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Phd or Masters be4 med?


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Hi everyone! i could really use some advice...what would u do?

 

I heard back from Toronto graduate studies and they are recommending me to go directly into a PhD option and skip masters...sounds good but there are drawbacks...

 

1) PhD is 4-6 years long and id have to wait before applyin to med...

2) I like research but i definitely do not want that as a future career at this point in time.

3) Masters is only 2 years long which means I can apply to med sooner but still no guarentee that Ill get in.

4) Med school is still my number one goal.

5) Doing a PhD however will add a doctorate to my name so it is still very gr8.

6) If I do masters and dont get into med then it wouldve been a lot better if I just did my PhD to begin with...

 

AHHHH do u see my dilemma? Any feedback/opinion that you have would be awesome...

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If you don't want research as your career, why do you say that a PhD would be better in the end than master's if you don't get into med? (and ok, you're gonna get in SOMEWHERE if you're willing to go the US/Carib route) What do you intend on doing with a PhD that wouldn't involve daily research work? SOMETIMES you can teach as a prof and not do much research, but there is quite heavy competition for professorships now. What else can you think of that would allow you to use your PhD and not be a research job?

 

Also, MANY PhDs take a lot longer than 4-6 years. It's not uncommon for it to take 10. Are you that committed? Also, consider if you can pull out of the program if you get into med. Lots of schools will not let you pull out of a master's, so I would check if you'd be able to enroll and drop out of your PhD, because if you can't, the PhD will be a very bad move.

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Why can't you do a master's and progress into a PhD if you don't get in right after your master's? I'm not very familiar with Canadian PhD programs, but had a few friends do PhDs in the US, and the Master's-to-PhD seems to be a fairly common route....Is U of T saying your direct route will only take 4-6 years? This seems awfully short (well, 6 is more realistic, it's the 4 that surprises me).

 

Why is U of T recommending the direct route for you? Do they just feel like you're ready for it, or is there some other reason?

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They said that my grades and relevant research are good enuf for a direct entry into PhD and that they recommend that route for me instead...and the advisor actually told me its a 4 year program...tho im afraid that they say four years but more realistically its actually only completed in 5 or 6 years.:(

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They said that my grades and relevant research are good enuf for a direct entry into PhD and that they recommend that route for me instead...and the advisor actually told me its a 4 year program...tho im afraid that they say four years but more realistically its actually only completed in 5 or 6 years.:(

Maybe try and get in touch with people currently or formerly in the program to see how accurate that is?

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Hi there,

 

I completed a 2-year M.Sc. program in 3 1/2 years. Life intervened and made it impossible to finish on time. Then again, we were told during our first week that most students do not complete in the 2 year time and that it usually takes longer. A few others in my program completed in less than 2 years.

 

At UofC (Calgary), we cannot take more than 6 years to complete a PhD on full-time status, and most people finish in 4 years. However, it can take only 3 years if that's what you do full-time with no work on the side. In fact, my funding is for 3 years only on the assumption that I finish on time!

 

Having said that, you should really consider doing something that you might actually like to do if you never get into med school (I know, never say never!). Don't waste time and money doing something in the meantime if you're not going to like it or use it.

 

Finally, depending on the field, a PhD doesn't necessarily mean research these days. There are many other avenues available to pursue that are not in a university setting (can be in the private sector, but not necessarily). So even though you'd be learning research, it doesn't mean you'd be stuck doing that once you graduate. Also, some programs in Canada let you begin in the masters and switch to the PhD - you just have to shop around! I started my masters thinking I'd want to switch to the PhD and I realised that this wasn't the avenue I wanted to pursue so I finished and started the PhD in something I really enjoy.

 

Isa :)

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Hey

From what I've been told, you can start a Master's and apply to med on your first year as a Master's student. If that doesn't work out and you still want to do a PhD, then you can switch into the combined MSc and PhD program. Also, from what I was told by a Master's student, a PhD is a lot more complicated because you actually need to get results that work and publish 3 articles at least, so there is no guarantee on the time you'll spend on your project. Apparently, on a Master's project, you don't need results that work, so time can be respected.

This is all second-handed info, but I hope it helps anyway.

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As a current PhD student, I would strongly suggest not doing PhD degree for the sake of getting into medical school, especially if you're not that interested in doing some form of research down the road.

 

Having done MSc before PhD, I would suggest doing a Master's degree and applying to medical school either in the first or second year (some schools require that you finish the degree before you enter medical schoo so check). This way, you have more flexibility as you can choose to do PhD if med school doesn't work out and you decide that research is your future. Besides, there isn't that much difference in time of completion between direct-entry PhD program (or MSc transfer to PhD) and separate MSc and PhD route.

 

P.S. I hope you're not seriously thinking about doing PhD mainly because it's a doctorate degree. This is a long, laborous, and often stressful endeavor that can be miserable for those who are not committed to research. I would say completing a research-based PhD program, at least at U of T, in 4 years is very uncommon and many take more than 6 years to finish.

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AHHHH do u see my dilemma?

 

I don't, actually (and I'm not being sarcastic). If meds is what you want, then why not apply directly out of undergrad?

 

If you're looking for a "plan B", then as other people have suggested you might want to think about starting in a masters program with the thought of expanding your work into PhD-level material partway through.

