, well, at least I got a "real" PhD....




I'm kidding, I'm kidding, I swear!!! :p

Funny stuff. :laugh:
 

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I am particularly interested in the "burning bridges" part because I dont want to do stuff like that myself - I am currently in a solid PhD program and have been thinking seriously about applying to MSTP programs at my school and other schools. Now, I definitely want to do MD/PhD - but if I transfer now, I can shorten my time considerably. Good idea? Dumb idea? How do faculty generally view transfers? I would appreciate comments from anyone who's ever been on adcoms.
 
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I am particularly interested in the "burning bridges" part because I dont want to do stuff like that myself - I am currently in a solid PhD program and have been thinking seriously about applying to MSTP programs at my school and other schools. Now, I definitely want to do MD/PhD - but if I transfer now, I can shorten my time considerably. Good idea? Dumb idea? How do faculty generally view transfers? I would appreciate comments from anyone who's ever been on adcoms.

You can't really transfer - you would have to apply to med school for either the MD or MD/PhD program. How far along are you? If you don't have long left, you should finish the PhD, then apply to med school. I think it is pretty difficult for people who drop out of a PhD program and apply to MD/PhD. It raises some red flags with regard to your career intentions. It has probably been done, but not sure what the success rate is. Your best bet would be to keep it under wraps and speak privately with the MSTP program director and see what he/she says.
 

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You can't really transfer - you would have to apply to med school for either the MD or MD/PhD program. How far along are you? If you don't have long left, you should finish the PhD, then apply to med school. I think it is pretty difficult for people who drop out of a PhD program and apply to MD/PhD. It raises some red flags with regard to your career intentions. It has probably been done, but not sure what the success rate is. Your best bet would be to keep it under wraps and speak privately with the MSTP program director and see what he/she says.

I was officially in a PhD program when I applied to and was accepted to various MSTPs. I changed my program to a terminal masters from the PhD, and this worked out smoothly. When the issue came up during the interview trail, I informed the questioneers that I would graduate with a MS if accepted, or finish the PhD if I did not get accepted to an MSTP. Interestingly, I discovered that I could actually transfer more graduate credits towards the PhD if I dropped out, rather than getting a masters. The rationale: There is a pre-set number of transferable credits from a masters (something like 16 or 24), whereas the number is generally not limited if you are transferring PhD programs (you still need to take so many classes on site, however). But I would trade the few extra classes for an extra degree. There can never be too many letters after the name.

So, I echo Circumflex re: dropping completely out of the PhD is not the best thing to do. Think about the terminal masters, or at least discuss this option with your advisor to see if it is feasible. Make sure you square away the funding thing, otherwise your advisor might get pissed off, and will not sign the forms.
 

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I was officially in a PhD program when I applied to and was accepted to various MSTPs. I changed my program to a terminal masters from the PhD, and this worked out smoothly..
While this has been successfull for some folks, this is EXTREMELY rare from what I understand which is why I very recently choose not to go this route. What I continually hear from folks on adcoms is that they (particularily the PhD's only) don't like folks using their program as a "back door" into an MD/PhD program. As a Master's student, I haven't had to deal with this "back door" issue from adcoms I've had as profs although other students already in programs will likely give me that "back door" BS. But who really cares what they think?:rolleyes: If your goal is to get in the building, why worry over which "door" you used to get in?:confused:
Interestingly, I discovered that I could actually transfer more graduate credits towards the PhD if I dropped out, rather than getting a masters. The rationale: There is a pre-set number of transferable credits from a masters (something like 16 or 24), whereas the number is generally not limited if you are transferring PhD programs (you still need to take so many classes on site, however)
This is probably school dependant and perhaps even MD/PhD versus MSTP MD/PhD dependant. Not only will all of my classes and rotations as a Master's student "count" toward the PhD at the school I currently attend (I can also take my cumes too if I want), but the med school classes I take will also "count" although I won't recieve any official "credit". I'll have to get those credit hours as electives which won't be hard to do as a MD/PhD student.
 

