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Residency Competitiveness with an MD/PhD.

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by rrilling, Apr 23, 2002.

  1. rrilling

    rrilling New Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    Does anyone have any experience or insight for the following?

    Say you have an MD/PhD that is graduating next year and wants to pursue a residency in a very competitive program like, say Radiation Oncology with only a couple of openings per hospital. Candidate has impressive board scores, good, not great rotation grades (couple of honors, the rest divided between pass and high pass), and a couple of published articles. What kind of advantage if any) will this person have in obtaining such a residency?
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  3. ckent

    ckent Banned Banned

    Jul 31, 2000
    The PhD is a huge help in getting competetive, academic residencies. I'm not entirely sure why, but residency programs give a lot of points to applicants who are MD/PhD. One of my professors said that he would have never gotten into a residency at Duke with his numbers if it wasn't for his PhD.
  4. task

    task Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 30, 2001
    Rad Onc is a VERY research oriented field. Rad Oncs like to consider themselves true oncologists in that while they use radiation as their weapon of choice, they can quote you chapter and verse on chemo regimens and surgical modalities/techniques for all the malignancies they deal with. To that end, from what I've seen, they love any demonstrable commitment to research -- M.S., PhD, or publications. If the PhD stuff is at all cancer related or is molecular and can be spun as cancer related, then even better. Rad Onc is like all the other small fields -- politics, connections, connections, connections in addition to the requisite boards scores/grades, etc. If you have the Step scores to compel PDs to read your application, then they'll read about and be excited by your commitment to research. Then they want to meet you. Letters/phone calls from their buddies (small field=everyone knows each other so kick ass at your own med school's dept in a rotation and pick somewhere you'd like to go or that is top notch and do a rotation there to impress them/get a letter). Do it early enough that you can put it all together early and APPLY EARLY. Get the secondary apps out (if rad onc programs still use them) ASAP. First come first serve.
  5. Voxel

    Voxel Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2001
    Most Rad Onc PDs love MD/PhD applicants because e research makes the difference in this field and there are very few people to do it.

    1) Comparable/Competitive Board Scores
    2) Decent grades

    So far, you are on a level playing field with the competition. Next you hit them with your research (hopefully oncology related), cause most applicants that do not match have no research or poor boards/grades or both. If it is not oncology related, you have to play up your experience/expertise in doing research and how it can be applied to future rad onc research. Then kick butt at your local med school rad onc program. Impress/Smooze, get your letters of recs and get them to call on your behalf. This is because Rad Onc is a small field and EVERYONE knows everyone especially in academics. Do 1 or 2 away electives at places you REALLY want.
  6. drusso

    drusso Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 21, 1998
    Over the rainbow
    I will second and third these observations. Regardless of your intended field of specialization, research experience and dual degrees go a long, long way toward landing a spot at a competitive program. Even top primary care programs fawn over applicants with MPH's or other clinically-relevant research degrees. I think that dual degrees are one of the best kept secrets in the residency application process.
  7. maxim728

    maxim728 Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    How about for students who only complete 1 of 2 years for a M.S. Program, yet they have a couple of publications in high impact factor journals? This will be my case because I am quitting my Masters program to enter medical school. Would it be wise to "complete" the masters degree program(only completed 17/32 credits). The M.S. would be in Molecular Biotechnology. However, the publications and research experience, I feel, would put me around the same level as someone with a dual degree. Thanks :)
  8. Mad Scientist

    Mad Scientist Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2001
    Remember...when you get to the point of applying for residency (and probably well before this in your academic career), you are going to get accepted based on the needs of the institution in question. Always keep in mind their point of view.

    IMO, this is why the MD/PhD counts more toward getting into competitive residencies that it seems like the degree "deserves". (I say this as an almost-graduated Mud Phud, BTW.) Sure, the PhD might demonstrate a commitment to research, or greater life experience, or good connections...but I'm convinced that at the core of it is the fact that getting MD/PhD's looks good for residencies. It is hard to ignore a list of names with a bunch of MD/PhD's among them--it is seen as clear proof that it is a first-rate program (or at least not a second-rate program). Therefore it helps with bragging rights, recruiting, etc.
  9. Big Daddy

    Big Daddy Junior Member

    Dec 29, 2001
    Durham, NC
    I am a MudPhud applying to residency this fall for pathology. Having had much of the same concerns, I went to check with my the program director at my med school. According to my school's path residency director, a mudphud with average board scores and semi-decent grades should be able to "write his or her own ticket for residency." Hope this is true ! :) Anyway, my point is that this attitude probably carries over for other residency programs as well.
  10. rrilling

    rrilling New Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    Thanks for all the info!

    Follow up question....

    I have noticed that some school publish match rate rank lists (% of grads who match with their 1st choice, 2nd choice etc.). Does anyone know of any study that breaks this out by specialty?

    Also, addressed primarily to anyone in RadOnc many different programs did you apply to? How many interviews is a good goal?


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