 

It's not unheard of for people to go the other way - start a PhD and leave school early with a Masters. The optics just aren't as good going that route.

 

Re: point 5. My humour-meter has been acting a little wonky lately, so I'm hoping that you were just joking. Doing a PhD just so you can call yourself "doctor" is, imho, a lot of work for very little payoff. But whatever floats your boat, I guess...

 

pb

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hey crossroads

 

i definately would not pursue a Ph.D. unless you know that is what you want to do, and you are happy with the outcome, regardless of how med applications turn out. as previously pointed out, tenure track prof is not the only profession that a Ph.D. will open doors to, there are many industry and government analyst jobs as well. as far as duration, 10 years is ridiculous. in the four years i have been doing my Ph.D., only 2 people in my department took 6 years, with the majority graduating in 5. i hope to finish mine in 4-4.5; i started right after my B.Sc. there are no stipulations on the number of papers you need to publish; i have known students who graduated with 0 papers to their name. however, a Ph.D. requirement is 'original research at an advanced level', and is usually demonstrated by papers in peer-reviewed journals. the best route is to apply to the M.Sc. program, see if you like it, and then transfer to the Ph.D. if that is what you want. best of luck!

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I agree with diabetes dude, I am also a PhD candidate that is finishing up right now before starting Meds and it has been a long and labour intensive road- don't get me wrong I don't regret it at all, but it is a major program to jump into with both feet at once if you've never worked full time in a lab environment before. If you really enjoy research, and want to try that route for a bit, then why not go for the masters and then make the switch to a PhD at a later time point. This is also a good way to make a graceful exit from a nightmare of a project or a slave driving supervisor. If you try to write up a masters after being registered as a PhD it will show up on your transcript as a sort of red flag that makes it seem like you couldn't commit to something. Other word of advice, if they are saying 4 years right now its safe to assume that it will take you atleast 5 or 6. All supervisors try to lure in students with an unrealistically condensed time lines.

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So...I'm not actually sure I see your dilemna.

You stated you don`t want to do research for your career. So clearly a PhD is not for you. Although, it begs the question of why would a Masters even be right for you? Grad school is not your only option between undergrad and meds.

 

I'm not so sure I see the advantage to a "direct entry" PhD, especially if you don`t even want to do a PhD. Many schools in Canada don`t even have this. You enrol in a Masters and if you want to continue to do a PhD you just "roll over" into the PhD after your first year instead of writing up your masters thesis. It's that simple...provided your supervisor likes you and wants you to do a PhD there. No wasted time cause the work you did for your "masters" now applies to your PhD. The wasted time comes in if you actually finish your Masters and then start a PhD from scratch.

 

As for the PhD to Masters route. I know of nobody who has done this, though I suspect it is possible?? I would check. I know in the US things are a bit different...you enroll in a PhD and when you don`t finish it you get a Masters, but things don`t work like that in Canada. Masters aren`t looked upon so great in the US and it was a subject of great frustration for me sometimes at conferences trying to explain that I was in the Masters program, not because I wasn`t any good at what I was doing, but because you enroll in it before your PhD! So if you do plan to enroll in a PhD with the intention of getting a Masters...I'd check to see what the school says about it first.

 

Though it really sounds like you should investigate other options. Even when you start out super motivated and loving your topic and research...chances are there will be many times along the road when you hate research, your topic, your lab, your supevisor. I can`t imagine how a person who starts off grad school knowing it isn`t for them could manage to get through!! Only do it if you really want to. my 2cents!

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As for the PhD to Masters route. I know of nobody who has done this, though I suspect it is possible?? I would check.

 

Ya, I should probably have been more clear, and maybe not even have brought up the possibility. Starting off in a PhD program and finishing with a Masters is *not* a Good Thing. In fact, it's probably a Very Bad Thing in terms of your career. But it might be possible if you need to escape from a PhD gone horribly wrong.

 

From a political point of view, it's definitely *not* something you would want to discuss with your supervisor at the outset of your program. ;)

 

To the OP - you really ought to go out for coffee/beer/whatever with the current PhD students in the lab that you'll be working in. Pick their brains about the conditions there, your supervisor's characteristics etc. Also try and figure out if your personality would mesh well with theirs, 'cuz you'll be spending a lot of time together if you do start a PhD there.

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As a current PhD student, I would strongly suggest not doing PhD degree for the sake of getting into medical school, especially if you're not that interested in doing some form of research down the road.

 

Having done MSc before PhD, I would suggest doing a Master's degree and applying to medical school either in the first or second year (some schools require that you finish the degree before you enter medical schoo so check). This way, you have more flexibility as you can choose to do PhD if med school doesn't work out and you decide that research is your future. Besides, there isn't that much difference in time of completion between direct-entry PhD program (or MSc transfer to PhD) and separate MSc and PhD route.

 

P.S. I hope you're not seriously thinking about doing PhD mainly because it's a doctorate degree. This is a long, laborous, and often stressful endeavor that can be miserable for those who are not committed to research. I would say completing a research-based PhD program, at least at U of T, in 4 years is very uncommon and many take more than 6 years to finish.

 

Bang on advice.

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