Medical School or Graduate School????

Linden Higgins linden at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU
Mon Apr 29 09:17:36 EST 1996

>I was considering both these options, too, when I was an undergraduate.  I
>went on to get a PhD only, which I received in 1993, but I haven't ruled
>out going back to medical school, maybe that says something.
>For most people, these really are different careers.  Do you want to do
>science, or do you want to be a doctor?  Or, have you considered MD-PhD?
>The cons of that are the length of time it takes, but the pros include
>(usually) having your education funded by an MSTP grant.  MST programs are
>very competitive, though.
>When I say to friends that have MD's that I really am concerned about how
>bad the job situation is for PhD's, they pretty much uniformly say that
>"medicine is changing too" and "isn't like it used to be."  Often this
>means that "you can't get rich doing medicine anymore."  [snip]
>Karen Allendoerfer
>In article <4lr3d1$i5b at>, ymchadwi at
>(unchained melody) wrote:
>> Hi, I'm a sophomore in college, majoring in Biology.  I am currently
>> following a pre-med program, but I'm now beginning to wonder about
>> graduate school.  Can anyone help me figure out the pros and cons of
>> medical school and of graduate school?  I would love to research and/or
>> teach, but I am *very* interested in the medical aspects of science.
>> Smile, and have a great day!!

I am not in academic medicine, but my father is.  I recall that when I
first started job hunting (in academic _science_, not medicine), my father
was amazed that I couldn't find a job.  In those days (late 80s), the
better med schools were fighting over the best candidates, and there were
relatively few candidates for each position.  Now, he tells me that things
are really different.  They get at many qualified applicants for each
position (I don't know the order of magnitude), and he says that making
choices is getting harder.  So whereas when I finished, it was
significantly easier to get a job in a medical school than in other
academic programs, that appears to no longer be the case.  I suspect that
the decision of whether or not to go the MD/PhD route should depend on your
own interests, as in deciding about the Ph.D. itself -- not on any
assumption that it will make getting a job easier.

Linden Higgins

Linden Higgins, Ph.D.
Dept. of Zoology,
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX  78712
linden at

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