Forum: MD/Masters vs MD/PhD
gravatar for reginaphalange
3.9 years ago by
Korea, Republic Of
reginaphalange0 wrote:

Hi everyone --

I'm very new to the bioinformatics scene but am contemplating a dual-degree in bioinformatics and medicine. I'm an incoming medical student at Stanford and will be applying internally to their graduate bioinformatics program (which spans bioinformatics and clinical informatics). I tried searching the forums, and while there were several posts addressing MS vs PhD in general, there was little information re: dual-degrees with MDs.

I'm primarily interested in combining bio/clinical informatics with diagnoses/treatments/outcomes of poorly understood neurodevelopment disorders (e.g. autism spectrum disorder) using large neuroimaging datasets. Would you suggest that I just go for the MS or pursue the PhD? I'm mainly wondering if the PhD would be overkill for someone who won't be doing full-time research or a valuable asset as bioinformatics continues to advance as a field.

Any and all opinions would be appreciated! Thanks so much!

ms education phd forum md • 3.3k views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 3.9 years ago by Devon Ryan88k • written 3.9 years ago by reginaphalange0
gravatar for Devon Ryan
3.9 years ago by
Devon Ryan88k
Freiburg, Germany
Devon Ryan88k wrote:

Within American biomedical academia, a masters degree is a largely meaningless piece of paper, which is why you haven't seen much mention of it. In many cases, it's what someone gets for dropping out of a PhD program early (e.g., that's what many programs at UCSF did). If you're purely interested in obtaining an additional degree so you can become a better diagnostician, then absolutely go for it! You just need to be aware that, at least within biomedicine in the US, a masters degree is unlikely to help your career much. Particularly among clinicians, you're likely to benefit your career more by doing a sub-specialization that incorporates clinical image analysis...and practically speaking this will be more directly beneficial than a master's degree in terms of patient care. In fact, I would strongly encourage you to look into such sub-specializations.

Another route for you would be to do a brief post-doc after getting your MD. You don't need a masters degree or a PhD to get hired as a post-doc (both my current and former PIs did that, in fact). If you find a lab that's working with datasets like the ones you're interested in, then a two-year post-doc could prove very useful. Note also that many med. students will do summer rotations in labs for similar purposes (I assume Stanford allows this, I've never heard of a school that didn't).

ADD COMMENTlink written 3.9 years ago by Devon Ryan88k
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