MD vs. PhD vs. MD/PhD : what's best for research?

John Sidles sidles at stein1.u.washington.edu
Mon Dec 20 10:33:41 EST 1993


>mbh at sdphu1.uucp (Matt Harrington) writes:
>
>[...]
>
>>I'd like to hear opinions about which degree is best for research
>>careers, and what's the advantage of getting an MD for someone solely
>>interested in research?  What kinds of things are MD/PhD people doing in
>>terms of research or medical practice?  Are there more opportunitites in
>>research for those with an MD compared to those with just a PhD?  Is
>>either degree more respected in the scientific community?
>

Dear Folks

I am a Ph.D.-only physicist who has climbed the academic ladder to
a tenured slot in a school of medicine.  My two cents is, just bite
the bullet and get the MD, after getting the PhD.  As many posters
have noted, the MD is the prestige degree, while PhD's are
sometimes viewed as second class citizens in the world of clinical
research.  

MD/PhD is a muscular degree combination, which rightly will earn you
the respect of your peers, even if you choose not to practice medicine.
Plus, it positions you optimally for outcome-related research, which
is likely to be a topic for the next twenty years.

What about "having a life?"  You better try investment banking if
you are worried about having a life.

Good luck... medical research is a great career if you are willing
to work hard and accept a certain level of uncertainty.

Sincerely John Sidles


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John A. Sidles, Ph.D.               email: sidles at u.washington.edu
Associate Professor                 phone: (206) 543-3690
Department of Orthopaedics RK-10    FAX:   (206) 685-3139
School of Medicine                  PAGE:  (206) 989-9462
University of Washington
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