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Ph.D. Vs M.D – What is the difference?
Ph.D vs M.D, what to choose? And why not have both in form of Ph.D.-M.D dual degree. Ph.D. and MD. are both advanced degrees, and MD.s and Ph. D.s both are doctoral degrees, Then what is the difference?
Well, for starters, M.D. stands for Doctor of Medicine, and Ph.D. stands for Doctor of philosophy. While MD refers to a higher degree in medicine, a Ph.D. is a doctorate in various fields, like the sciences and the arts.
M.D. is the title of a medical doctor. It is earned after completing at least one undergraduate degree, a four-year study at a medical school, and a residency program, thereby learning to diagnose a patient’s symptoms and offer treatment.
The study program for an M.D. degree typically combines academic training with advanced clinical experience through hands-on practice in a healthcare setting, such as hospitals, clinics, medical centers, or nursing homes.
In some countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland, India, and Pakistan, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) is the degree required to practice medicine and is considered equivalent to an M.D.
There are many Doctor of Medicine degrees offered by leading universities and other educational institutions around the world. M.D can specialize in general practice, surgical medicine, physiotherapy, gynecology, cardiology, oncology, psychiatry, etc.
On the other hand, in the comparison between Ph.D vs M.D, Ph.D. is completely research-oriented. It is generally the highest level of degree a student can achieve. A Ph.D. is an academic/professional degree that usually qualifies the degree holder to teach their chosen subject at the graduate level or to work in a research position in a specific field.
The specific requirements of Ph.D. degrees vary depending on where you are and what subject you’re studying. But all Ph.D. programs generally require students to do original research and write a dissertation. Students must also complete a ‘viva voce’ or oral defense of their dissertation. You can get a Ph.D. in many subjects ranging from law to anthropology and from computer science to mythological studies.
Unlike the predetermined curriculum and academic calendars of most M.D. programs, a Ph.D. program’s duration is more flexible. Traditionally, a Ph.D. involves two to four years of study, in which the student completes a substantial piece of original research presented as a thesis or dissertation.
In the comparison of Ph.D vs M.D, one can say that PhDs advance knowledge, whereas M.D.s apply the existing knowledge. In simple words, a doctor with an MD. is one to whom you would go to treat any physical or mental ailment. In contrast, a doctor with a Ph.D. would be one who has done their research and who likely knows the latest and most significant developments in their particular area of interest.
These are some differences in comparison of Ph.D vs M.D. But why choose? It is possible to have both at same time. In some countries you can have Ph.D-M.D dual degree at once.
Ph.D- M.D dual degree
It is possible to be both an M.D. and a Ph.D. Some med schools offer programs in which you can achieve both simultaneously. Ph.D.-M.D dual degree programs are seven to eight-year training programs that educate and prepare physician-scientists.
There are four possible pathways to become a physician-scientist and earn Ph.D-M.D dual degree:
- Complete MD training and then conduct comprehensive research through fellowship training.
- Complete MD training and then return to graduate school to earn a Ph.D. degree.
- Complete Ph.D. training and then enter medical school to earn an M.D. degree.
- Work towards both degrees simultaneously in a dual MD-PhD degree program.
Within the field of medicine, whether you decide to study for a Ph.D. in medicine or opt for an M.D. qualification, the choice will naturally have a significant impact on your career and work life. Those with an M.D. find jobs in clinical roles; they diagnose and interact with patients. However, if you’re looking to take your career in a research-based direction, you should go for a Ph.D. But why not choose both and have a Ph.D-M.D dual degree?
To know about different levels of degrees please read also: Four levels of degrees