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I was going through a list of information online about the advantages/ disadvantages of pursuing a PhD if you are dead certain about entering the field of academic neurosurgery.

A curious trend I observed is that, it is possible to receive a PhD in neurosurgery while doing your residency. One of the big examples I can think of is Dr Michael G. Fehlings who is the Krembil Chair in Neural Repair & Regeneration at U of T.  More info: http://neurosurgery.utoronto.ca/faculty/list/fehlings.htm

How would one compare/ contrast this with the more traditional MD/PhD curriculum in terms of duration of the program? I ask this because I am wondering if a post-doctral fellowship ensues after a residency or if one has substantial research experience during both med, residency, and fellowship the post-doc is not mandatory? 

 

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There is no set course and it all depends on the individual.

However, I can give you some insights based on myself, my PhD supervisor, and other MD/PhDs I know. 

I am doing my PhD first, which means I rely on the standard graduate scholarships to fund my work. However, it will certainly give me an edge for the MD program once I have finished. 

If you do your PhD after your MD, you can join the CIP program (Clinician Investigator Program). You get paid more (you will be paid as a resident, meaning you will be earning more than double the average PhD student), which is a huge motivator. You can either do it during residency or afterwards, although earlier is generally the route people go. That being said, I know two MD/PhDs who completed their PhDs in the CIP program after they had finished residency and they royal college exams. 

If you want a tenured academic appointment, you will probably have to complete a postdoc once you finish your training. If you are looking for a clinical professor position, they aren't necessary. My co-supervisor is a clinical professor who never completed a post doc. 
 

Regarding the MD/PhD program- I was advised not to do it because it breaks up your MD degree. I was told it makes it way harder to complete years 3 and 4 if you are no longer in the same cohort you started with. 

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