Career Center

M.D./Ph.D. Programs


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.


Next Page: Financing Medical School >>


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