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Value of a master degree over a bach?

darkhope

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    If a med applicant student can spend 4 years to get a ms in bio would it be worth more than a bs in bio to admission committees? Is it worth it to undergo that extra ammount of workload to get that ms degree? is there any benefits to it at all? And if yes, how much? Or is it just better to get that bs degree in 3 years and take one year off doing other things? How valuable is a ms in biology compared w/ a bs in biology in the view of the admission committee?
    thanks!
     

    mercaptovizadeh

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      If a med applicant student can spend 4 years to get a ms in bio would it be worth more than a bs in bio to admission committees? Is it worth it to undergo that extra ammount of workload to get that ms degree? is there any benefits to it at all? And if yes, how much? Or is it just better to get that bs degree in 3 years and take one year off doing other things? How valuable is a ms in biology compared w/ a bs in biology in the view of the admission committee?
      thanks!

      Not much, although it doesn't hurt either.
       
      W

      Wizard of Oz

        If a med applicant student can spend 4 years to get a ms in bio would it be worth more than a bs in bio to admission committees? Is it worth it to undergo that extra ammount of workload to get that ms degree? is there any benefits to it at all? And if yes, how much? Or is it just better to get that bs degree in 3 years and take one year off doing other things? How valuable is a ms in biology compared w/ a bs in biology in the view of the admission committee?
        thanks!

        How valuable is an MS? It's not. None, zip, zerio as far as the degree itself is concerned. Maybe a liitle bit of research may pay off, or you may get solid LOR's out of it.

        More of an unnecessary cost than anything else. Been there, done that.

        Keep in mind that not only will your grad GPA be computed separately, you'll have to get permission from your grad program to apply to med schools.

        Amending to say that it might be useful for MD/PhD.
         
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        darkhope

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          ok thank you for your responses =D
          edit: um...so will it look bad if we get our bs degree in 3 years and apply to med school directly w/o waiting an extra year? would it show a lack of maturity?
           
          W

          Wizard of Oz

            ok thank you for your responses =D
            edit: um...so will it look bad if we get our bs degree in 3 years and apply to med school directly w/o waiting an extra year? would it show a lack of maturity?

            If you can post the numbers, then more power to you. Just be sure to get in a little bit of clinical experience too.

            We have a guy in our class who was 19 when the school year started. We elected him class president.
             

            Haemulon

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              I will be using my Masters experiences and studies to help support my residency applications (if I stay with the same interests, but one never knows what will happen in med school). I have one degree with an emphasis in molecular genetics and another in embryology. I am hoping that both would look good in an app for a Peds/Med Gen residency for instance. So it may very well help to get a graduate degree, depending on what your plans are and what your weaknesses are in your app right now.
               

              WildTumor

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                I think my Masters really helped me get accepted to med-school. I spent an awful lot of time talking about it on my interviews and I believe it strengthened my application.
                I also think it does help for residencies -- especially if it is relevant to the field you would like to enter.
                Spend the extra year to get the MS.
                 

                Haemulon

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                  I think my Masters really helped me get accepted to med-school. I spent an awful lot of time talking about it on my interviews and I believe it strengthened my application.
                  I also think it does help for residencies -- especially if it is relevant to the field you would like to enter.
                  Spend the extra year to get the MS.

                  I agree with all of this. The only counter-consideration that I would offer is that a Masters will not help to bring up one's undergraduate GPA. Since undergrad GPA's are viewed with more emphasis than grad GPA's, a post-bac would be more helpfull if GPA is a weakness in one's app. I too was able to talk about my grad work in my interviews (one moreso than the other) and I am sure that it helped me at Drexel.
                   

                  PeripateticMD

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                    My masters was worth a lot. But I was definitely asked WHEN I took the MCAT (before or after it) and if I'd applied before. I think they're wary of people who get masters to get into medical schools, or who get masters to up their chances after not getting into medical school. But I didn't take the MCAT or apply until after my masters, and I had some great LORs, great research and great experience with my masters that I believe made a HUGE difference in my application. That said, I'd only do a masters if you're UBER interested in doing it, not if it's just for kicks or to up chances of something...
                     

                    WildTumor

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                      I agree with all of this. The only counter-consideration that I would offer is that a Masters will not help to bring up one's undergraduate GPA. Since undergrad GPA's are viewed with more emphasis than grad GPA's, a post-bac would be more helpfull if GPA is a weakness in one's app. I too was able to talk about my grad work in my interviews (one moreso than the other) and I am sure that it helped me at Drexel.

                      And I was grateful for this because my undergrad GPA was HIGHER:)
                       

                      Haemulon

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                        My masters was worth a lot. But I was definitely asked WHEN I took the MCAT (before or after it) and if I'd applied before. I think they're wary of people who get masters to get into medical schools, or who get masters to up their chances after not getting into medical school. But I didn't take the MCAT or apply until after my masters, and I had some great LORs, great research and great experience with my masters that I believe made a HUGE difference in my application. That said, I'd only do a masters if you're UBER interested in doing it, not if it's just for kicks or to up chances of something...

                        Another good point. I certainly went through hell in trying to finish up my first MS. Its definitely no cake walk, especially if your doing research.
                         

