Can doctors do research without a PhD?

Have you ever thought of becoming a researcher and a doctor? Applying to an MD/PhD program allows you to practice medicine while contributing to clinical research. Here are 15 facts to get you started!

    1. According to the AAMC’s list of MD-PhD programs by state, 115 different universities in the US offer combined MD/PhD programs.
    2. The curriculum will vary slightly from program to program, but according to the MD PhD: Is it right for me? from the AAMC, all of these programs combine medical training and clinical research. Typically, there is more emphasis on medical school in years 1-2 and again in years 7-8, and the emphasis is on graduate school/research in the middle years (3-6).
    3. 55 MD-PhD programs are partially funded by training grants from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences. These programs are known as Medical Scientist Training Programs or MSTP. MSTPs tend to be better funded than non-MSTPs. For a list of MSTP programs by state, visit the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) website.
    4. Most MD-PhD programs offer financial assistance in the form of scholarships and tuition waivers. Each program differs in how much support each student receives. See the differences in the AAMC table linked earlier.
    5. You apply to most MD/PhD programs on the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) platform. When applying, you must identify yourself as an MD/PhD candidate and additional essays will be required.
    6. Princeton Review reports that MD/PhD programs are very competitive. Princeton Review notes that there were 1,936 applicants in the 2016-2017 academic year; 649 of them were accepted.
    7. Because the programs are so competitive, the entry requirements are high. According to the Princeton Review, successful applicants had an average overall MCAT score of 513.9 and an average GPA of 3.78.
    8. Research experience is expected from an MD/PhD candidate (including summer projects, research work at postgraduate level or postgraduate research activities). However, the website How to Stand Out as an MD/PhD Candidate notes that simply describing studies and their results is just as important as demonstrating your intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm.
    9. On Is MD right for me? AAMC recommends that two MD-PhD degrees take approximately 7-8 years. Then you have to complete a 3-7 year residency program if you want to practice medicine. It is good to understand the time required before entering these types of programs.
    10. The AAMC’s Career Paths for MD/PhD Graduates website indicates that approximately 75% of MD-PhD graduates end up in pharmaceutical or medical academic positions.
    11. Career Paths websites also report that MD/PhD graduates who end up in academic medicine spend about 70-80% of their professional time on research.
    12. The NIH offers a variety of scholarships and funding opportunities for those with an MD/PhD background.
    13. There are MD-PhD programs that allow you to get a doctorate in the humanities or social sciences. The AAMC also knows about these programs.
    14. If you drop out of an MD-PhD program, some schools require you to repay the investment the school made in you. Read each school’s policies or talk to the school’s admissions office before you decide to apply.
    15. According to Science, there are several factors to consider when choosing a residency as an MD/PhD graduate. Tickling rats Research Project degree in biology. They had a small class and Maureen’s mentor did a lot of research at the time. So she was invited to do some research with her and she tried it. In the end, she really liked it. She loves the ability to ask questions and design how to answer that question, watching it all unfold.

      The first research he did was to find out what the voices in rats meant. Maureen reveals that her research suggests that rats produced a 55 kilohertz ultrasonic sound to laugh. You can produce this voice by ticking rats. So she spent an hour a day tickling rats to elicit vocalizations.


      MD is a doctor of medicine, and PhD is a doctor of philosophy. A medical program focuses on the use of drugs to diagnose and treat patients. Research for a doctoral program focuses on research (in any field) to advance knowledge.

      This article describes the main differences between an MD and a PhD. If you’re not sure which degree is right for you, read on to learn more about their areas of interest and typical career paths. Note that this article was written for the perspective of an American audience.

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