Welcome!

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Hanna Erickson

This blog originated while I was applying to MD/PhD programs in the summer of 2012. As I was trying to learn more about these programs and what it was like to be a physician-scientist in training, I found that there was a lack of personal accounts of this type of training. Wanting to help those who come after me and wanting to maintain a writing outlet during my training, I created this blog to share both the ups and downs of my experience. It is not exhaustive by any means, but I hope it can be helpful for you in whatever stage of training!

About Hanna


Why MD/PhD?

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-scientistThese programs are appealing for a number of reasons:

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.

My Experience

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.

I receive no compensation for my writing on this blog, all of which is purely my own unless directly stated. While I do express my opinions, I emphasize that there is no guarantee that they represent those of my university or employers, and so should not be transferred onto them. Also, as a medical student, my work should not be taken as medical advice. I do not wish to allow advertisements on my blog (other than the ones WordPress puts on here).

While I am not compensated for my work with this blog, I have been compensated (barely!) for my work with The Almost Doctor’s ChannelDocCheck, and Lean On Admissions, which I may shamelessly self-promote.


If you like my writing, please consider following my blog. There’s a link near the top of the side bar to do so. Also, feel free to like my Facebook page (MD, PhD To Be), follow me on Twitter (@MDPhDToBe), and follow me on Instagram (MDPhDToBe). I am trying my best to remain active in each of these channels throughout my training! Any questions, comments, or requests for future blog posts can of course be directed to me from any of these locations or directly emailed to me at via the connect page. Thank you for reading!

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