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I am particularly interested in the "burning bridges" part because I dont want to do stuff like that myself - I am currently in a solid PhD program and have been thinking seriously about applying to MSTP programs at my school and other schools. Now, I definitely want to do MD/PhD - but if I transfer now, I can shorten my time considerably. Good idea? Dumb idea? How do faculty generally view transfers? I would appreciate comments from anyone who's ever been on adcoms.
It's really tough to do this at a lot of schools. I wasn't able to do it, which is why I wound up getting my degrees separately. (I'm done with my PhD and now in med school.) If you're not very far into grad school yet, I would talk to the MSTP program director at your school about transferring. But even if you do have to do the degrees separately, it ultimately isn't that much longer, and it may be a lot less hassle for you in terms of overcoming bureaucracy. If you wind up having to do separate degrees, talk to your PI about wanting to go to med school after grad school, and bust your butt to get your projects done ASAP. Best of luck to you. :)
 

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When it is all said and done, this MD, MD/PhD and PhD pissing contests common among scientists and physicians in training will be considered abject foolishness in retrospect.

The glory is obviously in basic science research, and it is not your degree that will matter, but your ideas and insights into logical science. Also getting grants becomes key.

Personally, the greatest advantage I think the MD gives is career flexibility. If science sucks, you can just stay in the clinics and make money.

Envious medical students are just plain stupid. Arrogant MD/PhD students will learn that their dual degree is just as useful as their commitment to science and the ideas they put forth, and that a highly-committed straight PhD or MD trainee will potentially acheive more success than they.
 

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The glory is obviously in basic science research,........
.
Try telling that to a "real doctor".;) I agree with you 100% but preceptions of the prestige of certain credientials are what the avergae person focuses on.

Personally I think if it weren't for the basic scientist the majority of which have PhD's, medicine as we know it wouldn't exist. This isn't a pissing contest. This is simply stating the facts.
 

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Thanks for the responses:

I am about halfway into my coursework and I would prefer not to drop out of the PhD program.
JETER: Did you transfer to a different MSTP or you stayed in the same school?

1Path captures my concerns well: I am concerned that folks at my school will accuse me of the whole backdoor thing: Hence the burning bridges part. Probably, it will also reflect badly on me with the MSTP committees.
Thus, if I try and fail, I would have pissed off folks on both ends.

But thanks anyways - If anyone has any info about transferring to MSTP at a different school, I would appreciate comments.
 

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Has any MD/PhD student had negative experiences from dealing with faculty members? For example, when asking to shadow a physician or rotate in a lab.
 

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Has any MD/PhD student had negative experiences from dealing with faculty members? For example, when asking to shadow a physician or rotate in a lab.

I'm not sure abou what you're asking here. Do yuo mean BEFORE starting grad school?

Typically, faculty members will fight over you, so negative experiences in rotating in labs is probably nil.

Why would you ask to shadow a physician?
 
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Why would you ask to shadow a physician?

To get a feel for what's out there. I thought many students shadowed physicians. At least that was the impression MST programs gave out when I interviewed.
 

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I generally see MD/PhD's as smarter than the average MD. I'd be surprised if that wasn't the case. Not a huge difference, but I think it's probably true. If there is jealousy, I think its slight. Mostly its respect for the amount of work and dedication. If there is jealousy, perhaps its mostly pronounced amongst MD's who are trying to distinguish themselves in research, and feel threatened by other researchers who have more initials after their name or feel their work won't be as highly valued as a PhD? (this is pure conjecture on my part.)

Honestly, mostly we're impressed.
 

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Has any MD/PhD student had negative experiences from dealing with faculty members? For example, when asking to shadow a physician or rotate in a lab.

Never had a problem when I've approached faculty about setting up either clinical preceptorships or lab rotations.

Most faculty regard MD/PhD students are very bright and motivated people. They most often love to have MD/PhD students in their labs or in clinic.
 

