Specialties with lots of reserach opportunities?


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2007
  1. Pre-Medical
    Which specialties really take advantage of the PhD and allow a good ratio of time spent researching and in the clinic?

    Radiation oncology is the big one I think of, but what about some others? I'm a psych major and if I did a MSTP, I would do my PhD in neuroscience. I've read that there is research to be done in neurosurgery, but I can't imagine actually being able to practice and research because you have to be in the clinic so much!

    Neurology maybe?


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    10+ Year Member
    7+ Year Member
    Oct 28, 2006
    1. Attending Physician
      Definitely psychiatry. First of all, all of the really interesting questions in neuroscience, such as the neural bases of language, attention, memory, decision-making and emotion, are more relevant to psychiatry more than to any other specialty. As I've written in previous posts, psychiatry is the only specialty that is concerned in a clinical sense with the functions of the brain as they relate to the mind. Neurology is historically the specialty where you get to see interesting abnormalities of mind when there is damage in relevant parts of the brain, and you can certainly study people with brain damage in order to explore the functions of the mind in neurology, but this type of research has unfortunately fallen out of favor with the advent of functional brain imaging. Functional imaging is being used to a much greater extent by psychiatrists than by neurologists these days. Also, the NIMH and NIDA have bigger budgets than the NINDS. That's not to say that neurology is not good work. It's really quite fun. However, I find it fun in the same way that I find internal medicine fun, with the added bonus that you get to stare at brain scans a lot.

      Also, psychiatry is one of the most flexible specialties when it comes to research time vs. clinical time.
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      Mar 3, 2003
      1. MD/PhD Student
      2. Resident [Any Field]
        any speciality has research opertunities. In the end though you have to decide how much time you want to spend doing research. And the math is very easy...more research=less $$$
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