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Fast track medicine for physicists

  1. Aug 28, 2006 #1
    I'm about to start my third year of an MPhys degree at Oxford. I'm a very serious student and am predicted to get a good first, but I've recently become more interested in becoming a doctor (and possibly doing medical research) than just pursuing a purely scientific career in physics. I'm slightly worried that my physics degree (whilst being very interesting) might not really be of much use when I change direction (or at least probably won't be as much use as a biochemistry/biology/chemistry etc. degree) I'm trying to choose my courses in the last two years to try and benefit me as much in my medical career as much as possible. There are a couple of issues:

    1) There are a couple of topics that look as though they might relate to a medical degree e.g
    Minor options in 3rd year: Medical and environmental physics
    Introduction to Biophysics
    Major option in 4th year: Biological Physics
    These could either give me an introduction to what I might be studying in the future, or it might just end up being a repetition. If I'm going to learn the same stuff in more detail later there might not be any point in taking these.

    2) If I was to go into e.g medical research later on, what sort of undergraduate physics knowledge might be useful? I have no idea if e.g solid state or fluid mechanics is useful to a medical researcher.

    3) Does anyone know of any good forums for people wanting advice for medical careers/research?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2006 #2
    This forum, although geard primarily toward U.S. med students, may be of some use to you. http://forums.studentdoctor.net/" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  4. Aug 29, 2006 #3


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    Do you want to be a medical doctor, ie. work in a hospital, local practice... or do you want to do medical research?

    For the former, you must have to get a medical degree?!? - I doubt there's anyway to fast track someone through this.

    For the latter, you don't need to have medical qualifications. A couple of examples: a dynamical systems background can allow you to research, eg., respiratory systems, drug delivery... a background in data manipulation can be used to analyse scans...

    I have known people with applied math backgrounds, but no medical qualifications, who work with proper :wink: doctors in hospitals.
  5. Aug 29, 2006 #4
    I think there's been a bit of a misunderstanding. In the UK graduates of pretty much any discipline can take a standard medical degree (i.e MBBS and BChir) in just 4 years, instead of six. This is known as "fast track" medicine, and is what I'm planning to do. This would definitely allow me to qualify as a proper doctor i.e I could eventually become a consultant etc. I was just thinking that if I choose to do medical research after my MBBS, which physics options are useful?
  6. Aug 29, 2006 #5


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    I doubt any particular modules would get you onto a fast-track course more easily than any others. Go with the personal interest thing for your modules, and good luck getting onto fast-track. My housemate, an experienced optometry graduate, got rejected from fast-track and has just finished her first year of medicine.

    Getting some medical experience would count for more than any particular uni modules; do some voluntary work in a nursing home, or perhaps work with St John's Ambulance or something.

    Oh, and most medicine degrees here are five years now, the sixth being the start of your JHO stint.
  7. Aug 30, 2006 #6


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    You're still a bit vague over this "medical research" thing.

    Do fully qualified doctors/surgeons/consultants have the time, or indeed the knowledge, required to partake in independent research?
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