Physician-scientists are medical doctors who invest a significant amount of time to scientific research. Not only must they be good clinicians but they also must be skilled in performing research. Dual-degree programs that provide training in both medicine (MD or DO) and research (PhD) are just one way to train as a physician-scientist. These programs are appealing for a number of reasons:
- Integration. By simultaneously training in research and medicine (via a variety of training structures), trainees learn to balance and incorporate their training in these two distinct areas in a way that is not as easily done should one train in each separately.
- Continuity. Once you’re in the program, you’re set for the next 8+ years. That means you can really focus on your training much longer without the distraction of having to figure out what’s next (such as applying to residency).
- Community. Dual degree training is long and can be stressful and isolating. It is helpful to have a support system of other individuals who understand the unique challenge of balancing medical and research training. Dual degree programs range in size, but typically offer a community of 20+ other dual degree students that you can commiserate with/learn from/etc.
Over the years, I’ve written a number of blog posts and other articles about my experience as an MD/PhD student. Here are links to those:
- AMCAS MD/PhD Personal Statement. This shows my reasons for wanting to become a MD/PhD as written in the summer of 2012.
- The Difference a Year Makes. I wasn’t planning on doing MD/PhD until just months before I took the MCAT and applied! Here I write how this program swept me off my feet.
- My Next Eight Years. In this post, I answered a number of FAQ at the time of me starting my MD/PhD program. I touch on topics such as how my program is structured, my experience applying and interviewing for the MD/PhD program, and why the heck I’m doing this at all.
- A Day in the Life of a MD/PhD Student. This is by far one of the most common questions I’ve received. I try my best to capture the variability of days between phases and between different programs while also specifically talking about some example days during my training.
- My MD/PhD Timeline. Following up to the Day in the Life post, I wrote out all of the activities/academic accomplishments I have had so far in my training separated out by semester. It aims to show how the workload is quite variable depending on the semester and how I have integrated my medical school and graduate school training.
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