The Dual Path: What to consider when considering an MD-PhD

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” – Yogi Berra
I was sitting in the back of a filled auditorium listening to a presentation about the medical school application process when I heard the question that would forever change my life’s trajectory. “What about MD-PhD programs?” a woman sitting somewhere down in front asked. That was the first time I had heard of the dual degree program. Having struggled to decide on my career path, this seemed like the best of all worlds: I could get an MD and a PhD.

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Dual Degree Medical Programs

By David Flynn, MD/MBA

Interest in dual degrees among US medical students has increased considerably during the last decade. Students can now supplement their medical education by pursuing graduate or professional degrees in nearly any discipline, including public health, bioethics, business administration, law, the humanities, and the basic sciences. Pre-medical students should be aware of the different educational opportunities available, as interest in a particular program may influence the medical schools to which they apply and require additional standardized testing, application essays, and recommendation letters.

Obtaining a second degree requires a substantial investment of time, money, or both, but can be incredibly rewarding and provide the training and credentials leading to a specialized role within medicine as a physician-scientist, physician-executive, or global health leader, in addition to many other possibilities.

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