MD/PhD Program Courses

Student Affairs Handbook

  • Professionalism and Research Conduct (PARC) | BBS 601

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, MD/PhD, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    This is a required course for all 3rd year Basic Sciences students and all MD/PhD students entering doctoral study but who are not on the CPHR track. The PARC course helps to center our students in areas that are foundational to success in research - responsible data management, management of intellectual property, the ethical use of research subjects, recognizing and resolving conflicts of interest, professionalism in peer review and publishing, engaging mentors and career exploration and planning. The PARC course comprises faculty-led presentations and small group discussions with case studies and workshop material. An on line learning module (CITI training program comprising many case studies) is also included which must be completed before the end of the fall semester. Students required to take the fall PARC course will be block-registered.

    Coordinator: Anthony Carruthers

    Semester Offered: Fall 

    Last Taught: Fall 2015

  • Developing Solutions To Research Problems A - Year One | MDP 740A

    Programs: MD/PhD

    Course Goals: The goal for the course is to engage MD-PhD students in the critical thinking skills required to perform biomedical research, in a manner that enables their intellectual contribution to the University’s academic and research functions. The course will examine specific questions of relevance in medicine, and explore how these questions are addressed from multiple scientific perspectives, (e.g. epidemiological, population based, animal model research, cellular and molecular mechanisms). The course will be mostly based on critical analysis of primary literature. Faculty will provide brief background material in the form of lectures, to enable analysis of the primary research papers. Students will discuss papers in small teams and within the whole group. Each section will culminate with the presentation by students of an original research proposal on the specific question being studied.

    Learning Objectives Upon completion of this course, the MD-PhD students should be able to:

    • Distinguish different approaches used to answer biomedical research questions (e.g. epidemiological, population-based, animal models, cellular and molecular mechanisms).
    • Understand the basic elements of study design in epidemiological and population based studies.
    • Understand the basic elements of study design in animal models
    • Understand some of the basic elements underlying cellular and molecular mechanistic studies.
    • Learn to design rigorous studies at different levels of complexity.
    • Define medically relevant questions of individual interest, which will inform choice of summer research rotations and Thesis research.

    Curricular Expectations

    • Students will attend all scheduled sessions
    • Students will have carefully read and analyzed pre-assigned material
    • Students will actively participate in discussion of primary research papers
    • Students will be a substantial contributor within the team to the design and presentation of an original research proposal at the end of each trimester

    Course Coordinator: Silvia Corvera

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: This course is taught every year

  • Developing Solutions To Research Problems B - Year Two | MDP 740B

    Programs: MD/PhD

    Course Goals: The goal for the course is to expose MD-PhD students to areas of basic and translational research, and to the knowledge skills necessary to conduct research in these areas in a manner that enables their intellectual contribution to the University’s academic and research functions. To meet this goal, the student will work directly with a selected member of the research faculty for a minimum of one hour per week over the course of the semester (15 hours total). The focus and experimental methodologies of the investigators research will be explored in-depth through analysis of the primary literature and participation in individual and/or group discussion.
    Learning Objectives:
    Upon completion of this course, the MD-PhD students should be able to:
    • Identify papers in the primary research literature that relate to specific questions of biomedical relevance, and explain the basis for their relevance.
    • Assess the general biomedical research area, and the clinical and translational implications of the research activity of specific investigators at this institution.
    • Articulate novel questions related to a specific area of active investigation that could be the basis of a viable thesis project.

    Course Coordinator: Silvia Corvera

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every year

  • Developing Solutions To Research Problems C - Year Three | MDP 740C

    Programs: MD/PhD

    Course Goals: The goal for the course is to expose MD-PhD students to areas of basic and translational research, and to the knowledge skills necessary to conduct research in these areas in a manner that enables their intellectual contribution to the University’s academic and research functions. To meet this goal, the student will work directly with a selected member of the research faculty, which can include but is not limited to their PhD thesis mentor, for a minimum of one hour per week over the course of the semester (15 hours total). They will discuss experimental strategies to address questions of basic, clinical, and/or translation importance. These can include, but are not limited to, work that advances the student’s personal research toward publication or presentation.
    Learning Objectives:
    Upon completion of this course, the MD-PhD students should be able to:
    • Propose feasible experimental strategies, including application of appropriate techniques, assessment of potential contingencies and pitfalls, and identification of alternative approaches, for investigation of novel research questions.
    • When presented with two or more reports from the primary literature that reach conflicting conclusions about similar questions, evaluate the evidence and defend the merits of a particular argument. This includes an articulation of the major conclusions from each report, and an identification and evaluation of experiments that support the conclusions.
    • Articulate the contribution of their personal research to knowledge in the broader area of interest.

    Course Coordinator: Silvia Corvera

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every year

  • Introducation to Translational Medicine | MDP 741

    Programs: MD/PhD

    Course Goals: The MD/PhD program stresses the importance of clinical involvement throughout the graduate years.  The first goal of this course is to provide students with a continuous link to clinical skills and to familiarize students with different clinical settings.  Sessions should reinforce clinical skills learned from the first two years of the medical curriculum plus the 16 weeks of clerkship in Care of Family and Care of Adults prior to research studies.  The second goal is to introduce clinicians and potential mentors to the MD/PhD students.  The third goal of this section of the course is to ease the transition back to the clinical years of medical school.  Students are encouraged to work with physician scientists that will help them to get hands on experience with the day-to-day work of physician scientists. 

    Curricular Expectations: The students will engage in clinical experiences for a minimum 15 hours in the fall, spring and summer semesters each. The students can round with physicians on the ward services, attend an outpatient clinic, or participate in supervised freestanding clinics in the local area.  They can also participate in a series of monthly, student organized and clinician led seminars*.  Prior to returning to the clerkships, each student working with a designated clinical preceptor, will perform complete interviews, physical examinations, oral presentations, and write ups on hospitalized patients.  Students will be evaluated by their faculty in these skills and a summary report will be generated at the end of the course.

    Students will enter their preceptor hours into the e*Value system using an “on the fly” evaluation form that will include the date, time, term, preceptor and hours.  This information will be provided by the student by the end of each enrollment term.

    The guidelines for a preceptor are as follows:

    . They must be a faculty member at UMass either Full, Associate or Assistant Professor.
    . They cannot be a resident, fellow or visiting scholar.
    . The clinical sessions can take place at any of the hospital or affiliated hospital campuses and local free clinics as long as they are directly supervised by a UMass faculty member.

    Course Coordinator: Silivia Corvera

    Semester Taught: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every year

  • MD/PhD HIPAA & OSHA Certification | MDP 742

    Programs: MD/PhD

    Certification module of HIPPA and OSHA that students enrolled in the PhD portion of the program and are required to maintain annually (within the first two weeks GSBS fall semester) each year. This is an online WebCt class which can be accessed by each MD/PhD student registered for this course in PSSA. The scores will be monitored by the MD/PhD Program Administrator durng the student's PhD years.

    Course Coordinator: Anne Michelson

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Course is taught every year

  • Preparation for Thesis Research | MDP 743

    Programs: MD/PhD

    Preparation of MD/PhD students to enter GSBS full time research in fall term after completing 16 weeks of clinical clerkships from May through August prior to GSBS start. This includes meetings with the future PI, literature review and, when scheduling permits, attendance at lab meetings. For students who have not yet selected a PI the requirements are to work with MD/PhD and GSBS leadership to target and meet with potential lab rotation mentors during the summer term.

    Course Coordinator: Silvia Corvera

    Semester Offered: Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every year

  • MD/PhD Learning Communities | MDP 744

    Programs: MD/PhD

    Provides information about SoM Learning Communities (LC) including house member lists, Mentor-Mentee assignments, LC student leadership, career planning resources, information for planning clerkships and more. This is important for all the MD/PhD students during both the SoM and GSBS years.

    Course Coordinator: Gyongyi Szabo

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every year

  • MD/PhD Seminar | MDP 800

    Programs: MD/PhD

    This seminar series is a semi-monthly event, organized by the MD/PhD students, and participation is required for all years in the program. The seminar assists students in developing communications competency through these presentations. Each session, two upper level graduate students present their research project. A moderator will maintain the 20 minute timeframe and facilitate the discussion.

    Course Coordinator: Anne Michelson

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

    Last Taught: Taught every semester

  • MD/PhD Graduate Research for Students Post-Dissertation | MDP 990

    Programs: MD/PhD

    Students enrolled in the MD/PHD Program who have completed their requirements for the PhD degree will register for this GSBS course each semester while completing their School of Medicine requirements. Students enrolled in this course will participate in and assist with the teaching/evaluation of the MDP Seminar course (MDP800). This course is the MD/PhD equivalent of the GSBS course - GR900, Graduate Research. All students must be in good standing in the MD/PhD program to pass.

    Course Coordinator: Anne Michelson

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every year

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