MD/PhD Program

The MD/PhD program is designed to train physician scientists who will play leading roles in medical research and education. The Department of Physics and Astronomy participates in this program, providing students who have a strong undergraduate preparation in physics with an opportunity to work simultaneously toward the MD degree and the PhD degree in Physics. Admission to the program requires that the student be admitted to both the School of Medicine and Dentistry and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The details of the application process are summarized on the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) page.

During the first two years of the program, the student completes the formal course work required for the MD degree in the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Students are strongly encouraged to make contact with a potential thesis advisor during the first year and to begin research in the laboratory of the Physics advisor during the first summer. The third year is devoted primarily to course work in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, where the student will complete the typical first year series of courses in quantum mechanics, electromagnetic theory, mathematical methods of physics and statistical mechanics. A written preliminary exam based on the first year courses is required of all students working toward the PhD in Physics. MD/PhD students will normally take this exam in September or January of their fourth year in the program.

Following successful completion of the course work in Physics, the student will begin full time research on a thesis, which will culminate in the defense of a doctoral dissertation. The last two years of the medical school curriculum will be completed during the final two years of the MD/PhD program. It is anticipated that the total time required to complete the dual degree program will be 8-10 years.