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How feasible is doing a PhD and MD at the same time?

How feasible is it to become both a scientist and a doctor? Thank you!

#july20 #medicine #healthcare #scientist #doctor

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Eric’s Answer

I'm very familiar with what you are trying to do and know multiple people who have tired to do it for different reasons. It is becoming too hard to become an MD and it is not as lucrative as it use to be except for OB/GYN, and surgery. It is hard to pass USMLE step 1, so many people take a break year where they take up a MPH (masters in public health) or something like that. Others, do a PhD because outside academic medicine, the private medicine world can be brutal. Keep in mind there are a lot of doctors under-employed right now, especially in family medicine. Nurse practioners can do more and often have less legal lawsuit worries. You can earn a lot of money as a doctor, but it might not be worth it if you have a lot of school debt and medical malpractice insurance. So, MD/PhD is nice because many programs the students can graduate with no debt.

Eric recommends the following next steps:

Contact the Harvard-MIT program and look at its requirements you get an idea of how tough it can be, but there are many other programs that are easier.
It helps to go to a prestigious program to get NIH grants later in your career
If you just want to be a internist or family med doctor, getting a MPH might be a better option

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Estelle’s Answer

Most medical schools have MD/PhD programs. They just take longer to complete. Medical school takes 4 years, and the PhD programs add 3-4 years depending on your research and your faculty advisor.

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Katie’s Answer

Hi Tara! In the short this is totally feasible. This type of program is referred to as an MSTP (Medical Scientist Training Program) program. There are many universities across the USA that offer this program, where you do your PhD and MD at the same time.

Here is a link to all of the MSTP programs in the USA:

These programs are really competitive to get into, but if you do get into one the government pays for your schooling (which is half the reason they're so competitive).

Good luck!

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Richard’s Answer

You can apply to an MD/PhD program. They are very competitive but offer a excellent combination of clinical training and research. At my medical school the MD/PhD candidates did two years of classes with us then went to 3-4 years of research before completing their 2 years of clinical medicine training. At the time I believe that was the typical schedule for most MSTP programs

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Ro’s Answer

Hi Tara - you re certainly ambitious! (thumbs up!)
I am not in the medical field, however here is a link to a site written by Lawrence Brass giving advice on the very subject you are asking about!:


It looks like it is possible to do both degrees, but it's important to find out schools with this kind of program. After reading the article, it would be good to check out some university websites to see if they offer this kind of program. I'm also sure you could email the medical schools contact info gain further info on this kind of program.