I usually regret waking up for an 8:00 am lecture, but September 21 was an
exception, Dr. Richard McGee, Associate Dean of Admissions for the Mayo
Graduate School visited the UA to discuss options for graduate school and to
introduce students to Mayo.
Dr. McGee began by explaining the differences between MD, PhD and MD/PhD
programs. He focused on the value of becoming a PhD or MD/PhD for individuals
planning to follow research careers. Dr. McGee noted that becoming an MD/PhD is
an option to consider because the combined medical and research education creates
a wider scope of knowledge and experience than an MD or PhD degree alone, and the
education is usually free because of generous grants from the NSF and NIH. A
major downside of becoming a MD/PhD, however, is the time commitment involved.
Dr. McGee admitted that while most students at Mayo finish their combined degrees
in eight years, several are held back for years longer because their doctoral
research moves slowly and does not coordinate with classes for the medical
degree. Students start with one or two years of medical courses, complete their
PhD research, and then finish their MD. If they complete their doctoral research
after medical school classes have started for the year, they have to wait until
the next year to continue their medical education.
Following his general graduate school seminar, Dr. McGee introduced us to Mayo.
The clinic has very modern facilities in Rochester, Minnesota; Scottsdale,
Arizona; and Jacksonville, Florida; and good funding means that Mayo scientists
are seldom constrained by the cost of equipment and materials to do their
research. PhD students at Mayo are fully funded by the clinic, and medical
students from Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota pay in-state tuition --
approximately $15,000 less than the already modest out of state price. Mayo's
medical curriculum also differs from that of many other medical schools, as even
first year students spend their afternoons in clinical rotations and students
later spend at least one semester doing basic or clinical research. Mayo also
offers a master's degree in research for medical students who wish to be involved
with research but not become a PhD. Finally, Mayo's medical school is very
selective. Only 42 students are chosen every year, up to 6 whom are MD/PhD
students. Graduate and medical students study at Mayo's Rochester campus, and
Dr. McGee tells us that while the temperatures are often sub-zero, "It's a dry
After the morning seminar, Dr. McGee held four 30-minute meetings with individual
students. During my meeting, I found him to be friendly and very approachable.
We talked about the Mayo philosophy, conducted a mock medical school interview,
and chatted about community development in rural India before adjourning for the
Dr. McGee ended his visit on a more informal note by accompanying five UBRPers to
For more information on Mayo Clinic and Graduate School, see their website www.mayo.edu/. You can e-mail Dr. McGee at email@example.com
Mark Fernandez, UBRPer in Dr. Szivek's, Orthopedic Research Lab