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Stanford

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by chef, May 2, 2002.

  1. chef

    chef Senior Member
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    If you had a choice of starting out outright at Michigan MSTP, or at Stanford as a MD student and then joining the MSTP later (I heard this is pretty easy-it may not be MSTP but they'll find a way to let u do a PhD), what would u do? Obviously if u chooose stanford you'll be paying for first and maybe second yr tuition.

    Stanford MSTP is very highly respected, but Michigan's MSTP isn't shabby either. They both have outstanding research. In terms of "opening more doors", would one edge the other? OR at this level it really isn't the school but YOU who makes the difference?
     
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  3. brandonite

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Michigan is actually higher ranked than Stanford. Given a choice between a MSTP spot at Michigan and a MD-only spot at Stanford (at least for now), at least in terms of your career, my choice would be Michigan. But I think that Stanford has the edge in quality of life.

    Also, while you may graduate with an MD/PhD at Stanford outside the MD program, I'm not sure that has the same reputation as an MSTP program. Anybody else?
     
  4. Rumit

    Rumit Senior Member
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    I think I would still choose Stanford, but that's primarily because it is much much stronger in the areas of research that I am interested in :) But, it's only a hypothetical question, so we'll never really know :)

    Adam
     
  5. none

    none 1K Member
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    Are you interested in Stanford's geographic location? Otherwise, I'd go with Michigan. An MSTP in the hand is better than one in the bush.
     
  6. wgu

    wgu Senior Member
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    In your shoes, I would definitely go for Michigan MSTP. Not only is Michigan med school and research outstanding, there is a bonus being installed in the next few years- The Life Science Corridor. Just a month ago I could watch it being built outside of my window. I think the final completion date is set for 2005 but I'm not sure. For more info, here's the webpage <a href="http://lifesciences.umich.edu/" target="_blank">http://lifesciences.umich.edu/</a>

    The UCSF area has a bigger inituitive going on but I don't know how much of that Stanford can access.

    One more note, and this is advice that many tell me: it isn't where you go, it is about what you do there. So you should go for a school that has a slightly lesser reputation yet welcomes and pays you. :)

    SF bay weather is heavenly though while Michigan weather is an unpredictable hell. :D
     
  7. SarahL

    SarahL Senior Member
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    I am from the Midwest and currently live in the Bay Area. Ann Arbor is supposed to be a cool little town; a guy from Berkeley I met at my UCSD interview said it reminded him of home and that he was psyched to go there.

    Stanford is very pretty and laid-back. I love the Bay Area, but I'd go with Ann Arbor; still a nice place to live and much, much cheaper. I don't think you can beat going to UMich.
     
  8. schaunard

    schaunard Junior Member

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    As a Stanford MSTP, I would second wgu's thought: it's what *you* make of the situation that is more important. Especially at this level - both Stanford and Michigan are highly respected medical schools, and MD & MD/PhD graduates of both places match well and go on to stellar careers.

    So more than rankings, I think you should consider whether one place or the other has particular key elements which you feel you need for your education and happiness over the next 7-8 years, and then weigh that against the offer of full funding from Michigan.

    You might want to consider factors in several categories when looking at both places:
    -medical education: style of preclin education (I think both are similar, i.e. plenty of lecture time, although U-M tends to be a little more organ/system-based), kinds of exposures you'll get during clerkships, plus subjective things like the institutional culture and your future classmates.
    -research: key issue - in the fields you're considering, is one place disproportionately stronger/deeper than the other? This could be an important factor for some people despite an offer of full funding. My impression (please correct me if I'm wrong) is that there are certain fields in which Michigan is not as deep/strong, e.g. immunology, neuro, dev bio. I know that Stanford is particularly strong in those last two. Your interests are likely to shift a bit once you arrive, so keeping your bases covered is not a bad idea.
    -quality of life: last but definitely not least. Location, climate, what kinds of things are there to do, closeness to family, other personal issues. I grew up in Michigan, so I'm pretty far from home which is hard, but I can attest to the fact that the weather out here is beautiful almost year-round.

    If you did decide that Stanford MD was better than Michigan MSTP for you, there are many ways for you to knock down tuition costs and get a stipend during med school. You probably know about these (e.g. Med Scholars/TAships) - somehow, Stanford Med has very deep pockets, and particularly diligent students have used these resources to completely pay off tuition for some quarters.

    Applying in-house for MSTP is definitely doable, and in general the odds are better than applying from outside. The in-house pool is smaller, and you can reapply if you don't make it the first time. Also, there has been some talk of expanding the # of funded MSTP slots at Stanford, as the new Dean is very committed to training physician-scientists here. I believe some slots have already been funded through Bio-X (see below). Of course, there is definitely no guarantee that you will get MSTP funding, which is something to consider. It shouldn't be a problem at all to get into an actual PhD program once you're here...the only issue is the funding for the med school part (your PhD studies would be covered regardless).

