This writing will be helpful for MBBS students or Doctors who wants to pursue his/her Masters or PhD in USA. There are also lots of Engineer brothers/sisters who are already pursuing Masters or PhD in USA and their spouse or siblings are doctors, you can also have a look in this article.
I am a medical doctor, passed MBBS from Rangpur Medical College in 2014 and I am going to start my PhD in Biological Science (Microbiology & Immunology) at University of Louisiana, Lafayette, USA from this August 2018 with Graduate Teaching Assistantship. Many MBBS students and doctors have recently knocked me to know about the detailed procedure for Doctors. The procedure is pretty same like students of engineering and other life science background. But we have some disadvantage like lack of research experience. So I think a article will be helpful for many doctors. I am not writing about the preparation for the GRE, TOEFL or IELTS here. You will get tons of files about these on the file section of this group.
I can assume that you have already learnt that, to practice Medicine in USA, Canada or Australia, you have to appear particular license exam for these countries (USMLE, AMC etc.)
These exams are time consuming, expensive and moreover after passing these exams getting residency position at hospitals is not confirmed. So, you want to choose an alternative and more secured pathway. Pursuing Masters or PhD is a great alternative for you. But for that you should have some degree of passion for research. If you don’t have any passion for research, then this pathway is not for you.
Although there are lots of medical students and doctors who are really interested to pursue Masters or PhD in USA but did not get proper guideline. One of the main reasons for that is we don’t have this kind of trend in our Medical Colleges. Most of the engineer students usually get this information in their 3rd or 4th year of student life. Getting admission and full funding for medical doctors is little bit difficult than engineers or other life science students, because we don’t have any exposure to research in our whole MBBS life. And without some degree of research experience its really difficult to get admission and funding. Thats why some doctors first try to pursue this pathway then ultimately get hopeless and stop pursuing their dream.
So, here I am giving you some tips and strategies, so that you can ultimately be successful (assuming that you have a decent profile). As a Medical doctors you have mainly 2 tracks for higher studies. One is Public health (there are lots of branches in Public Health like Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Health Management etc.) another is Biological sciences (Cell & Molecular Biology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Immunology, Neuroscience, Cancer Biology etc.).
First I am talking about Public Health studies. As a medical doctor its easy for us to get admission in MPH programs in USA universities even without any particular research experience (if you have decent CGPA, GRE and TOEFL scores). And for that you don’t have to contact any professors during your whole application process. Because most of the MPH admissions are decided centrally. But the problem is getting full funding is nearly impossible in MPH. You can get different scholarship that may cover 25-100% of your tuition fee. If you are capable of self funding then this will be the most suitable pathway for you (Assuming that you and your parents have already visited many developed countries and even USA, so most probably you will get the F1 visa easily). Even you can get full TA or RA after your 1st semester of your MPH. But if you are from middle class family like me, then this path is not for you. Even if you can show required money in your bank statements, most likely you will not get the Visa.
Then what can you do if you want to pursue higher studies in Public Health? The best option for you is to complete MPH here in Bangladesh (BSMMU, NIPSOM, BRAC, NSU, AIUB, State University) and then apply for PhD in USA universities. During your MPH try to maintain good CGPA, involve youself in quality researches, write some scholarly article and publish them in good journals. This will strengthen your profile and ultimately help you to get admission and full funding.
Is there any other option to pursue higher study in Public Health and getting full funding without doing MPH here in Bangladesh? Yes. There are. Then you have to get pretty good score in GRE (315+) and apply to medium to low ranked public health school for PhD. I know one medical doctor who has gotten Fellowship (prestigious full funding) in Public Health PhD program at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville without doing MPH. He was working at icddr’b as a Project Research Physician.
That’s it for today. In Part-2, I will discuss about biological science track option, how to get research experience, and finally how to get reply from Biological Science professor by writing an appealing email.
All the best!