right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
We have changed the way we log in on College Confidential. Read more here.

GRE retake?

leejwwcleejwwc 847 replies48 threads Member
edited July 2007 in Graduate School
Hi, I'm graduating a year early from Duke and want to get an M.S. in biology before going to medical school. The programs I'm looking into are Cornell (Plant Pathology), Tufts (Biology), Wake Forest (Biology), and William & Mary (Biology). All but W&M also have Ph.D. programs. I took the GRE for the first time and received 750Q, 550V, 5.0AW. I was wondering whether I should retake it as the verbal score seems borderline low. Also, does anyone know whether schools that have both M.S. and Ph.D. programs evaluate M.S. apps separately or with lesser standards than Ph.D. apps?
edited July 2007
6 replies
Post edited by leejwwc on
· Reply · Share

Replies to: GRE retake?

  • DespSeekPhdDespSeekPhd 962 replies29 threads Member
    Why do you want an MS AND an MD? Are you afraid you won't have enough debt with just an MD?

    I don't mean to be snarky (really) - I'm just unsure of the purpose. An MS is not likely to help you land an MD, nor will it help you land a "better" residency or a research-based job that a good MD won't.
    · Reply · Share
  • leejwwcleejwwc 847 replies48 threads Member
    In answer to your question, the programs I have looked into all carry stipends and tuition remission so it will not cost me anything to attend (in truth, I would probably be paying more to stay another year at Duke than I would if I got a masters). That is my financial impetus. I am not really looking at the M.S. as a backdoor to get into an M.D. program either (I feel that my credentials are competitive for admission to medical school). What I do see this as is an opportunity to engage in more substantive research on the graduate level (not just an independent study project as an undergraduate) and perhaps it will help when applying to M.D./Ph.D. or research intensive M.D. programs. Is this not a valid reason (i.e. do you feel it would be judicious to just stay an additional year as an undergrad)?
    · Reply · Share
  • DespSeekPhdDespSeekPhd 962 replies29 threads Member
    Yes, I think you should simply stay put an extra year. An MS, even funded, is a waste of time if you will be going for an MD. Spend the extra year doing substantive research (either through labs, independent studies, etc.) at Duke. It will bolster your app the same as an MS would, and it will provide better letters of recommendation - letters that will be equivalent to what you would get in an MS program. And undergraduate research, quite frankly, is only limited by the student - I've heard of undergrads having pretty great research opportunities if they seek them out.

    As far as admissions are concerned, med schools will not be any more impressed with your MS than with good experience in undergrad. Research is research, as long as it is good research. My husband is a doc (and went to a very good med school), and many of our friends are docs, and this is the mantra. Well, that and nail the MCAT.

    Think of it this way - funded or not, an MS will take 2 years, as opposed to 1 extra year of undergrad. That means you will be graduating from med school a year later. That's a year of lost doctor income. All this changes a bit, though, depending on your undergrad financial status. If you are paying a good chunk of tuition at Duke each year (as you have mentioned), I can see why graduating early and getting a funded position may make a difference. However, check closely into those programs. Do ALL students get funded, or only some? It seems from looking at these programs that they fund most or some, but not necessarily all, of their MS students. What happens if you don't get funding?

    Me personally? I'd apply to med schools and grad schools, and I'd see from there what I get. If you get into a good med school, I'd take it and do research there. Perhaps you don't know this, but it is common for med students to take a year off during their 4-year program to do a year of research. My husband did this - he found a doc who was doing research he was interested in, took a year off to research and write, and has several pubs under his belt. I would not consider applying for an MD/PhD unless I knew for sure I wanted only a research career as opposed to a clinical career - there's no point to it, as plain MDs do tons of research and have opportunities for research careers as well. My husband interviewed for an MD/PhD, but ultimately went for just an MD.

    I hope all this helps!
    · Reply · Share
  • leejwwcleejwwc 847 replies48 threads Member
    In terms of research, I already have several years of research experience working on different projects, but I feel that my experiences have been limited in a way by 1) the long time it takes to get a substantive project done and 2) an insufficient amount of time to do this with an undergraduate courseload, albeit I have been overloading every semester. This is especially true of my current lab (which I have already worked in for a year). It seems that when I chose to get started working there, I did not give much thought to the amount of time it would take to produce substantive work on a subject which has already been heavily researched in the literature. And frankly at this stage I am a bit hesitant about switching labs at Duke since I have already committed a great deal of time and effort to my current lab, in addition to having already committed to them in the future. So I feel that a better option would be to stay with them for an additional year then do the masters.

    W&M and Wake are fully funded for all masters students (full tuition remission + living stipend). I am working on getting all the info together for the other schools.

    The only program I knew of that has research in the curriculum is Duke Med. They finish coursework there a year early and leave a whole year of research in the curriculum. Do you know of any comparable schools? It seems that by taking a year off during med school to do research, it would be the same as doing a masters timewise (both delayed by a year)?
    · Reply · Share
  • DespSeekPhdDespSeekPhd 962 replies29 threads Member
    Actually, all med schools generally require research. And as I said, it's entirely common to take a year to research. A MS is 2 years, not one. And by doing your research within the med school, you will be targeting it more towards your (assumed) career goals, which is medicine. Biology is not the same thing - while your thesis can be somewhat structured the way you want, you will still be researching in a lab, which means that what you research will be dictated to an extent (and even at the MS level) by your advisor. I think there are more opportunities in med school, frankly.

    I think you need to do more research on med schools. I'm also curious as to what your career goals are. I would also suggest posting on the med school forum - BigRedMed usually has excellent advice.
    · Reply · Share
  • leejwwcleejwwc 847 replies48 threads Member
    Assuming I graduate a year early from undergrad and do the masters in 2 years, it will be the same amount of time as if I chose to take a gap year while in med school to fit in research then. Besides, a year seems pretty short to do any sort of substantial work, at least less so than a 2 year research program would allow.

    I would disagree that basic biology within a non-medical school department differs from basic biology going on in a medical school department. Much of the focus is the same - elucidating genetic or biochemical mechanisms of key regulatory controls in cell processes.

    But I will indeed look more into the curricula at med schools. From what I do know, Duke is one of the few schools that actually encorporates a year of research experience into the curriculum (i.e. not something you take time off to do on the side).

    Putting this tangential matter aside, does anyone want to comment on the original post?
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity