For those applying to MD/PhD programs, you will have to complement your MD personal statement with a MD/PhD statement and a research statement. The MD/PhD statement has a 3,600 character limit and serves to strengthen your argument why you want to do both MD and PhD. As an example, here is my MD/PhD personal statement:
As an undergraduate, I have begun to experience the complementarity of medicine and scientific research. I now understand that clinical work as a physician requires not only application of the scientific principles learned throughout college and medical school, but also requires compassion and an interest in the personal side of health care. For me, this interest was reignited by my experience in research where I learned more about the effects of cancer and had first hand experience in the search for a better understanding of the disease. From learning about the devastating effects of the disease and the efforts that doctors and researchers are putting forth to improve treatment of it, I was inspired to resume volunteering at the hospital, doing anything I could to be more involved.
My research inspires me to pursue medicine, and now, my experience in the hospital motivates my efforts in the lab. In my current research, I have found that at first, I easily became discouraged when, after seven months of trying multiple methods for synthesizing a single molecule, another attempt fails. Before I began to volunteer in the intravenous infusion suite, I reacted to such difficulties with near resentment of my work, at times, and continued to try just to reach the end goal set for me. Now that I have returned to the clinic as a volunteer, I have found new motivation in some of my more straining times in the lab. At the end of a long workweek, while infusing my sample only to find that the product degraded or was not formed at all, I remember my morning in the clinic and the patients that I met. I regain my optimism and drive much faster, as I remember that I am not only doing this for myself or for the scientific knowledge, but for them.
Through my learning experiences in the lab and the clinic, I have become passionate about cancer and want the next eight years to prepare me for spending the rest of my life devoted to doing as much as I can to help improve the lives of those affected. Clinical and lab work now seem to be individually inadequate options for my ambition. Rather, with the training of an MD/PhD program, I hope to bridge the gap between these two areas of interest to become an academic oncologist to more broadly contribute to the fight against cancer. I look forward to making discoveries in the lab and being able to apply them in the clinic. I also want to amplify my training and experience to help teach a new generation of doctors and researchers to not only be able to excel at their own areas of focus, but to gain an understanding of a broader range of experiences and ways of thought. I believe in the ability to utilize the complementarity of these roles to maintain my motivation and compassion, to contribute novel and useful knowledge, to influence future generations, and to ultimately make the greatest impact toward making the lives of patients and their families better.