Individuals who wish to blend clinical medicine with the discovery and application of new knowledge may wish to pursue a dual degree (MD/PhD or DO/PhD) to receive comprehensive training in both areas. There are over 100 dual degree programs, most at MD-granting institutions (though there are some at DO schools), most providing significant financial support for the approximately eight years of required training.
Prerequisites: generally mirror the requirements for the medical school, though this may vary depending on the doctoral field of interest. Significant research experience is expected.
- Begin working with HPA in the fall, two years before intended entry. See HPA Application Process.
- The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is the required standardized test and comprises four sections: Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills; Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior.
- Apply in June, about 16 months before intended entry. Complete the same applications as regular MD and DO applicants, with additional information required regarding interest in the dual degree.
- MD/PhD programs prefer/require a committee letter of recommendation. See HPA Application Process: Committee Letter.
Find a program: AMCAS Directory of Schools and Colleges
For more information:
- HPA Career of the Month (pdf, December 2017)
- AAMC web portal for students considering careers in biomedical research
- AAMC presentation: MD PhD is it right for me? (pdf)
- AAMC MD/PhD program policies (pdf)
- U Penn MD/PhD FAQ
- MD/PhD Summer Undergraduate Research Programs
- American Physician Scientists Association (APSA)
Articles of Interest:
- NIH Videocast: MD/PhD: Is It Right for Me?
- Is the MD PhD Right for Me? Advice on becoming a physician-scientist (Molecular Biology of the Cell, 2018)
- Finding Nirvana: Paths to Becoming a Physician-Scientist (Science Careers, 2013)
- Three Crucial Questions When Applying to MD-PhD Programs (Science Careers, 2009)
A recent grad's ISC / MD-PhD Perspective
"In general, schools that interviewed me had an overwhelmingly positive response to Integrated Science. At UTSW, the program director Mike Brown is a friend of Integrated director David Botstein, and knew all about our program. An admissions committee member at Vanderbilt told me she had been to a conference where David Botstein was making a presentation about Integrated (pitching it as a new model of education) and she had immediately thought, “Wow, we should really pick up some of those students for our program!” My interviewers at Columbia and Harvard knew about and were impressed by Integrated, and Harvard even states in its requirements FAQ that an integrated sciences curriculum is ideal preparation for their medical program."
"I think that certain other schools might not know as much about our program and how it covers the prerequisites, but there seems to be a widespread positive attitude toward it and these four top 20 schools were particularly receptive. Besides how it is seen, Integrated also makes great pre-MD/PhD training because it brings together a lot of disciplines toward solving scientific problems, much as MD/PhD’s are expected to integrate science and medicine to tackle disease. The program’s focus on research for undergraduates is also great preparation for the MD/PhD and gave me what I think was the most important part of my application, my research experience."