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MD/PhD Program (MSTP)

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) funded MD/PhD program offers exceptional training opportunities for those interested in pursuing careers as physician/scientists. The program combines the curriculum of the T.H. Chan School of Medicine and the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences to provide a structured foundation of diverse topics with the flexibility necessary to meet the needs of the individual student. 

The goal of the MD/PhD program is to provide highly motivated students the opportunities to develop skills and experience in biomedical investigation and the practice of medicine. This is a rigorous and challenging program, and upon successful completion the student is awarded both the PhD in biomedical sciences and the MD. We train physician-scientists who will make significant contributions to health care and who will become the leaders of academic medicine.

Program Director: Catarina Kiefe, MD, PhD

Highlights of the MD/PhD Program

  • Choice of either Basic & Biomedical Sciences or Clinical & Population Health Research
  • Integrated curriculum
  • Pool of more than 350 thesis advisors
  • Mentorship by physician-scientists
  • Annual off-site program research retreat
  • Monthly seminars and workshops by and for students
  • Grant writing and fellowship opportunities
  • Student Advisory Committee participation
  • Career guidance


Curriculum and Timeline

Upon matriculation, first-year students are assigned a MD/PHD faculty advisor who will closely follow, guide and monitor their progress throughout their years in the program. Students begin the program by completing a mandatory lab rotation prior to the first year of medical school. During the first two years, students complete the integrated T.H. Chan School of Medicine curriculum with emphasis on problem solving and small group learning. In addition, students enroll in an MD/PhD course, Developing Solutions to Research Problems, which focuses on the basic science of the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences core curriculum. This first-year course facilitates integration between the medical and graduate school curricula and the selection of a thesis lab.

During the summer between the first and second year, students select a rotation laboratory and continue to participate in Developing Solutions to Research Problems. They also complete the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences course, Communicating Science. After the second year of medical school, students complete a 16 week clerkship rotation in Care of Family and Care of Adults before entering the lab of their selected Thesis Advisor. The Step One Boards are taken between the end of second year and the start of the clerkship.

Each semester in the PhD years, students enroll in a clinical skills course. This course stresses the importance of clinical involvement throughout the graduate years. Additionally, all students in the program meet monthly for the MD/PhD Seminar which provides an opportunity to learn about the research of and reconnect with fellow MD/PhD colleagues.

Upon successful completion of all requirements for the PhD degree, the defense and submission of the PhD thesis, students join the third and fourth-year medical program for clinical training. Clinical rotations and electives are tailored to match students’ academic needs and career goals and to fulfill the requirements for the MD degree. Other requirements include an Advanced Biomedical/Translational project and a Senior Capstone course. Students typically complete the program in 7-8 years.

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All Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences courses are listed on the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences website. Alternatively, you can view courses offered within each program by exploring individual Programs of Study.