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Programs Dual Degree? DVM/PhD and other hybrids

  1. Jul 18, 2008 #1
    Hi everybody, I'm new (found this site while unwinding from a long week of paper-editing). Just for a quick reference, I'm currently pursuing a BS in biophysics and minors in math and chemistry... this place seems to be a good home for me....

    So I'm starting to think about life after undergrad, and I've come across (and had people suggest) I look into DVM/PhD type projects, given my desire to be a vet, but also do research. This summer also has been really helpful with getting my priorities straight (doing a vet/research type internship). So far so good.

    So, would I have to be incredibly insane to spend almost up to 8 years of my life with additional schooling?

    (I still have doubts of getting in said program, because you have to be accepted in both the university's vet and grad schools to be considered.)

    Has anyone here thought about this? Is going through this? I would love to hear someone else's opinion other then my own...
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 18, 2008 #2
    Hi. Welcome to PF!

    I am considering doing a PHD like yourself. I've worked in a professional capacity for a year whilst at uni and a year and a half as a graduate. I am pretty sold on the idea really, I just need to find the perfect topic.

    One of the things that helped me make up my mind was the realisation that life is as much about the journey as the destination. (excuse the cheesy platitudes)

    I find my job tedious, boring and generally soul crushing, but if I were to stick at it I would be much better off financially than if I were to pursue further education. However, if I do a PHD, I'll probably enjoy the rest of my 20s a lot more, and end up doing something much more interesting afterwards. (I am assuming you are also in your 20s)

    If you can take the financial hit, and you think you'll enjoy it more than working, I say go for it. You'll thank yourself in 5 years time when you're working on something that really kicks you out of bed in the morning.

    A lot of people go through the process I'm going through when they choose to work straight out of university (get employed in the private sector and promised the world- become a drone- become demotivated and uninspired- retreat back to the warm, loving confines of university). You might need to find this out yourself to be fully convinced, as I wasn't either when I graduated.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
  4. Jul 18, 2008 #3
    Thanks for the input!

    Motivation is always useful.... Researching has always been a real motivator... right now I'm working on my third draft of a paper that hopefully will get published (one can only hope). editing process is a total drag though, talk about beating a subject to death.

    I think, no matter what, I will end up in some type of grad school...
  5. Jul 18, 2008 #4
    If you think it's inevitable that you'll end up in grad school, do it early while you're young(er). You'll get to work on the interesting stuff for more of your life, you'll reap the benefits of the increased wage for longer and your costs are probably lower (it's incredibly difficult to do a PHD if you have a child or mortgage)
  6. Jul 19, 2008 #5


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    DVM/PhD is much like MD/PhD. The requirements for PhD are different than for DVM/MD. One could do both concurrently (a lot of hard work) or overlapped (easier) or sequentially. It would be ideal, logistically speaking, to do both at the same school, but that depends on the quality of each program and the particular emphasis of the DVM/MD and PhD.

    Yep. Welcome to the harsh reality of research.
  7. Jul 20, 2008 #6


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    If you really want to do veterinary research, it's the best way to go. Other options would include just doing a Ph.D. in animal sciences, but since many vet schools require you to have a DVM degree to teach certain courses, it limits the jobs you'd qualify for if your interest is to land at a veterinary school eventually. If that's not your goal, and it's really just research anywhere, the Ph.D. is sufficient. For the record, my Ph.D. is in animal sciences, and I'm currently working and teaching at a med school, so it really doesn't limit you (I got the relevant experience later during my post-doc). We also have a DVM (or two or three) among the faculty teaching our med students.

    One thing that a dual DVM/PhD would make you an extremely well-qualified candidate for would be something like director of animal facilities at a university. Those jobs require DVMs, but having a good research background would mean you understood the research needs much more than someone with just a DVM would and could help maintain facilities in a way that are both beneficial to the animals AND the research being conducted.

    The limiting factor will be the acceptance to the DVM program. It's harder to get into those programs than PhD or MD programs due to the high number of applicants and limited number of spaces. I'd suggest applying both to the dual program and to just the PhD program in case you can't get into vet school. You can apply for both, and that would guarantee a back-up plan in place.
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