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MD/PhD Curriculum

  • Yellow Shaded areas are basic science periods.
  • Blue Shaded areas are clinical periods.
  • Green Shaded areas indicate months devoted to graduate research and the PhD Program


MEI - Medical Evidence and Inquiry
FBP - Foundations of Biopsychosocial Practice
P - Pharmacology
DPT - Disease Process and Therapeutics
WH - Women's Health
DOC - Disorders of Childhood
IHS - Improving Health Systems
SI - Successful Interning

Medical School: Basic Sciences

studying the human brain

A thorough discussion of the medical school curriculum can be found on the Medical Education page. In the first year, MSTP students participate in the full medical school curriculum and all programmatic events, including dinner seminars and the annual retreat. In addition, students participate in the Scientific Reasoning in Medicine course during the first two years, awarding two elective credits toward the medical school clinical curriculum. A laboratory rotation prior to beginning first year is optional, but all MSTP students complete a 6-8 week laboratory rotation between first and second year. After the second-year MSTP students complete the second phase curriculum for program requirements, including Primary Care Clerkships and comprehensive assessment, students study full-time for Step 1 of the USMLE.

Graduate School

After Step 1 of the USMLE, MSTP students may complete additional rotations over the summer. Prior to enrollment in graduate school courses in the fall, students must select their Ph.D. program. Normally, students select a laboratory before matriculating into their graduate program of choice.

Individual Ph.D. requirements vary by program (for a list of programs, visit the Research page), but dual credit for the first two years of medical school basic sciences minimizes graduate school course requirements. All students take the NIH-required Ethics in Research course during fall of the first year. Typically, qualifying exams are taken in year 2 of graduate school, and most students defend in 3–5 years.

Throughout graduate school, MSTP students continue to participate in dinner seminars, annual retreats, and other programmatic events. Students also complete 2–4 Longitudinal Clerkships (LCs) during graduate school (see Clinical Experiences).

Scientific Reasoning in Medicine (SRM)Seminar

The Scientific Reasoning in Medicine (SRM) course consists of a two-part journal club held one or two times each month throughout the academic year. The purposes of these sessions are to keep MSTP students engaged in basic science and to encourage students to consider translational implications of research during the first two years of medical school. In addition, SRM exposes MSTP students to potential research mentors. If you would like to be considered as a Guest Speaker for SRM and/or would like to suggest a faculty member as a Guest Speaker for SRM please email

Medical School: Clinical Clerkships

MSTP students return to medical school upon advisement by their Advisory Dean and the Program Director, typically following dissertation defense and receiving their Ph.D. The return to medical school is highly flexible and is facilitated by LCs during graduate school and elective credit for LCs and research. Many students also begin third year by taking an inpatient elective to ease the transition. Otherwise, MSTP clinical clerkship requirements are equivalent to requirements for medical students and include the opportunity to conduct research during electives. MSTP students stay involved in program events as available during these years and are congratulated on their residency match at our annual graduation brunch.