During my undergraduate career I was found guilty of academic dishonesty and suspended for 1 semester. Because of this, I was obviously distressed and reevaluated my position as a student. After much thinking, I enrolled abroad in a non-US medical university (using my high school and pre-medicine credentials) and graduated with the US equivalent of a 3.4 GPA and a medical degree. I then returned to my undergraduate university and finished my Bachelor's (BSc) degree with a 3.6 GPA.

I have extensive research experience throughout both my undergraduate career and medical school career abroad without publications. This research experience during my undergrad includes being accepted into a competitive summer research fellowship (before the institutional action took place). I also have worked in 2 different countries (including 1 developing country) as a physician for around a year before finishing off my Bachelor's in the US as mentioned above. The short practice time is only due to my aspirations of pursuing a PhD.

I have always wanted to pursue an MD/PhD before the institutional action took place. I enjoy research and aspire to combine my research interests with my practice on a global scale through an organization I helped found during my undergrad career. It was only due to the ridiculous choice I made that ended in my suspension that caused me to deviate from this dream and pursue only PhD.

Assuming I score above average on the GRE with excellent LoRs, what are my chances of being accepted into any sort of PhD or graduate program? At this point, I am not being selective of any university I wish to attend. I also understand this may be an extraordinary case and would require much thought with respect to my chances of being admitted. This is an especially tough and stressful time for me and I am thankful for your advice.

EDIT: I am interested in biological science or biomedical science as possible routes for my PhD (specifically, cancer biology).

  • Do you require funding? What countries are you interested in and is does you MD allow you to practice medics in that country? Finally, are you looking for a clinical PhD or just something related to medicine.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 18:33
  • I am only looking toward US PhD programs. I would require funding as I have no real income now. I am very interested in cancer genomics/cancer biology and have previous research experience in that area. I am not licensed to practice in the US.
    – londintime
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 18:41
  • Any thoughts or ideas?
    – londintime
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 22:19

1 Answer 1


The crucial question is whether your academic transcript will indicate the expulsion/suspension. If not, then I don't think it should matter to your graduate applications at all.

If the transcript does indicate this, then you are going to have to address the issue in your cover letter. You are going to have to say how sorry you are and how much you've learned your lesson. I, personally, wouldn't hold an undergrad mistake against you, as long as I saw that you weren't likely to do it again. Others might feel differently, however you can still try.

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