Higher Degrees

Discussion in 'Studying Medicine' started by truetryhard, Dec 23, 2018.

  1. truetryhard

    truetryhard New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Are there many people who do a MD/PhD in Australia (I couldn't find any universities which had a MD/PhD program in Australia)? How old would you expect to be upon finishing, and what career options would an MD/PhD have compared to just an MD or just a PhD?
     
  2. Mana

    Mana Registrar Administrar

    Messages:
    4,538
    Likes Received:
    1,337
    Trophy Points:
    143
    Occupation:
    Resident Medical Officer
    While the MD/PhD program is not offered as this per se straight from high school, there is definitely scope to do a PhD in between the years of the MD or even right after in some programs - usually the PhD would be a continuation of whatever honours in research year you would have started. Of course, this is a significant undertaking and is likely to add three or four years (minimum) to the length of your total studies (so three years PhD on top of a 5/6/(4+undergrad)).
     
  3. truetryhard

    truetryhard New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    What career options would an MD/PhD have compared to just an MD or just a PhD, for example those who are maybe interested in an academic/research career (perhaps while also practicing clinical medicine). Do you know of any people who decided to do both an MD and PhD, or is this very uncommon?
     
  4. Crow

    Crow Moderator Most Active 2018

    Messages:
    1,022
    Likes Received:
    785
    Trophy Points:
    143
    Occupation:
    Griffith MD
    chinaski is much more equipped to answer this and will hopefully weigh in, but:

    I don't believe many students do the dual MD/PhD - it's much more common to do a PhD after completing a primary medical degree and working for a few years first. As far as I'm aware combining an academic/teaching career with part-time clinical work is also quite common. Obviously if you want an academic career, doing a PhD is going to open more doors for you than if you have a bare MD.

    I believe nowadays it is becoming more and more common for doctors to complete higher degrees and other postgraduate qualifications due to the increasing competitiveness of getting onto a specialty training program, as well as finding a consultant position once one has completed their fellowship (this being most difficult in metro areas). I think chinaski has mentioned before that it is almost unheard of for one to gain a consultant job in a metro area nowadays without a higher degree to complement their initial fellowship.
     
  5. LMG!

    LMG! Moderator (UTAS MBBS) Most Helpful Member and Staff Member of the Year 2017-2018

    Messages:
    3,356
    Likes Received:
    2,581
    Trophy Points:
    143
    Occupation:
    Clinical Psychologist
    I think multiple universities (including UTAS and Monash, but also others) offer a two year PhD to Med students only (that biom and I think is just marvellous, don’t we biom?). I know someone possibly starting it next year at UTAS after doing one year of honours and three years of MBBS.
     
    Logic likes this.
  6. rustyedges

    rustyedges Otago MB ChB Moderator

    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    506
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I did consider doing a PhD intercalated with medicine. The two year intercalated PhD (at least at Otago) means you take two years away from medicine to do a lot of the data collection and get the things underway, then you'll spend every spare moment for the remainder of the medical degree including holidays and elective time finishing it. Even then, the couple of people I've known who have intercalated still took a couple of years part time while working as junior doctors finishing the PhD. It's no less rigorous than any other PhD and a huge undertaking to do alongside medical school.
     
  7. truetryhard

    truetryhard New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    So what would be the advantages of doing both MD and PhD over just a PhD? (for academic/research career)
     
  8. rustyedges

    rustyedges Otago MB ChB Moderator

    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    506
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Being able to work as a medical doctor and probably more scope to be running clinical research projects.
     
  9. chinaski

    chinaski Regular Member

    Messages:
    4,115
    Likes Received:
    306
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Yeah, pretty much this. It's more common to complete a higher degree later in your training or early into your consultant years. Succinctly, if you want to be an academic physician, a higher degree (or a lot of fellowship years somewhere prestigious + publications) is pretty much a prerequisite. Higher degrees, research experience, publications and fellowships are also the norm to be considered for an urban public job these days.

    My personal view is that it's silly to do a PhD or similar early when you're not yet committed to training, or know how to tailor your degree in order to be more competitive as a consultant. A PhD focusing on asthma when you end up training and practicing as a rheumatologist won't be viewed as impressively as another candidate who has a PhD in osteoarthritis, for instance. Furthermore, your academic momentum and currency is lost if you do a concurrent higher degree with your medical degree and early years as a JMO - the whole "publish or perish" thing factors in there. As an academic, you need to stay up-to-date - so that PhD in asthma without any subsequent work in the field won't look that fantastic or relevant if you apply for a respiratory job five-to-ten years after you initially completed said PhD.
     