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Thanks for the responses:

I am about halfway into my coursework and I would prefer not to drop out of the PhD program.
JETER: Did you transfer to a different MSTP or you stayed in the same school?

I went to a different school. As you might find on this forum, going from PhD to MSTP (at the same institution) with an integrated transfer pretty much requires an act of God.

By halfway into the coursework, am I right in inferring that you are less than halfway into the degree? Assuming a bioscience related field, that's about 2.5-3 years. The ~average grad school time at my MSTP is about 3.5. If you are dead set on getting an MD, dropping out of your current program might not be such a horrible idea.

Not sure why I ever entertained this idea, but just FYI: You are not eligible for MSTP if you already hold a PhD. I cannot imagine how much it would suck right now to hold a doctorate, and have to take out loans to pay for school(sorry Q). Scholarships are probably more competitive than getting into an MSTP. While most of us love to say that money is of no concern (love for science > love of cash), this is certainly something that influenced my decision. In addition, there is no doubt that my current grad school work will be intimately integrated with medicine (both structurally and with my newly acquired medical background). These would have been wholly lacking had I gone PhD then MD.

If you have any specific questions, PM me.

good luck
 

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Not sure why I ever entertained this idea, but just FYI: You are not eligible for MSTP if you already hold a PhD. I cannot imagine how much it would suck right now to hold a doctorate, and have to take out loans to pay for school(sorry Q). Scholarships are probably more competitive than getting into an MSTP. While most of us love to say that money is of no concern (love for science > love of cash), this is certainly something that influenced my decision. In addition, there is no doubt that my current grad school work will be intimately integrated with medicine (both structurally and with my newly acquired medical background). These would have been wholly lacking had I gone PhD then MD.
Agree with all of this. I am very fortunate to be fully scholarshipped to med school and do not have to take out loans. But this is the exception that proves the rule: if anyone decides to go this route of separate degrees, you should not count on getting a scholarship to med school. It's not like college or grad school where most if not all students get funded; in med school, scholarships are definitely few and far between. :(
 

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Typically, faculty members will fight over you, so negative experiences in rotating in labs is probably nil.

I can't say I've had a whole lot of anti-MD/PhD sentiment. Occasionally I will hear from a faculty member at my institution or at a conference that I'm getting a "MD/MS" or other similar sentiment that we're not getting a "real PhD".

That being said, I can't say faculty members really jumped at the chance to have me in their lab, except for maybe my thesis mentor. I had a hard time finding rotations in my area of interest. This was for two reasons primarily. First, the grad schools are nowhere near as picky about who they'll let PhD students work with. Going to meet with interesting professors and then having the MD/PhD program tell you you can't work with them is frustrating. It's not the program's fault, they're just trying to protect us. I also had issues because some of the profs I picked just couldn't provide the funding for me. But that's just an issue in general. The graduent student program chairpersons were really clueless when it came to which mentors would actually be good mentors, which led to all sorts of confusion.

One of my friends in the program ended up working for a guy who specifically won't take MD/PhD students. He made an exception for my friend because they knew each other since he was an undergrad here. The reason? He tends to keep his PhD students a long time and feels that's how you get the "real" PhD. He doesn't want the MD/PhD program or student putting any pressure on him to move someone through. I've heard this sentiment one or two other times as well. I went to interview with some people for rotations and while they knew I was MD/PhD, they seemed to have no interest in having me in their lab.

I always assumed that being in the MD/PhD program I would really have my pick of labs. That didn't really end up being the case. Now, part of that is that I'm not particularly interested in molecular science anymore. My impression is you don't run into this problem if you're working on cells and proteins in the usual manners, like 99% of the program. But, the picture on this thread sounded too rosey to me so I thought I'd chime in with my own experiences. I really ended up in a field I didn't expect to end up in. Part of this was that my clinical interests changed and part of it is that I really couldn't get into or didn't want to be in one of several labs in my area of interest here.

