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 you find it helpful!


Hanna Erickson, PhD began her MD/PhD training at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall of 2013. She completed her PhD in summer 2019 and will graduate from the program in 2022. She previously earned a BS in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota.


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. I chose this pathway because I knew as an undergraduate that I wanted to incorporate basic science research into my career as a physician and I wanted to begin my research training as early as possible.


Almost Docs: How I Found an Online Community

I didn’t know much about MD/PhD programs as an undergraduate. I found some resources online and met with the program director at my school, but I didn’t really have easy access to any current MD/PhD students to go to for advice as I was preparing to apply to medical school. I also didn’t know many pre-meds or join any pre-med clubs… So I went to social media.