- Amherst College Guide for Premedical StudentsAmherst College Guide for Premedical Students
- Part I: Preparing to Apply to Medical School
- Part II: The Medical School Application Process
- Some Up-Front Advice
- What You Need to Do, and When
- Your Amherst Recommendation
- Information for the Health Professions Committee
- The Medical College Admission Test
- The Application: AMCAS and Non-AMCAS
- Selecting Medical Schools
- Medical School Interviews
- Early Decision
- M.D./Ph.D. Programs
- Financing Medical School
- Appendix: Medical School Favorability to Out-Of-State Residents
An MD/PhD program is a superb opportunity, but it is not for everyone. It involves a commitment of up to eight years of intensive study and research with minimum vacations, in addition to residency once you specialize. You should be very clear in your own mind about why you need both degrees in order to accomplish your career goals.
The RAMC website and the Medical School Admissions Requirements book provide a complete list of MD/PhD programs. The most selective and well-funded of these programs are those at the 39 schools funded by the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) of the National Institutes of Health. Another 70 or so MD/PhD programs are funded internally at non-MSTP medical schools.
About 200 new students per year in the whole country are accepted to MSTP programs and Amherst students are almost always among them. The program pays tuition for both MD and PhD degrees, and provides a stipend of approximately $18,000 per year for living expenses. (If you add it all up, it comes to more than $300,000 in support!) If you drop the program midway, you must pay back the money they've spent on you.
You will also have an obligation to do research during at least part of your career after receiving the degrees. You should know what field you are interested in and apply to schools with appropriately strong departments. Apply only if you have already done substantial research, almost certainly including an Amherst science thesis. Many students accepted into M.D./Ph.D. programs are coauthors of one or more publications in scientific journals at the time they apply.
Most schools reserve some spots for second year medical students. AMCAS does not provide a service for applying to the Ph.D. portion of these programs. You will need to submit separate applications and recommendations along with the normal M.D. application materials. Interviews for these programs are grueling, usually six or more consecutive individual interviews, focusing on research you've done.
Applicants may be asked to submit a copy of Amherst recommendations to the Ph.D. portion of the program; you will need to submit completely separate applications, plus separate recommend-ations in addition to the Committee recommendation for the M.D. portion of the program. Interviews for these programs are grueling, usually six to eight consecutive individual interviews, complete with specific science knowledge questions. You will have to interview separately for the M.D. and Ph.D. programs, often over two days.