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Terence P. Ma tpm at anat.umsmed.edu
Mon May 23 10:40:38 EST 1994

In article <2rptlh$bgi at dingo.cc.uq.oz.au> lisao at psy.uq.oz.au (Lisa Olson) writes:

>stephan at hannibal.psych.ucla.edu (Stephan Anagnostaras) writes:

>>Unless you have two or three publications, a perfect undergraduate
>>record, and perfect GRE or MCAT scores, you should rule out MD/PhD
>>programs. I don't mean to discourage you if you actually have these
>>qualifications, but if you don't you shouldn't consider applying to
>>an MSTP program.  

>Will somebody please explain to me how an undergraduate is
>expected to publish anything?  Please disregard the Australian
>email address as I am American and familiar with U.S. schools
>and education.

Actually, that is not all too uncommon depending on the student and the 
environment that they are in. I have come across a number of undergraduates 
(and even a few high school students) that have pretty decent publishing 
records. This was accomplished initially as summer work-study or science 
fair projects and then full participation in the lab's research.

Personally, even though I have a Ph.D., I don't recommend getting one unless 
you think you need it for academic promotion, etc. A MD can do outstanding 
research provided that (s)he has had the training - and a decent 5 year 
research postdoc should suffice. In the current job climate, unless you are 
assured of a position through tenure (and even that is no longer absolute), 
the only way to guarantee job security is to be able to have an "alternate 
career" to fall back on.

By the way, I, too, took a year off between undergrad and grad school trying 
to decide whether I wanted an M.D., Ph.D., or both. I chose a Ph.D. only 
because I "knew" I wanted to do research in neuropsychiatry and didn't want to 
learn all that extra stuff that a regular physician needs to know. I lucked 
out. I got outstanding training in neuroscience and do not regret my decision 
to get a Ph.D. only.

Oh, I don't do research in neuropsychiatry, but in the anatomical and 
physiological bases of movement control.

Terence P. Ma, Ph.D.            Department of Anatomy
VOICE:     601-984-1654         University of Mississippi Med. Ctr.
FAX:       601-984-1655         2500 North State Street
INTERNET:  tpm at anat.UMSMED.EDU  Jackson, MS 39216-4505

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