We strive to make the MD and PhD portions of the program as integrated as possible. All MD/PhD students come together for biweekly meetings, regardless of their phase in the program. These sessions provide opportunities for feedback and support, both from peers and from program leaders. In the summer after the first year of medical school, students participate in an intensive laboratory skills course to start building their research and lab skills. In the PhD years, students complete the clerkship in family medicine, to help develop a research focus that is informed by clinical experience and patient needs.

Before the start of medical school:

  • Students can do a rotation during the summer before medical school begins but it is not required. Please contact the program director if interested!

First year of Medical School (and MD/PhD program):

  • Complete first-year medical school!
  • In the fall, the program director will meet with all first-year students along with directors of their graduate programs (DGSs). The goal of this meeting is to discuss expectations for the first year and how students should arrange the first summer rotation. (During the first semester in medical school, students should apply for stipend support for this summer rotation from the Alpert Medical School Summer Research Program. This will be discussed during the fall meeting.)
  • Do first lab rotation during the summer.

Second year of Medical School (and MD/PhD program):

  • Complete second-year medical school classes and take step 1!
  • In the fall, the program director will meet with all second-year students along with their DGSs. The goal of this meeting is to review progress during the first year and discuss expectations for the second year and plans for the second summer rotation.
  • Students are required to submit the MD/PhD Leave of Absence Request Form to the Senior Associate Dean of Medical Education.
  • Do second lab rotation during the summer. (A summer stipend is provided by the MD PhD program for this rotation.)

Third year in the MD/PhD program (and first year in graduate school):

  • In the fall, the program director will meet with all third-year students to discuss their plans for their PhD studies and the requirements for an F30 application and the clinical elective (see below for more details).
  • Students will also independently meet with their DGSs to establish a plan to fulfill the requirements for the PhD degree (classes, preliminary exam, thesis work, etc.). While these requirements are ultimately at the discretion of the graduate program, the MD PhD program emphasizes that the PhD requirements for MD PhD students should be established in accordance with the fact that students have already completed two years of medical school and two lab rotations. Also, the MD PhD program does not require students to TA or to do a minimum number of rotations, but the program director does feel strongly that TAing is a great experience and at least two rotations should be done!

Fourth year in the MD/PhD program and beyond:

  • Students must submit an NIH F30 application before the end of their fourth year in the MD PhD program. Students should inform the MD PhD program of their plans for submission, as the program will need to write a letter of support for the application.
  • After completing two years of graduate school, students will begin to spend one half-day every two weeks seeing patients in the Family Medicine clinic or another clinical setting of their choosing. This activity will continue until the students complete their PhD studies. Students will get credit for this as a fourth-year medical school elective. It will be graded pass-fail. The goal of this experience is to prepare students for the return back to medical school.
  • Students must defend their thesis before returning to medical school. Only once all requirements for their PhD studies are met can students begin their medical school clerkships. Students should contact the program director as soon as they are planning to defend their thesis, so that they can discuss their transition back to medical school. Students will also need to inform the medical school of their plans to return so that they can sign up for the clinical skills workshop and plan their rotation schedule.
  • Once graduate work is done and the PhD has been successfully defended, return to medical school to complete clinical clerkships! Advising during the clinical years will be provided by the medical school.