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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 essentially full time to the PhD Program

Curriculum Map image for MSTP, linked to PDF


MMI - Mastering Medical Information
P - Pharmacology
CA - Comprehensive Examination
SI - Successful Interning (1 wk) and Commencement
* Orientation to Year 3 (1 wk)
POD - Process of Discovery

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. A laboratory rotation prior to beginning first year is optional, but all MSTP students complete an 8–10 week laboratory rotation between first and second year. Second-year MSTP students complete the second year curriculum with accommodations for program requirements. After spring break and comprehensive assessment, students study full-time for Step 1 of the USMLE as they complete the Primary Care Clerkship requirements.

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 or 3 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).

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 on Highland Hospital Family Medicine to ease the transition. Otherwise, MSTP clinical clerkship requirements are approximately equivalent to requirements for medical students. MSTP students stay involved in program events as available during these years and are congratulated on their residency match at our annual graduation brunch.