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MD/PhD Program | Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) Overview

Highlights of the MD/PhD Program

  • Choice of Basic Biomedical Sciences or Clinical & Population Health research paths
  • Integrated curriculum with multiple MD-PhD specific courses
  • Highly flexible program, tailored to individual student’s needs and interests
  • Pool of over 350 thesis advisors
  • Structured longitudinal mentorship by physician-scientists through entire program
  • Structured Individual Development Plan (IDP) serving as a tailored compass to guide  the student’s progress, and which is reviewed and updated periodically by student and mentor(s) 
  • Extensive career guidance
  • Monthly seminars and workshops by and for students
  • Annual program research retreat
  • Weekly Physician Scientist Forums attended by MD-PhD students at all levels of training 
  • Grant writing and submission as outcome of PhD Qualifying Examination
  • Strong formal student leadership
  • Strong student government and structured peer mentoring 

Graduate Research Program Choices for PhD Study

MD/PhD students select a thesis mentor from a broad range of faculty and disciplines across two research paths:

  1. Basic Biomedical Sciences (BBS).  Although the graduate school has multiple programs such as Cancer Biology or Neuroscience, it also has an Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP), which we encourage most students interested in the BBS path to follow.  IGP is highly flexible and allows tailoring to MD-PhD student needs. Formal course requirements for MD-PhD students consist of MDP 750A and MDP 750B (below) and only two advanced electives. IGP students may also participate in advanced courses, journal clubs, and other activities offered by the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences programs.  A multitude of elective courses are available. Selections are customized to each student and are chosen after discussion between the student and their thesis advisor. 
  2. Clinical and Population Health Research (CPHR). This path prefers to admit applicants with a master’s level degree in quantitative health sciences, Still, not all MD-PhD students who pursue the CPHR path have had master’s level training, so additional courses may be required. These courses on fundamental research design and analysis, which include CTS 602A and CTS 602B Epidemiology and CTS 603A and CTS 603B Biostatistics, are at a level beyond that of typical master’s level training. However, this requirement may be waived by the Director of the CPHR program (Kate Lapane, PhD).  More advanced courses in statistics, epidemiology, health services research, and psychometrics are offered to graduate students in the CPHR program. MD-PhD students, whether enrolled in the BBS or the CPHR path, may choose to take these as electives. Alternatively, an MD-PhD student may learn this material through individualized tutorials with their thesis advisor, as listed in their Individual Development Plan (IDP).

Program Directors

Our Students 

Ameer Elaimy


MD/PhD Student, Ameer Elaimy, featured in LabTV video: Curious about how the environment outside the cell promotes cancerous growth.

Aurian Garcia-Gonsalves


MD/PhD Student, Aurian Garcia-Gonsalves, featured in LabTV video: Curious about what happens when gene regulation goes wrong

Ashley Mathew


MD/PhD Student, Ashley Mathew, featured in LabTV video: Curious about Drug resistance in Hepatitis C virus.