MD-PhD Program Structure
The duration of the program typically will be seven years.
During the summer before entry into medical school, the students will attend an orientation program to introduce the faculty and available research opportunities. An eight-week research rotation will be conducted with a selected member of the participating graduate faculty. This (and subsequent, if needed) research rotations familiarize the student with specific faculty and their fields of expertise; usually, one of these faculty will be chosen as the graduate students graduate (PhD) advisor.
Click here to view a summary of the entire program.
The first two academic years will be spent as a medical student. Phase I (7 months) introduces Core Biochemical Knowledge, including Development and Structure of the Human Body (Gross, Microscopic, Embryological and Radiological Anatomy) and Basic Cellular Functions (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Immunology, Introduction to Pathology). Medicine as a Profession, Clinical Decision Making and Epidemiology extend between both Phases I and II. Phase II (months 8-20) includes courses in systems pathophysiology (Physiology, Pharmacology, Microbiology and Pathology), and a two month period for a second rotation in a lab of the selected graduate program in the summer after the first year.
During these years, for most of the graduate programs, the student will also attend a graduate seminar course which meets once per week and provides continuing in depth introduction to the chosen graduate discipline, in addition to social and intellectual contact with the other graduate students and faculty.
If possible, the student will choose a graduate advisor by the end of Phase II. If necessary, the summer after Phase II may be used for another laboratory rotation, prior to choosing an advisor.
The third year will be spent taking advanced basic science courses and conducting research. The specific courses to be taken will depend on the graduate program.
The duration of the dissertation research may vary but typically will be completed in years 3-5 and, if needed, a portion of year 6. The PhD dissertation will be completed and defended prior to returning to clinical studies, and the degree conferred at the end of the semester in which all degree requirements of the graduate school department are completed.
During years 6 and 7, the student will complete 18 months of required clinical rotations (Phase III of the clinical curriculum), which includes internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics, women's health, neurology, psychiatry, radiology, anesthesiology, family and community medicine, and emergency medicine. Four months of elective time will be spent in other clinical experiences or may be used (during the fall of year 6) for completion of the graduate studies. This part of the schedule is tailored to the individual student with the approval of the graduate advisor, MD/PhD Program Director and the Associate Deans for Medical Education and Student Services.