Combined MD/PhD Program
Training the Physician Scientists of the Future
In modern medicine the battleground for the fight against many diseases is found at the molecular level, on the surface or interior of cells or in the DNA of the human genome. Other important health problems involve complex studies of large populations within our society. Research into the mechanisms of human disease and the factors that maintain and restore human health requires investigators with interests and training in both basic science and clinical medicine.
The goal of the MD/PhD program is to provide outstanding aspiring physician scientists with broad biomedical training. This experience consists of rigorous research training in the basic sciences, resulting in a PhD complemented by inter-related clinical training that leads to the MD degree. Graduates of our program can confront the un-met medical needs of society through cutting-edge scientific research in an efficient manner. The clinician/investigators from our program are well equipped to become future leaders in medical research in medical schools and other research institutes.
The MD/PhD Program capitalizes on the wide range of basic and clinical science training opportunities that are available through the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The program offers PhD degrees through the Graduate Program in Life Sciences (GPILS) in the following disciplines: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Molecular Medicine, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, and Neuroscience.
A unique strength of the program includes research centers that provide outstanding research opportunities for clinical investigators, such as: Greenbaum Cancer Center, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, Mucosal Biology Research Center, Center for Vaccine Development, Center for Research on Aging, Center for Vascular and Inflammatory Diseases, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, and Institute of Genome Science. Thus, there is an extraordinary range of high-quality research programs available to the MD/PhD students.
Program Requirements and Schedule of Training
Requirements for the combined MD and PhD degrees are equivalent to those of the separate degrees of the Doctor of Medicine (School of Medicine) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Graduate School). The dual degree program can be completed within seven to eight years.
Although the schedule of training can be flexible, entering students typically complete the two pre-clinical years of medical school prior to enrolling as full-time graduate students. During this initial period the MD/PhD students are required to complete two summer research rotations in laboratories of their choice. In addition, during the first year there is an extensive graduate program orientation which provides a detailed view of the diverse research and graduate training opportunities available. The research rotations and orientation are designed to facilitate the choice of a thesis advisor.
After completion of the pre-clinical years, MD/PhD students enroll for three to four years in the PhD program of their choice. During this time they take required graduate courses and complete their dissertation research. After completion of their PhD degrees, students begin the final two years of their medical training, which takes the form of a series of clinical clerkships, electives and sub-internships as described above.
Financial Support During MD/PhD Training
All students admitted into the program are provided full scholarship support for their training. This includes a waiver of tuition, student fees, malpractice insurance, health care costs and a stipend to cover living expenses. For current information on stipends and other financial support, contact the program director.
The MD/PhD Program is open to all qualified applicants, regardless of state residence. Applicants to the program are required to meet the admissions requirements of the School of Medicine. Applicants complete and file an AMCAS application, choosing the University of Maryland as one of the schools to receive the application.
The secondary application package includes supplemental information which must be completed and returned with the secondary application. Criteria for admission include MCAT scores, the undergraduate/graduate academic records, letters of recommendation and, very importantly, research experience.
Applicants are selected for interviews based on the above criteria. Prospective students are interviewed for the MD/PhD Program and the School of Medicine during an initial two-day visit to the campus. Admission to the MD/PhD Program is determined by the MD/PhD Advisory Committee in consultation with the medical school admissions committee. While most students matriculate as external candidates, the program does encourage qualified medical students to apply as internal applicants. See the program director for more details on this process.
For further information, including details of the specific PhD programs, contact:
Terry B. Rogers, PhD
Director, MD/PhD Program
Room S-012, Health Sciences Facility II
20 S. Pine Street
Baltimore, MD 21201