    Also, I think that whether or not you're MSTP or non-MSTP MD/PhD, there is no difference in prestige to people inside or outside Stanford. Again, it's more of a funding issue.

    One other issue which I can comment on. wgu mentioned Michigan's Life Sciences Initiative...Stanford also has something very similar, the Bio-X initiative, which is basically an attempt to bring together engineers, biologists, chemists, mathematicians, etc. to work together on problems which are ripe for interdisciplinary collaboration. See biox.stanford.edu. Bio-X has already funded numerous programs/initiatives, and the physical building itself is due to be completed soon.

    Lots of things to think about. Good luck with your choice! If you have more questions I'd be happy to offer my thoughts.
     
  9. schaunard

    schaunard Junior Member

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    Bottom line, which may have gotten lost in my previous posting: all things being equal I think you should take the funding, but if Michigan lacks certain things which are important to you, you may want to think about it a bit more.
     
  10. none

    none 1K Member
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    Yeah, where is this whole MSTP vs. non-MSTP thing coming from? If you go to a school with an MSTP grant and are in their MD/PhD program...you're in an MSTP, aren't you?
     
  11. none

    none 1K Member
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    Yeah, where is this whole MSTP vs. non-MSTP thing coming from? If you go to a school with an MSTP grant and are in their MD/PhD program...you're in an MSTP, aren't you? Regardless of when you entered?
     
  12. schaunard

    schaunard Junior Member

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    I'm only using "MSTP" and "non-MSTP" in the sense that "MSTP" = "funded for the med school part of your education", so that "non-MSTP" = "someone who did a PhD, but paid for the med school on their own". Different schools define MSTPs in different ways, but I think this is a fairly generalizable definition, plus I think that the funding during the MD is the critical issue here, not prestige or anything like that.

    Fleshing out precise definitions gets pretty murky, since a lot of schools fund students through a combination of NIH money and institutional/private money, so I guess you can't say that MSTP = student on NIH training grant.
     
  13. JJ4

    JJ4 Senior Member
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    I agree with Schaunard. MSTP is more of an issue that surrounds funding during the MD years. However, literally, the "MSTP" is a program instituted by the NIH. For instance, I turned down two "MSTP" schools to go to Mayo which doesn't really fall under the MSTP umbrella. But nonetheless, whether your program was "MSTP" or some sort of "scholar grant" it doesn't make a difference. Fully -funded MD/PhD progs are generally talked in public as an "MSTP."

    However, for program gurus -- I guess the "MSTP" title confers some sort of accreditation.
     
  14. chef

    chef Senior Member
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    hey guys thanks for all your helpful replies. Actually this is not a hypothetical situation, I am really dealing with this decision.

    As with MSTP vs non MSTP , I really don't care too much if it is MSTP or not, as long as I can get funding for both PhD and med school tuition.

    I'm tied w/ work right now so I can't type more, but please keep posting! I'll post my responses a lil bit later..

    thanks!!!!
     
  15. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by schaunard:
    <strong>so I guess you can't say that MSTP = student on NIH training grant.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">schaunard,
    You're absolutely right. At Duke I would not be on NIH money, yet I'll be in the MSTP. What they said is that I wouldn't even have a clue about the financial technicalities; and I'll be indistinguishable from students on NIH money.

    Chef,
    I'll go with UMich MSTP. That's one of the best MSTPs in the country without a doubt. There's also the huge risk of getting to Stanford and not making it into the MSTP. Of course one can always do the PhD (which is always paid) in addition to med school; however, it's definitely not the same thing. There are several advantages of a combined MD/PhD program that you'll be missing out on. For example;

    1)MD funding (probably the most significant loss); 2)TIME: also very significant. MD/PhD programs take at least 2 yrs quicker on average than doing both programs separate; 3) Conferences and retreats: this is less important, but it's still something to consider. Think of all the all-expense paid retreats you'll miss out on. 4) Synergy: I don't know about UMich but I know several MD/PhD programs intertwine the activities of both aspects of the training. Like doing clinical rotations during your PhD training; and lab rotations (and retreats & conferences) during your MD training. This is great for keeping things in perspective. 5) Company: I think this one is crucial. You'll be going it solo versus having people simultaneously going through the same loops with you. 6) The prestige aspect of it will be important for future purposes. If you're in the MSTP, you'll have more connections than if you did it cowboy style.

    Of course there's also the good chance of getting to Stanford and joining the MST program 2nd year. In that case all you lose is 1st year MD tuition. It's definitely your choice to make; just think about some of the above points. Good luck with your decision and keep us posted.
     

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