It's like the other thing I assumed before I started the program. The MD/PhD would ensure that I get my pick of residency. Nope, not quite :laugh: That being said, I can't say I've ever heard any resentment from the MD side, other than on the occasional message board that the MD/PhD is a waste of time. I think I defended it in the clinic once from residents who thought it was a waste of time. All you have to do is say "Yes, but I come out debt free" and they leave you alone because even the most jaded can't think of a good come back to that one ;) They don't know enough to say "Ah, but I make more in the long run".
 

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At my institution my general perception is that the MSTP'ers get much respect from most people, whether they are fellow med/grad students, residents, attendings, etc. And not to sound elitist or arrogant, but I think we almost deserve that respect for the training/commitment we put into it. No straight med student can understand the frustration of months of failed experiments while you are furiously trying to get that PhD done in 4 years and no grad student can relate to the hell that is 1st, 2nd, 3rd year med school or intern year. We're always a little more battle tested than our peers at most stages of the game, and that maturity/perspective really helps I think.
 

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No straight med student can understand the frustration of months of failed experiments while you are furiously trying to get that PhD done in 4 years and no grad student can relate to the hell that is 1st, 2nd, 3rd year med school or intern year.
great post
 

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And not to sound elitist or arrogant, but I think we almost deserve that respect for the training/commitment we put into it.

Hahaha... That sounds to me like, " No offense, but you are one stupid [email protected]@cker!"

What year in the program are you? Just curious. I probably felt that way once.

I think that the amount of respect we get (beyond other medical students or lay-people) is directly proportional to our success, not our "commitment" to success.
 

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I went to a different school. As you might find on this forum, going from PhD to MSTP (at the same institution) with an integrated transfer pretty much requires an act of God.

Yes, I am about halfway unto the degree. Thanks for the lowdown. I think I probably will try to transfer to another school; and see if the credits for the courses will carry. I also took some Med Skool courses and I hope they will transfer to some programs: I will speak directly with some MSTP program directors about this: Hopefully, I just get to do lab work if I transfer.

On another note: How exactly do MSTPs maintain optimism in face of the all too obvious fact that they have less time devoted to science? A college grad at 22 probably finishes a PhD at 26 or 27 - and then, bam, postdoc etc. Essentially, the the PhD gains about 4 years on the MD/PhD. Assuming equal talent and drive, it seems to me that MSTPs can hardly hope to make as many significant contributions to science over the long run as straight MDs or straight PhDs. I am skeptical about a love for basic science being a motivation for the MD/PhD program: As a straight PhD would suffice to satisfy that. Fire and Mello both are straight PhDs and did their Nobel winning work, during their postdocs. I assume that their MDPhD counterparts were poddling around in residencies at this time.
 

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On another note: How exactly do MSTPs maintain optimism in face of the all too obvious fact that they have less time devoted to science? A college grad at 22 probably finishes a PhD at 26 or 27 - and then, bam, postdoc etc. Essentially, the the PhD gains about 4 years on the MD/PhD. Assuming equal talent and drive, it seems to me that MSTPs can hardly hope to make as many significant contributions to science over the long run as straight MDs or straight PhDs. I am skeptical about a love for basic science being a motivation for the MD/PhD program: As a straight PhD would suffice to satisfy that. Fire and Mello both are straight PhDs and did their Nobel winning work, during their postdocs. I assume that their MDPhD counterparts were poddling around in residencies at this time.

I maintain optimism because I love what I am doing and I look forward to a fulfilling career. Four years is nothing in the big scheme of things, but if it is a significant concern, you should not do a MD/PhD. Everyone would love to win a Nobel or do research worthy of recognition, but if that is your main goal, don't do the MD/PhD, keep doing your PhD and go for it. It's like saying "Why do the MD/PhD, because your MD classmates will be making big bucks for a few years before you do." People are motivated by different things.
 

