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Canadian PhD applying to US MD schools (low undergrad GPA)

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Hi Everyone,

In brief, I am a PhD student studying medicine in Canada. My biggest hurdle as I apply to medical schools is most definitely my GPA.

>undergrad GPA: 2.8

>graduate GPA: 3.9 (Though this is a thesis-based degree, I have taken a course (or two) every single semester over my 5 year PhD) 

[Based off of this year's entry statistics for almost all Canadian and US schools, my MCAT score is competitive. I have hundreds of hours of extracurricular activities ranging from volunteering, community service, student groups, leadership, etc. I have 100+ hours of shadowing in different clinics/services. 10+ pubs in mid-high tier journals (4 first author), various long-term employment experiences, etc etc.]

 

At this time, it seems very unlikely that I'll make it past the GPA cutoffs for all Canadian schools based off of conversations with advisers, weighted GPA calculations, etc. This has pushed me to look in the direction of US schools. 

Are there any US MD schools (not DO) that look favorably to PhD students? And a step-further: Canadian PhD students?

 

I have zero intention of changing my career path, so I have also entertained the idea of EU or AUS schools, though I am very aware of the obstacles, costs, and residency challenges associated.

 

Eager to gather some input from this forum! Some guidance would be appreciated.

 

 

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A 2.8 is just as lethal for USMD as CMD. AMCAS considers graduate GPA separately, and each school is different on if they take graduate GPA into account, but all have minimum undergraduate GPA cut-offs, and as far as I know none are below 3. If you can take more undergrad courses for GPA repair, there are some schools that look positively towards a phd, however mostly for the publication/research history. American schools don't really favour Canadian applicants, its actually more difficult to apply to USMD as a Canadian compared to an American, however since Canadian schools are so competitive some will have better luck down south. I've never heard of anyone specifically recruiting a Canadian phd.

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Unfortunately your GPA isn’t even enough to DO, let alone MD. You could give the Caribbean a shot if you’re really deadset on being a doctor. However, you seem to have had a very productive PhD which means you clearly have a strong acumen for research. You would probably do a lot better if you just stuck with that. After all, there are many opportunities for clinical research/work without an MD.

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I don't think USMD is an option for you to be honest.

Are there any Canadian schools you would be competitive at when re-calculating your GPA with last 2 years/best 2 years, etc.?

Otherwise I think your only option in Canada is doing a second undergrad after your PhD which you may not be interested in. This may be a rare case where I might actually suggest Carribean/Ireland/Australia if you can afford it and are dead set on getting an MD.

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I think it’s a complete insult to someone of your caliber to say go back to undergrad. If unsuccessful in the US I would recommend looking at research heavy/high tier medical schools in Australia (Melbourne and U Syd specifically), Ireland (RCSI), and the UK. 
 

While yes there are some challenges with residency,  someone with your CV would likely land a residency in the USA with decent USMLE scores. The cost will be high though. In the grand scheme of things however, tuition would probably be comparable to some US MD schools. 

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On 12/4/2019 at 8:30 PM, VigoVirgo said:

I think it’s a complete insult to someone of your caliber to say go back to undergrad.

Depends on why he averaged a B- in undergrad. Which is exactly the way med schools will see it. He doesn't need to do 4 years. Having done graduate school myself, graduate courses are graded/scaled completely differently and it is a different kind of work from undergrad, and generally easy to do well (It's why medical schools don't look at graduate GPAs). Assuming he's not just mediocre at undergraduate level courses and something happened and now changed and he can hit 3.9, he should be able to apply after 2 years at many schools.

It's not insulting at all to think someone may want to take an extra 2 years and be a excellent Canadian applicant as opposed to the gamble that is overseas medical school with, realistically, limitations on specialty choices if he does match back to Canada or forced to live in the states for a 2-5 year residency.

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On 12/8/2019 at 8:14 PM, bearded frog said:

Depends on why he averaged a B- in undergrad. Which is exactly the way med schools will see it. He doesn't need to do 4 years. Having done graduate school myself, graduate courses are graded/scaled completely differently and it is a different kind of work from undergrad, and generally easy to do well (It's why medical schools don't look at graduate GPAs). Assuming he's not just mediocre at undergraduate level courses and something happened and now changed and he can hit 3.9, he should be able to apply after 2 years at many schools.

It's not insulting at all to think someone may want to take an extra 2 years and be a excellent Canadian applicant as opposed to the gamble that is overseas medical school with, realistically, limitations on specialty choices if he does match back to Canada or forced to live in the states for a 2-5 year residency.

I might be misinformed but to my understanding it’s only a very small handful of schools who view best/last 2 years? And there will be many other excellent applicants, some of whom have also done a second degree. No matter how you spin this, no one really has a great chance here. Doing another 2 years for a few Canadian schools IS a gamble itself. OP is close to finishing a PhD (and has an impressive CV), and has already scored highly on the MCAT. So it’s not really a matter of competence. Scientific aptitude is clear. Going back to undergrad is a waste of 2 years. 

I agree about the limitations on specialty. If OP is aiming for something competitive like derm or surgical specialties, I don’t think going international is a great idea. At all. However having a PhD adds weight to an application especially in a place like Australia where the system of internship/specialty training is structured differently ( a lot of domestic grads there do additional degrees/research in order to get into competitive specialties). If OP is interested in primary care specialties there is no doubt he/she will get one somewhere. Overall this is one of the very, very few cases where I think the IMG route is fine if one is realistic about the outcome. Fuelling false hope that OP might be one of the lucky few who gets into med school in Canada isn’t healthy. For every non trad who did a second degree and got accepted, there were many others who were rejected. I credit those who persevere but some people don’t want to put their life on hold for 5 or 6 cycles. 

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