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About Dominique Geoffrion

Dominique Geoffrion is a second-year MD-PhD student at McGill University. Her PhD research is in experimental surgery and aims at uncovering and targeting functional mediators of glaucoma development following corneal transplantation surgery in order to save patients from irreversible blindness. Prior to medical school, Dominique Geoffrion completed a bachelor of science with honors in biomedical sciences from the Université de Montréal.


In this chapter, the MD-PhD application process is presented, including the time line and interviews for both the MD and PhD programs. The process is lengthy, and it requires planning, time, and dedication. Nonetheless, it allows applicants to reflect on both their accomplishments and hardships. The first steps of the process, positioning yourself for a successful application and building your application, were addressed in Chapters 3 and 6, respectively. I particularly recommend you review Chapter 6. Although the advice there is aimed for students who are earlier in the process than you are, no application process is completely linear. This chapter includes a review of the components of an application, provides my own perspective on them, and aims to create the most polished product possible for you to send in. It is crucial to be aware of not only what is expected in terms of application requirements but also of how the process unfolds throughout the months prior to admission. As a student currently in the second year of the MD, CM, and PhD program at McGill University and in the first year of my PhD, I have recently been through the application process myself. I hope to shine some light on the key elements of applying to a combined MD and PhD degree program.


  • Get involved in research early on and as much as possible, aiming for diversity (papers, theses, oral presentations, poster presentations).

  • Work on your application documents a lot, and ask other people to read them and give you constructive feedback about what to edit and what to value most.

  • Ensure a balance for each category that is being evaluated by the university, rather than trying to be a stellar applicant in one category.

  • Understand and practice the interview format used at your university of choice, as it can throw you off easily even if you are well prepared or a naturally gifted public speaker.

  • Do not get discouraged if your application is not successful the first time; understand the reasons, change your application documents, and reapply every time with your head held high.

The Milestones of the Application Process

Applying to a medical program can be a daunting task with many variables to consider. An application should be competitive in both the MD and the PhD applicant pools. It may require applying to each program either separately or together, depending on the university. The MD application component ...

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