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As a straight PhD would suffice to satisfy that. Fire and Mello both are straight PhDs and did their Nobel winning work, during their postdocs. .
Are you familiar with the job market for straight PhD's? Didn't think so! Not only that, there's this unwritten "rule" that a straight PhD must take 7 years, and I've known folks to take from 8-10 years!! Screw that, I tell anyone who will listen that if you want to be a scientist and have even the slightest interest in medicine, MD/PhD is the ONLY way to go.

Having said that, there's only ONE way to Dx disease in a clinical setting that that requires medical school. Pursuing research too is just the icing on the cake!;) ;)
 

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Screw that, I tell anyone who will listen that if you want to be a scientist and have even the slightest interest in medicine, MD/PhD is the ONLY way to go.

Thank you. I tried to say that in the other thread about this guy asking whether it's reasonable for him to apply for an MD/PhD. People talk all the time about how longer and more difficult is an MD/PhD than a straight PhD, yet probably the difference is one year on average in terms of length. And if you were able to memorize all the names of those freakin proteins, enzymes, cell types..etc and get hold on on so much info and integrate it (which is essential to do good science in the first place), I'm sure you'll do just well during the MD years.
I also personally know a physician-scientist who does clinical work and also works on three very different research projects (neurogenetics, stem cell research and tissue design). Yes, he doesn't see his students very often, but it's just evidence that you can do clinical work and be a successful scientist. If you spend 30% of your time on clinical work, I'm sure that won't affect your science that much.
 

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At my institution my general perception is that the MSTP'ers get much respect from most people, whether they are fellow med/grad students, residents, attendings, etc. And not to sound elitist or arrogant, but I think we almost deserve that respect for the training/commitment we put into it. No straight med student can understand the frustration of months of failed experiments while you are furiously trying to get that PhD done in 4 years and no grad student can relate to the hell that is 1st, 2nd, 3rd year med school or intern year. We're always a little more battle tested than our peers at most stages of the game, and that maturity/perspective really helps I think.
Snort. I hope you don't go around saying things like this to people you actually know. Even if you manage to avoid coming across as being "elitist or arrogant," at best you still sound awfully naive. If anything, MSTP students tend to be younger and LESS mature than the average MD-only student. Plus, there are many MD-only students with considerable research experience. I am a straight MD student, but I came into med school already having my PhD. So I assure you that I'm quite intimately familiar with the frustrations of grad school. Considering that I am also ten years older than my esteemed MSTP colleagues, and that I have actually finished my PhD while they have yet to begin theirs, I think you can understand why I rather doubt they have much over me in terms of maturity or perspective, either. ;)
 

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Fire and Mello both are straight PhDs and did their Nobel winning work, during their postdocs. I assume that their MDPhD counterparts were poddling around in residencies at this time.

Some of the best scientists my esteemed advisor knows are straight MD's, and a heck of a lot of them have won Nobel prizes, too. He was trying to convince me to do straight MD and said if he had known the direction his career would have taken him, he'd do just an MD. Specific degrees are meaningless in the Nobel race. It's about your training, your advisors, your projects, your timing, your insight, your skill, how you play the politics game, and luck.
 

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Some of the best scientists my esteemed advisor knows are straight MD's, and a heck of a lot of them have won Nobel prizes, too. He was trying to convince me to do straight MD and said if he had known the direction his career would have taken him, he'd do just an MD. Specific degrees are meaningless in the Nobel race. It's about your training, your advisors, your projects, your timing, your insight, your skill, how you play the politics game, and luck.

Hindsight is always 20-20. If I knew I were going to do all basic science while running in the Nobel race, I wouldn't do the MD. The fact is that most of us simply don't know the direction that our careers will take us, and MD/PhD provides so much dang flexibility.
 

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Hindsight is always 20-20. If I knew I were going to do all basic science while running in the Nobel race, I wouldn't do the MD. The fact is that most of us simply don't know the direction that our careers will take us, and MD/PhD provides so much dang flexibility.

Oh I don't argue that at all. I'm all about the MD/PhD. I just was pointing out that a straight PhD isn't the only or, in some cases, even the best way to a Nobel, if that's what your gunning for.
 
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