Advice on Choosing Between Medicine and Physics

In summary: That's sort of a myopic position on such a great opportunity as having an MD/PhD. You can go beyond research and teaching like in the traditional academic track and do actual clinical stuff as well. It's more than just "derp I can do pepul now", and I feel that's sort of omitted whenever the subject is...
  • #1
azn888
3
0
Medicine or physics?

I'm in the 2nd year of a science/med dual degree this year. I start med next year. However, I really want to learn physics and maths to an advanced level. I was very good at maths and physics at high school. I really enjoy maths and physics. I haven't done any maths or physics at university - only biology. However, I have been teaching myself uni level calculus and linear algebra during the past week and found it pretty easy.

I don't really know if I want to go to med school. I have heard that if there's anything else you'd rather do than medicine, then do it. The only reason I'm going to med school is to do research afterwards. The research I am going to do is in neuroscience. I'll be doing a PhD during the med degree as well.

I would love to learn a lot of physics but I don't think I'm going to have any time once I start med school. I know I will excel in whatever career I enter but I don't know what I will enjoy more. I hate rote memorizing things. I disliked biology last year for that reason. I love solving problems and working things out. I know I will be able to do that in neuroscience research but an academic career in theoretical physics also appeals to me.

Any advice?
 
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  • #2


An engineer friend of mine went back and got his MD, and is now a very successful OBGYN. He told me that Med school was easy for him, because he's always been good at memorization. He said that about half of Med School was memorization (at least in the first year or two). Not sure how that meshes with your comment about hating rote memorization...

Guess you could take an anatomy class or two earlier rather than later -- that will give you a flavor of early Med School...
 
  • #3


I've done an anatomy class and hated hated hated it. It was unbelievably boring and dry. I especially hated learning the muscles and their origins and insertions.
 
  • #4


azn888 said:
I don't really know if I want to go to med school. I have heard that if there's anything else you'd rather do than medicine, then do it. The only reason I'm going to med school is to do research afterwards. The research I am going to do is in neuroscience. I'll be doing a PhD during the med degree as well.

Why do you need an MD to do research in Neuroscience? If you loved medicine and patient contacts, then fine, do the MD. But it sounds like you don't like what Med School is going to focus on for 1-2 years, aren't interested in the patient contacts in clinicals the following years, and won't be using your MD for much in your final chosen occupation. What am I missing here?

wikipedia.org said:
Entry-level education
Main article: Medical school
Entry-level medical education programs are tertiary-level courses undertaken at a medical school. Depending on jurisdiction and university, these may be either undergraduate-entry (most of Europe, India, China), or graduate-entry programs (mainly Australia and Canada), or second entry degrees (United States).

Generally, initial training is taken at medical school. Traditionally initial medical education is divided between preclinical and clinical studies. The former consists of the basic sciences such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology. The latter consists of teaching in the various areas of clinical medicine such as internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and surgery. Increasingly, however, medical programs are using systems-based curricula in which learning is integrated, and several institutions do this.

There has been a proliferation of programmes that combine medical training with research (MD PhD) or management programmes (MD MBA), although this has been criticised.[1]

more -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_education
 
  • #5


I'm in Australia so it's an MBBS not an MD. I think it makes it a lot easier to get funding and positions at top universities if I have the med degree as well as the PhD. I plan on coming to the USA to do research after med school.
 
  • #6


azn888 said:
I'm in Australia so it's an MBBS not an MD. I think it makes it a lot easier to get funding and positions at top universities if I have the med degree as well as the PhD. I plan on coming to the USA to do research after med school.

Maybe just partner up with an MD for those grant proposals...
 
  • #7


berkeman said:
Maybe just partner up with an MD for those grant proposals...

That's sort of a myopic position on such a great opportunity as having an MD/PhD. You can go beyond research and teaching like in the traditional academic track and do actual clinical stuff as well. It's more than just "derp I can do pepul now", and I feel that's sort of omitted whenever the subject is brought up.
 

Related to Advice on Choosing Between Medicine and Physics

1. What are the major differences between studying medicine and physics?

Medicine is a field focused on understanding and treating diseases and illnesses in the human body, while physics is a field focused on understanding the fundamental laws and principles that govern the natural world. Medicine is a more applied and practical field, while physics is more theoretical and abstract.

2. Which field has better job prospects?

Both medicine and physics have excellent job prospects, but in different areas. Medicine has a high demand for doctors and healthcare professionals, while physics has a high demand for researchers and scientists in industries such as technology, energy, and aerospace.

3. How long does it take to complete a degree in either field?

A degree in medicine typically takes around 8 years to complete, including undergraduate studies and medical school. A degree in physics typically takes 3-4 years for a bachelor's degree and an additional 2-3 years for a master's degree or PhD.

4. What skills are necessary for success in either field?

To succeed in medicine, strong communication skills, empathy, and attention to detail are essential. In physics, critical thinking, problem-solving, and mathematical skills are crucial for success. Both fields also require a strong work ethic and dedication to continuous learning.

5. Can I pursue both fields simultaneously?

It is uncommon to pursue both medicine and physics simultaneously, as they are both demanding fields that require a significant amount of time and dedication. However, some individuals may choose to combine the two by pursuing a career in medical physics, which applies physics principles to medical imaging and radiation therapy.

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