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Is it possible to get a PhD (instead of a MD) when studying medicine?

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Gizem’s Answer

Hi Zemira,

As mentioned in the above answer, you can definitely consider MD/PhD programs. Alternatively, if you are interested in research and don't want to practice medicine, then you can think about attending a PhD program in life sciences. The majority of universities have PhD programs in their Schools of Medicine, Public Health etc. These will allow you to focus on research in your chosen field of medical sciences.

Of course, getting involved in undergraduate research will benefit your application for PhD programs incredibly. It will also help you learn more about research environment and choose your research interests as well as introduce you to a community of researchers (especially if you spend a couple of semesters/years in the same research group as an undergraduate researcher).

Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors!
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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Zemira, so when studying medicine, if you are in medical school you will get an MD. However there are programs with combined degrees, such as MD/PhD and MD/MPH. You can do that and both get a medical degree and a PhD for research; however if you do apply for a dual degree then research before medical school is important. Research is recommended for medical school in general but if you are definitely wanting to pursue research along with being an MD then it can be required. That being said I would recommend to do research as an undergraduate with a professor and maybe a get a publication or a presentation complete. This will give you leverage when applying for this type of program and show commitment for both degrees. Remember research can be in a variety of topics because medicine is really expanding and if you have a specific area of research you are interested in then definitely try to take part in it. When you are in college make sure to get to know your professors and ask questions for research opportunities; if you show interest and do well in class then there is a good chance you can get some research experience. Also speak with your adviser, especially premed adviser to hear their thoughts on research as well; I will also attach a link that gives more information about it!

Best of luck!

Yasemin recommends the following next steps:

https://students-residents.aamc.org/choosing-medical-career/article/why-pursue-md-phd/
https://students-residents.aamc.org/choosing-medical-career/faq/faq-about-md-phd-programs-and-careers/
https://www.ama-assn.org/residents-students/preparing-medical-school/how-research-experience-can-strengthen-your-medical
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