                        chad5871

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                          ok thank you for your responses =D
                          edit: um...so will it look bad if we get our bs degree in 3 years and apply to med school directly w/o waiting an extra year? would it show a lack of maturity?

                          Not necessarily. I know a guy who is a bio/chem double major. He came to college when he was 16 and with 70 credits already, so he graduated in 3 semesters and will be attending medical school in the fall. He will only be 18 when he matriculates. :eek:
                           
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                          Genetics

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                            I will be using my Masters experiences and studies to help support my residency applications (if I stay with the same interests, but one never knows what will happen in med school). I have one degree with an emphasis in molecular genetics and another in embryology. I am hoping that both would look good in an app for a Peds/Med Gen residency for instance. So it may very well help to get a graduate degree, depending on what your plans are and what your weaknesses are in your app right now.


                            The embryology knowledge will help in understanding development. Thus, you should at least have a basic knowledge of how abnormal development occurs (I'm sure you know this already, :D ). The molecular genetics knowledge will help you in understanding the mechanism of development.

                            I think you might be interested in reading this book (use it for a reference):

                            Management of Genetic Syndromes, 2nd Edition
                            Suzanne B. Cassidy (Editor), Judith E. Allanson (Editor)
                            ISBN: 978-0-471-30870-6
                            Hardcover
                            720 pages
                            November 2004

                            I was able to get a copy of this book in my hands through an inter library loan. It is a really good book. However, some advances have been made for a few of the syndromes talked about in the book since it was published. But that is a good thing.
                             

                            Genetics

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                              If a med applicant student can spend 4 years to get a ms in bio would it be worth more than a bs in bio to admission committees? Is it worth it to undergo that extra ammount of workload to get that ms degree? is there any benefits to it at all? And if yes, how much? Or is it just better to get that bs degree in 3 years and take one year off doing other things? How valuable is a ms in biology compared w/ a bs in biology in the view of the admission committee?
                              thanks!

                              In the eye of admissions into medical school, the M.S. is not going to take care of a bad/decent undergraduate performance. However, the only reason why I am responding to your post is that I wanted to say that in the real world a masters degree goes a lot further then a B.S. degree. A Ph.D. degree can limit your career options, but you can get higher level jobs with a Ph.D., M.D., or lawyer degree.
                               

                              JHU Texan

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                                Eh, I know some people who are now med students who got an MS because their undergrad performance was weak. I'd say it helps like any post-bacc work (provided the grades are good).

                                I completely agree with that. My undergrad grades weren't so hot, but doing well in my Master's program and spending a year in lab as a graduate student has ALWAYS been brought up in my interviews. Most schools actually look at that sort of thing as a huge positive, because its shown maturity and ability to think critically about science.

                                I still don't get the overriding theme here at SDN is that a Master's is worthless and won't make up for a poor undergraduate performance. Looking back, I think it would have been a waste of my time to take/retake undergrad level classes (after going through my program). The classes are taught on a completely different level of understanding, and I think most ADCOMs realize that.
                                 

                                foofish

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                                  ok thank you for your responses =D
                                  edit: um...so will it look bad if we get our bs degree in 3 years and apply to med school directly w/o waiting an extra year? would it show a lack of maturity?

                                  In terms of your chances, it depends how strong of an applicant you are. I used to do peer advising on advanced standing (for all majors), and one of the few drawbacks to doing it was if you wanted to go to medical school...especially if you wanted to go straight to med school after graduating.

                                  Maturity aside, if you graduate a year early and are applying a year early, you're "competing" with a year less of grades, ECs, research, etc. than most of your fellow applicants since you're essentially applying after your sophomore year. If you have rock solid stats and fantastic ECs under your belt, then you'll probably be fine...but if not, it's probably worth the additional year to build your application (and most people who have fantastic ECs/research/etc. usually don't *want* to graduate in 3 years).

                                  As far as the original question, I'd pick Bach over a masters any day....Mozart, on the other hand...sorry, couldn't resist... ;)
                                   

                                  SweetPeaDaddy

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                                    If your grades are good already, there is no benefit to a masters. In my case I believe doing a masters helped me significantly. I didn't have a great undergrad GPA and limited research experience so it made perfect sense to do the masters. My recommendations from my masters program were also much better than ones I got from undergrad.
                                     
                                    Maturity aside, if you graduate a year early and are applying a year early, you're "competing" with a year less of grades, ECs, research, etc. than most of your fellow applicants since you're essentially applying after your sophomore year. If you have rock solid stats and fantastic ECs under your belt, then you'll probably be fine...but if not, it's probably worth the additional year to build your application (and most people who have fantastic ECs/research/etc. usually don't *want* to graduate in 3 years).
                                    Listen to this guy. If I had been interviewing for med school at the beginning of my third year of college, I would not have had nearly as much to offer. Leaving college after three years is like leaving a party at 8pm.
                                     
                                    W

                                    Wizard of Oz

                                      I am hoping that both would look good in an app for a Peds/Med Gen residency for instance. So it may very well help to get a graduate degree, depending on what your plans are and what your weaknesses are in your app right now.

                                      Med/ped's is easy to match with an MD plus or minus anything else.

                                      I think my Masters really helped me get accepted to med-school. I spent an awful lot of time talking about it on my interviews and I believe it strengthened my application.
                                      I also think it does help for residencies -- especially if it is relevant to the field you would like to enter.
                                      Spend the extra year to get the MS.

                                      You will by trumped by somebody with better board scores. Hands down. Research might help a little bit, but what you do while you're in med school will make up at least 90% of what the PGY programs look for.

                                      I also didn't mention one of the special grad degree programs because there are none near where I live, but that might be a viable option.
                                       

                                      Haemulon

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                                        Med/ped's is easy to match with an MD plus or minus anything else.

                                        You are right about Med/Peds, there are a lot of combined programs for that. But there are really only like 7 programs for Peds/Medical Genetics, which is what I was referring to. Even though Med Gen isn't super popular, I am guessing that the few combined programs would make for more competition. Especially to get into a program in Philly or Johns Hopkins for instance. Med/Peds is still attractive to me though as well as a number of others.

                                        And I do know that for some program directors, your past history before medical school (including graduate degrees) do have an impact. Your assumption is that the comparison is between someone with mediocre board scores and a graduate degree versus someone with high board scores and no graduate degree. Why not compare apples to apples instead of unequal med school performance? Extra education and experiences are always a plus. It would certainly be advantageous to be both a superstar med student AND have other past experiences like other graduate degrees. It is not necessary, but it is also non-trivial. For some specialties, Pathology comes to mind, graduate training, particularly a PhD, is encouraged for some of the top programs.
                                         
                                        W

                                        Wizard of Oz

                                          You are right about Med/Peds, there are a lot of combined programs for that. But there are really only like 7 programs for Peds/Medical Genetics, which is what I was referring to. Even though Med Gen isn't super popular, I am guessing that the few combined programs would make for more competition...Pathology comes to mind, graduate training, particularly a PhD, is encouraged for some of the top programs.

                                          Genetics is also not tough to get into, as you're pretty much stuck in an academic setting with no procedures to do. Path--mudphud for the top programs only, otherwise a relatively easy match.

                                          Wizard cautions that feeling strongly about a specialty before you start med school is like trying to guess what your infant child will grow up to be while he/she is still in utero.

                                          And I do know that for some program directors, your past history before medical school (including graduate degrees) do have an impact. Your assumption is that the comparison is between someone with mediocre board scores and a graduate degree versus someone with high board scores and no graduate degree. Why not compare apples to apples instead of unequal med school performance? Extra education and experiences are always a plus. It would certainly be advantageous to be both a superstar med student AND have other past experiences like other graduate degrees. It is not necessary, but it is also non-trivial.

                                          Well you have to compare apples to apples because apples are all that the vast majority of applicants will have. Each program will look to predictors of success in their field. Just like grad school success doesn't indicate MCAT or med school success, boards are more important than grad degrees. Again, research is a plus, but the research exposure you get as an M3/M4 will be more valuable to you in most cases.

                                          Premeds like the OP need to understand that med school represents a starting point to the residency programs. What did you do in the time you were in med school vs. the others? THAT is what counts. If somebody came in as a music major with no research experience and finished AOA with a 260 step I and a handful of second-author pubs, then he/she is better off than someone with a Master's, a bigger handful of pubs, and a 215 step I.

                                          So to carry the analogy, focus on the APPLES! Med schools and PGY programs will place the emphasis on them.
                                           

                                          WildTumor

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                                            You will by trumped by somebody with better board scores. Hands down. Research might help a little bit, but what you do while you're in med school will make up at least 90% of what the PGY programs look for.


                                            Maybe and maybe not.

                                            Obviously, if there is a large discrepancy in board scores then a Masters doesn't help. But all things equal and even with a few points lower on my boards, my MA should help, especially if I am entering a field similar to that of my MA.
                                             

                                            Haemulon

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                                              Genetics is also not tough to get into, as you're pretty much stuck in an academic setting with no procedures to do. Path--mudphud for the top programs only, otherwise a relatively easy match.

                                              I think we agree. However like I said, there are only like 7 dual residency programs for peds/med gen, therefore this is more competitve then going for med gen by itsself. I also agree that most pure med gen docs are largely academic, but one could theoretically also do fellowship in cytogenetics or molecular genetics and direct a laboratory in addition to seeing patients and teaching/research. I have found the idea of being a pediatric hospitalist, with also a specialty practice in med gen. Or the other way around, maybe have a private pediatric practice, but also receive referals for med gen for special cases.

                                              Wizard cautions that feeling strongly about a specialty before you start med school is like trying to guess what your infant child will grow up to be while he/she is still in utero.

                                              I share your sentiments. However, it does not hurt to start gathering information and leanring about options. For some competitive specialties, how you spend your research time as early as summer after 1st year is important in terms of giving you an edge. It also doesn't hurt to have some ideas of what inspires or excites you about medicine. I have had a number of mentors in particular fields that have inspired me and as a result I am initially interested in several particular fields. As we both indicated though, anything can happen in med school and there is really no telling how one's interests may develope when things really get going.
                                               
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