    Crow likes this.
  10. Clav

    Clav Otago MB ChB III

    Messages:
    483
    Likes Received:
    351
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Occupation:
    Former Med Lab Scientist
    I guess it would hugely help with particularly competitive specialties as well... I've *heard* that to do neurosurgery you want to have a PhD to your name for them to look at you, but this is probably very context dependent.
     
  11. LMG!

    LMG! Moderator (UTAS MBBS) Most Helpful Member and Staff Member of the Year 2017-2018

    Messages:
    3,356
    Likes Received:
    2,581
    Trophy Points:
    143
    Occupation:
    Clinical Psychologist
    I think, as has been pointed out, if you want to have neurosurg look at you for a training spot and a PhD is recommended, it'd need to be a PhD on a relevant topic. This may or may not be possible to achieve at the three year mark of med school.
     
  12. chinaski

    chinaski Regular Member

    Messages:
    4,115
    Likes Received:
    306
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Underlining this. I think a lot of med students and junior doctors alike often have a very naive idea of how a higher degree may be viewed by prospective employers - many believe they'll immediately be awarded extra kudos and advantage just by the simple virtue of holding a higher degree. However, the reality is that the higher up you go in the pecking order, the more these things on your CV are viewed with a critical eye. Whilst some training programmes present the idea that a higher degree is just a uniform "tick the box" criterion wherein any old higher degree will do, once you're vying for a consultant job, it's far more scrutinised than that. What they want to know is whether your area of expertise is relevant to the job you're applying for, whether your extra qualifications will bring something to the unit, whether you have the ability, publishing history and professional contacts to push ahead in the academic world, and whether you will be capable of bringing in academic grants. In this case, all PhDs are not created equal, and your ongoing academic work and contacts, beyond the single act of completing a PhD, do matter.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
  13. Crow

    Crow Moderator Most Active 2018

    Messages:
    1,022
    Likes Received:
    785
    Trophy Points:
    143
    Occupation:
    Griffith MD
    To be eligible for a PhD you need to have an honours degree or masters by research (or equivalent) to be considered. If one were to have a bare MD/MBBS, work a few years and then decide to do a PhD, do the universities waive the "minimum honours degree" rule? I.e. is an MD/MBBS considered a sufficient research background?

    I know at some unis e.g. ANU they make an entire year of the medical degree a research project (in which case I'm assuming that would be considered a sufficient background for future PhD eligibility) but I know that not all unis structure their programs that way.
     
  14. chinaski

    chinaski Regular Member

    Messages:
    4,115
    Likes Received:
    306
    Trophy Points:
    83
    YMMV contingent on what university entry rules you look at, but generally it's not an issue. It's been a while since I looked closely, but I think there are some programmes that allow folk with professional undergraduate-level degrees and relevant work experience in directly. Others will get you to start on their Masters course, with a view to upgrading to PhD on the same trajectory after they've vetted you and ascertained you're up to the challenge. Generally, if a doctor wants to read for a PhD, not holding an Honours degree isn't considered a "game over" situation (remember, these Mickey Mouse "masters level" medical degrees are very, very recent and more to do with charging fees than equipping students for future higher study).
     
    Crow likes this.
  15. LMG!

    LMG! Moderator (UTAS MBBS) Most Helpful Member and Staff Member of the Year 2017-2018

    Messages:
    3,356
    Likes Received:
    2,581
    Trophy Points:
    143
    Occupation:
    Clinical Psychologist
    Oh, I saw this question in chat and answered there.

    No, it’s not an issue. But you have to have graduated. Most (all?) mid-degree PhDs require an honours year or similar (ie. UNSW’s ILP), but once you’ve graduated with either an MBBS or an MD, that’s enough.

    That said, a PhD candidature is also a competitive process, so trying to get someone to take you on as an MBBS (and probably some other degree options) grad with zero research experience might be a tougher ask.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
    Crow likes this.
  16. Texila

    Texila New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Hi my dear friend,

    You need to complete your MD and then plan on doing your PhD in the field you wish.
     

Share This Page