Can I start an MD/PhD Program at an Older Age

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Session 8

In this podcast, Ryan and Rich take a plunge into the forums over at where they pull a question and deliver the answers right on to you. Today, they discuss about the issue on age especially when considering to take an MD/PhD program.

OldPreMeds Question of the Week: MD/PhD possible at age 40?

Embarking on a premed journey at 40 years old and planning to start his postbac courses this Fall at a 4-year college. If he started medschool at 43 with a 7-year MD/PhD program plus a 4-year residency, he won’t be working until 54. With a PhD in Social Science discipline and NPH and working at public health and related fields. Is it worth considering going back and doing the MD/PhD at their age and with the education already gained?

Here are the insights from Ryan & Rich:

More training involved

Age does not impact medical admissions. However, MD/PhD is a little bit different as it’s geared towards biomedical research, bench research, wet research, and is perceived to be a more conservative, disciplined group of people so this involves more training.

Difficult program

Geared towards hard core research (laboratory, in-depth scientific research) and applicants who apply for these have a significant amount of in-depth research (many of them have original or near-original work) so they are highly sought-after spots because they are supported (paid for completely through the medical science training program and monthly stipend)

Other things to consider

  • Long time in school
  • Many people who do medical research only have an MD
  • People who do clinical/ lab research or more geared towards the social aspects of medicine, an MD is more than enough a degree to do that with.

It is going to be a difficult road for a non-traditional student without significant research background to get into an MD/PhD program.

Major takeaway from this episode

While you can have it, what else are you going to give up in order to get it? This is a personal choice you have to make for yourself, for your partners, and your family.

Links and Other Resources

Learn more about Jessica’s story who received 10 acceptances to medical school at

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Email Dr. Ryan Gray at or connect with him on Twitter @medicalschoolhq.