Higher Degrees

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?
 

Mana

there are no stupid questions, only people
Administrator
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?

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)).
 
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?
 

Crow

Medical Student
Emeritus Staff
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?
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.
 

LMG!

MBBS IV
Administrator
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)).

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.
 

rustyedges

Moderator
Moderator
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.
 

rustyedges

Moderator
Moderator
Being able to work as a medical doctor and probably more scope to be running clinical research projects.
 

chinaski

Regular Member
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.

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.
 

Clav

Otago MB ChB IV
Being able to work as a medical doctor and probably more scope to be running clinical research projects.

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.
 

LMG!

MBBS IV
Administrator
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.

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.
 

chinaski

Regular Member
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.

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.
 
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Crow

Medical Student
Emeritus Staff
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.
 

chinaski

Regular Member
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).
 

LMG!

MBBS IV
Administrator
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.

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.
 
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Texila

Member
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?

Hi my dear friend,

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

Kyle

Old Man MSO
Emeritus Staff
I'm in the second year of my PhD (on an RTP scholarship/stipend) now and I don't have hons.
 

Yash Shah

Member
If I graduate with an MBBS degree, which is a bachelor's qualification, how does obtaining a PhD work from there? Is there any difference in getting a PhD from an MD degree, since it is a masters qualification? For example, does the process of getting a PhD differ between being qualified from WSU (MD) vs. Curtin (MBBS)?
Thanks
 

Kingbogan

Member
If I graduate with an MBBS degree, which is a bachelor's qualification, how does obtaining a PhD work from there? Is there any difference in getting a PhD from an MD degree, since it is a masters qualification? For example, does the process of getting a PhD differ between being qualified from WSU (MD) vs. Curtin (MBBS)?
Thanks
MBBS is a masters and a bachelors
 
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