Which degree should I choose?
There are two options available for clinicians who wish to pursue further qualifications in medicine:
- Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
- Doctor of Medicine (Research) - MD(Res)
In both degrees:
However, a key difference is the degree structure:
- A PhD is often lab-based and a fellowship will typically last three years;
- An MD(Res) lasts a minimum of two years (or part-time equivalent) and combines a student's research with clinical practice. The expectation is that the MD(Res) thesis is submitted within three years.
Also, consider your career ambitions. The following are general guidelines and not a definitive distinction. The final choice will depend on your individual circumstances and the project itself.
- If you’re looking to take your career into a laboratory research-based direction, then you may wish to study on a PhD programme. These three-year fellowships are intended to develop the applicant’s potential to pursue a career as an academic clinician.
- If you’re looking to progress your career in a clinical role, using your specialist knowledge to diagnose and interact with patients, then an MD(Res) may be the best option for you. These research programmes provide clinical specialists the opportunity to work in a unique multidisciplinary environment alongside world leaders in cancer research and clinicians from The Royal Marsden
There are two main routes to applying. Firstly we have a number of clinical PhD fellowships through our ICR and Imperial Clinical Academic Training Partnership, funded by Cancer Research UK. These prestigious fellowships aim to support the training of future clinical academic leaders in cancer research. Other PhD opportunities for clinicians will be advertised on our funding options for clinical research fellowships page.
You can also register for a PhD or MD(Res) outside of this process as long as you have funding which covers the duration of the programme, meet the entry requirements and successfully complete the pre-registraton process. More detail can be found under How to apply.