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MD/PhD Program Courses

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

    Programs: MD/PhD

    Goals:  This course is designed to help students discern study design approaches appropriate to the area of inquiry, consider biological variability in study design, prospectively design and select valid data collection instruments, prospectively identify appropriate statistical methodologies and alternative analytical approaches, identify data sharing and publication strategies, accurately communicate facts and interpret results, and fairly acknowledge specific contributions to research studies. As part of the course, students are expected to achieve a minimum competency in the programing language “R”.  These course activities will be conducted in a manner that enables the student’s intellectual contribution to the University’s academic and research functions.


    •Review the elements of experimental design, tools, and standards

    •Provide an overview of quality procedures for biomedical research, including authentication procedures

    •Review reporting guidelines used for manuscript preparation

    •Present a workflow that promotes transparency including detailed record keeping and data management

    •Demonstrate understanding of how to conduct reproducibility/replication studies and effectively communicate results

    •Basic of downloading data and essential dataset manipulation

    •Basics of descriptive visualizing data once cleaned

    •Basics of most common statistical analyses

    •Basics of visualization and graphing

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

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

    Programs: MD/PhD

    Goals: Facilitate application of standards and requirements for rigor and responsibility and research as applied to the student’s potential thesis project.  In coordination with identified Thesis advisor, the student will elaborate thoughts on questions/problems to be analyzed, approaches to hypothesis generation, strategy for hypothesis testing, and strategy for data storage, analysis, and reporting.  These course activities will be conducted in a manner that enables the student’s intellectual contribution to the University’s academic and research functions.


    •Identify the question or problem that is the topic of the research

    •To enumerate current hypotheses related to the research question

    •To justify the need for further hypothesis generation

    •To explain how specific hypotheses will be derived from hypothesis generating approach

    •To define the timeline for hypothesis generation

    •To describe specific assays to test specific hypothesis

    •To describe and justify statistical tests that will be used

    •To escribe how reproducibility will be ensured

    •To describe where and how data will be stored

    •To describe anticipated timelines for reporting and publication

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

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

    Programs: MD/PhD

    Goals: The goal for the course is to continue to support MD/PhD student connection to research activities during their Core Clinical Experiences (CCE).  This will allow the student to conduct research in a manner that enables their intellectual contribution to the University’s academic and research functions.  The second goal is to support students in preparing to apply to research intensive residency programs.  These activities will involve a minimum of one hour per week over the course of the semester (15 hours total). 


    •Propose an approach to investigate novel research questions arising from their clinical observations

    •Continue interactions with Thesis lab to conclude potential in progress research publications

    •In consultation with MD/PhD mentors, explore potential areas of specialization that will be compatible with long term research career goals

    •In consultation with MD/PhD mentors and Thesis advisor, work on Personal Statement appropriate for application to residency programs

    Curricular Expectations: The student will develop a presentation appropriate for the requirement for the Capstone Scholarship Discovery Program.

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

  • Introduction to Translational Medicine | MDP 741

    Programs: MD/PhD

    Goals: The MD/PhD program stresses the importance of maintaining clinical involvement during students’ dissertation research.  The first goal of this course is to allow students to maintain clinical skills in a variety of clinical settings.  The second goal is to help students identify an appropriate specialty in which to pursue residency training.  Sessions should reinforce clinical skills learned during the first two years of medical school, as well as during the first 16 weeks of Core Clinical Experiences (CCE). 

    Curricular Expectations: Students will engage in a minimum 15 hours of clinical experiences during each of the fall, spring, and summer terms. Students will also participate in the Physician Scientist Forum, which is held weekly on Monday evenings.  Students will be evaluated by their designated Learning Community MD/PhD mentor at the end of each term.

    Prior to the end of each term during their dissertation research, students will record their clinical hours in the OASIS system using a dedicated form that will include the date, time, term, preceptor, and number of hours. 

    Preceptors must have a faculty appointment at UMass Chan Medical School, and clinical sessions must take place at a facility that is affiliated with UMass Chan Medical School.  The student’s designated Learning Community MD/PhD mentor must approve the choice of preceptor.

    Semester Taught: Fall, Spring, Summer

  • MD/PhD HIPAA and OSHA Certification | MDP 742

    Programs: MD/PhD

    Goal: To maintain HIPAA and OHSA qualifications while enrolled in the research portion of the combined degree program.

    Curricular Expectations: Complete the certification module of HIPPA and OSHA online course/assessment in Black Board Learn annually (within the first two weeks of the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences fall semester) each year. This is an online class that can be accessed by each MD/PhD student registered for this course in PeopleSoft.  The scores will be monitored by the MD/PhD Program Administrator during the student's PhD years.

    Semester Offered: Fall

  • Preparation for Thesis Research | MDP 743

    Programs: MD/PhD

    Goals: Preparation of MD/PhD students to enter Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences full-time research in fall term after completing 16 weeks of clinical clerkships from May through August prior to Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences 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 Advisors and Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences leadership to target and meet with potential lab rotation mentors during the summer term.

    Curricular Expectations: For students who have selected an advisor:  Attend meetings with intended mentor, literature review, and attendance at lab meetings.  Work on development of life skills needed to balance clinical and research obligations. 

    For students who have not selected a thesis mentor they should be meeting with potential rotations, talking to MD/PHD advisor and attending research seminars from potential labs.  Outcome should be a signed lab rotation form submitted to the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences by late August in time to start the rotation day one of Fall term.

    Semester Offered: Summer

  • MD/PhD Physician Scientist Forum | MDP 800

    Programs: MD/PhD


    •To foster skills that MD/PhD students need to be maximally competitive for research intensive residency programs.

    •To guide MD/PhD students regarding postgraduate training opportunities through interactions with residents, fellows, and faculty.

    •To highlight connections between basic and clinical science through the presentation and discussion of patient cases.

    •To expose postgraduate trainees to research conducted by MD/PhD students and promote opportunities for potential collaboration.

    Curricular Expectations: This seminar is offered weekly for 1.5 hours every Monday evening.  It is organized by MD/PhD students, and participation is required of students in all years of the MD/PhD program who are not otherwise scheduled for clinical rotations.

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer