6 Year MD/PhD Programs

Last Updated on September 6, 2022 by Ngefechukwu Maduka

What is a Michigan doctorate degree? A Michigan doctorate degree is a doctoral degree that takes can take anywhere from 3 years to 6 years to complete. If you received your bachelor’s degree in another country, it may be easier to transfer credits and graduate in less than 6 years. The amount of time varies depending on the major you choose.

If you are considering a 6 year md-PhD program, it would be best to first understand all of your options. A Six-year pediatric residency program is designed for students who want to become pediatricians. These programs typically have a curriculum that lasts five years and requires students to complete medical school prior to residency training.

About How Many Years is MD PhD

The Johns Hopkins tri-emblem represents the three core values of our institution: teaching, patient care, and research. Founded by a dozen physicians in 1893, Johns Hopkins is one of the world’s most prestigious medical institutions and academic health systems.

Our program believes that the training of a physician-scientist begins with fundamental preparation in core disciplines. Thus, we advise students to focus primarily on medicine while in medical school, and research while in graduate school. However, we also take important steps to ensure that students are exposed to the intersection of both worlds early in their training, as well as given the professional and career development advice they need to succeed.

The MD-PhD curriculum at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is flexible. Most students choose to do two years of medical school followed by three years of graduate work, during which time they complete their thesis project. However, students who want to spend more first-hand time in clinical settings can opt for three years of medical school followed by four years of research training. In either case, the student receives an MD and PhD degree from Johns Hopkins University.. Students in the MD-PhD Program are automatically accepted to all graduate programs, so no decision about graduate training needs to be made until more familiar with the faculty and programs.

In the fall of 2009, Johns Hopkins School of medicine began a new curriculum, “Genes to Society.” This curriculum is intended to bring medical curriculum into the modern scientific age by including cutting edge information on the genetic basis of disease and how social issues and societal pressures may interact with these determinants to promote, or limit, disease. Physiology and pathophysiology are taught together, while clinical correlations and case discussions help connect the topics discussed to the clinic. All classes are taught with a mix of lecture, labs (wet and dry), and team-based learning.

Prior to the start of the formal “Genes to Society” classes, students complete their “Scientific Foundations of Medicine” classes (macromolecules, metabolism, cell biology, genetics, epidemiology, pharmacology) and begin learning basic clinical skills (physical exam, interview techniques). The pre-clinical Genes to Society curriculum is divided into organ system-based modules (Immunology, Microbiology/Infectious disease, Hematology/Oncology, Brain/Mind/Behavior, Neuroscience and Special Senses, Pulmonology, Renal, Cardiology, Gastrointestinal/Liver, Endocrinology, Reproduction/Development, Musculoskeletal) that span from the second semester of your first year through the second semester of your second year. Additionally, to further develop the students’ clinical skills and gain knowledge of ambulatory care, during the second half of the first year and first half of the second year, students go to weekly clinical sites in the Longitudinal Clerkship. These clinical sites included affiliated hopkins as well as other hospitals and clinics in the Baltimore area.

A four week “Transition to the Wards” class is taught at the end of the pre-clinical training to prepare for life on the wards (procedures, ethics, legal). The preclinical curriculum is complete by March of your second year, which leaves about 6 months until the start of graduate school classes in the fall. Most students take the first board exam (USMLE Step 1) and do one or two clinical clerkships prior to entering graduate school. Alternatively, some students decide to finish all of third year medical school (core clerkships complete, see below) prior to beginning their PhD training.

Throughout both the pre-clinical and clinical curriculum, students participate in one week intersessions that are meant to introduce students to topics outside of the more formal curriculum (i.e. healthcare disparities, health promotion and disease prevention, global health, pain and pain management, disaster management, substance abuse, patient safety). While on the wards, intersessions continue with a focus on translational medicine-short refreshers of the basic science behind some of the clinical scenarios seen in the clerkships.

Students may study in any department of the School of Medicine (SOM) or the School of Public Health (SPH). This allows each student to join any SOM or SPH program they wish, based on their interests and desired laboratory rotations. Additionally, since students do not need to join a graduate program until after their first few years of medical school, they can take time to learn about the different laboratories and faculty at Hopkins. Students usually choose from a broad selection of graduate programs in the School of Medicine, including:

  • Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology (BCMB)
  • Biological Chemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering (BME)
  • Human Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM)
  • Molecular Biophysics
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences
  • Pathobiology
  • Cellular and Molecular Physiology
  • Functional Anatomy and Evolution
  • History of Science, Medicine and Technology
  • PhD programs in other divisions of the University, such as The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (including Health Policy & Management, Bioethics, Health Communication, Epidemiology, and International Health to name a few) are also open to MD-PhD students.

Generally, students have 1-2 years of graduate class requirements and rotate through labs concurrently to find a match for a thesis lab. MD-PhD students can start work in their thesis lab early by rotating in a lab during the summer before their first year of medical school (the amount of people that do this is usually 20-50% of the incoming class) as well as between first and second year of medical school. This means a student may join their thesis lab in the first semester or two of graduate school.

The PhD track is a full-time, four year program leading to a doctoral degree in biomedical engineering. The program admits a new class each academic year, with the first summer term starting in June and classes meeting Tuesday through Friday each week. A majority of PhD students are in the second half of their third year when they take a leave of absence from school, typically for two to three weeks per month, to complete their thesis research on campus or at another site outside the U.S. At this point they cease taking courses and may return to their lab until they resume classes again late in their fourth year.

Johns Hopkins takes great pride in the quality of its clinical training. The diversity of our patients, including Inner City Baltimore residents, regional patients referred to a tertiary care center, and patients with rare or complex disorders who travel from across the world, as well as the quality of its physicians, students, and staff make the clinical training at Hopkins unparalleled. In a 2014 comprehensive review of residency programs by the physician network Doximity and its partner U.S. News & World Report, Johns Hopkins was named a leading medical education program (more information can be found here). Hopkins placed in the top 10 in 14 specialties and is ranked number one in four specialties.

Students spend two to three weeks on each rotation, which can be challenging for those who are new to the field. There are a range of experiences at Johns Hopkins Hospital and affiliated hospitals, from trauma surgery in the hospital’s emergency department to prenatal care at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Students may complete an elective (a rotation in a field outside their area of study) or sub-internship (rotating through a department in which you’ve completed a core clerkship).

At the end of the fourth medical school year, students take “TRIPLE,” a class discussing Transition to Internship and Residency and Preparation for LifE. More advanced procedures and general hospital protocols are taught, as well as discussion of work/life balance and the challenges of residency.

Ever wondered what MD-PhD programs are all about? Do you know what MSTPs are? Here are 15 facts you should know about MD-PhD programs:

  1. There are over 100 MD-PhD programs affiliated with medical schools
  2. 44 MD-PhD programs are partially supported by training grants from the National Institute of General Medical Science. These programs are known as Medical Scientist Training Programs or MSTPs. MSTPs are usually better funded than non-MSTPs.

||Read: Medical Schools with the Most MD/PhD spots||

  1. Most MD-PhD programs offer financial support in the form of stipends and tuition waivers. Each program differs in how much each student is supported. See the differences on this AAMC table.
  2. It is more difficult academically to be accepted to an MD-PhD program compared to a normal MD program. In 2014, the average MCAT, GPA, and science GPA of MD-PhD matriculants were 35, 3.8, and 3.8 respectively. The average MCAT, GPA, and science for traditional MD matriculants was 31.4, 3.69, and 3.63 respectively.
  3. In order to apply, you need substantive research experience. The following counts as substantive research experience:
    a. Multiple summer projects
    b. Senior thesis research
    c. One or more years pursuing research activities after undergraduate degree
  4. There are about 1700 applications nationally. 1/3 of those applicants are usually accepted (2/3 of the applicants that receive interviews are accepted)

||Read: Is MD/PhD Worth it?||

  1. The curricula is usually broken down in the following way:
    a. Preclinical (years 1 – 2)
    i. Explore research opportunities
    ii. Complete USMLE Step 1 after second year
    b. Research (years 3 – 6)
    i. Finish dissertation research
    ii. Complete PhD degree
    c. Clinical (years 5 – 7 or 6 – 8)
    i. Clinical clerkships
    ii. Additional research experiences
    iii. Complete MD degree
  2. The MD-PhD dual degree takes approximately 7-8 years to finish. Then you have to finish a 3-7 year residency program if you want to practice medicine.
  3. Roughly ~65% of MD-PhDs spend more than 50% of their work time doing research. 39% of MD-PhDs spend 75% or more of their time doing research.
  4. 68% of MD-PhD graduates go into academics and 16% go into private practice. The rest work in industry, research institutions or other various opportunities.
  5. Approximately 40% of NIH grants to MDs are received by MD-PhDs
  6. There are MD-PhD programs that allow you to get a PhD in the humanities or the social sciences. https://www.aamc.org/students/research/mdphd/420992/md-phdsocialscienceshumanities.html
  7. If you drop out of an MD-PhD program, some schools require you to pay back the investment that the school made in you. Read each school’s policies or talk to the school’s admissions office before you decide to apply.
  8. Having an MD-PhD does not guarantee that you’ll get into a “better” residency.

The average length of time before graduation is 7.5 years; generally students will take 6 years or 8 years depending on the nature of their graduate research. Students generally complete and defend their PhD thesis before completing their clinical rotations in the last 1 – 2 years.

Can I do one degree before the other?

As above, nearly all students will complete their PhD requirements 1 – 2 years before their MD requirements. An important advantage of combined degree training is the breadth that the first 1 – 2 years of medical school provides for graduate research. Students must pass part I of the National Board Medical Licensing Examination before commencing full-time laboratory research. Occasionally circumstances will arise when an individual student’s training is best served by deviating from this “traditional” plan; these situations require approval and monitoring by the graduate advisor and the MSTP Directors.

How will I be supported during my training?

Stanford MSTP students are fully supported through the entire program, tuition, health insurance and stipend, by a combination of funds from a National Institute of Health training grant, individual graduate programs, and School of Medicine funds.

Are there laboratory rotations?

One of the ways in which we try to make the total time of training less than the sum normally taken to complete MD and PhD degrees is by encouraging MSTP students to choose a potential thesis advisor without a yearlong set of rotations through different laboratories. During the first year of the program, students meet with departmental chairs and research faculty and participate in research seminars and group meetings, so that the summer following the first year can be spent working full-time in a laboratory whose goals, approaches, and personnel are already familiar. In most cases, MSTP students choose this laboratory as the place to carry out their thesis research.

Can I get advanced placement credit for graduate coursework?

MSTP students fulfill the same curricular requirements as “straight MD” and “straight PhD” students. Some PhD Programs may permit substitution of previous graduate course work (or MD courses) for their PhD requirements; this is individual to the program and the student.

Are MSTP students required to complete the MD Scholarly Concentration (SC) program?

The MSTP is a combined effort between the MD program and the PhD programs. All trainees are required to fulfill all requirements for both the MD and PhD degrees. The single exception is the MD program requirement for a Scholarly Concentration. For dual degree MD-PhD students, the PhD substitutes for this requirement.

Will I have special opportunities as an MSTP student?

Yes! In addition to individual regular advising meetings with the Program Directors, we hold seminars, courses, and lunches with guest speakers, covering important topics of professional development and translational medicine. The MSTP community also meets annually for the MSTP Scientific Conference, to present research, and to share clinical experiences, advice and above all support.

Will I have special responsibilities as an MSTP student?

Of course! Besides the challenge of balancing graduate and medical training, we ask all MSTP students to play an integral role in the recruitment, education, and evaluation of incoming MSTP applicants.

Graduate Programs
Can I get a PhD outside the Medical School?

Yes. One of the unique aspects of the Stanford MSTP is its close affiliation with departments in other Schools, including Engineering (Bioengineering, Chemical, Computer Science, Electrical) and Humanities and Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics).

Can I get a PhD in a clinical department?

The PhD must be conferred by a degree-granting department or program, and most clinical departments do not grant PhD degrees. However, most scientists in clinical departments either have joint appointments with basic science departments or are members of interdepartmental programs such as Cancer Biology, Neurosciences, or Immunology, and the only restriction regarding thesis advisors is that they must be members of the Academic Council.

Can I apply to the MSTP and get a PhD in a social science?

If you are a current Stanford MD student and have previously been admitted to a social science PhD program, you may apply to the MSTP for funding. Admitted PhD candidates may apply through the MSTP internal admissions process.

Are there teaching requirements?

The MSTP itself has no specific teaching requirements, but some PhD programs do.

How will my training differ from other “straight PhD” students?

The short answer is, “It won’t.” PhD training for MSTP students is just as rigorous and intensive as for students outside the MSTP. However, MSTP students don’t spend their first year rotating through different laboratories, and most MSTP students complete their preclinical medical school curriculum before starting full-time laboratory research.

Admissions Process
How many applicants do you interview and admit?

On average, we invite about 60 students for interviews or about 1 in 9 of those students who submit a secondary application. About 8 – 10 students begin the MSTP every year.

Can I apply to the MSTP after starting medical school?

Yes! One of the unique aspects of the Stanford School of Medicine is its strong emphasis on research, and the MSTP invites current Stanford medical students in their preclinical years, who have made a commitment and contribution to a research-based career, to submit an application for the MSTP. We refer to this as the “internal” application process. Typically, the MSTP admits 1 – 2 internal applicants every year.

can you get a PhD in 6 years

How Many Years Is MD PhD Program

No. We think making a decision about combined medical school and graduate training is challenging enough! Finding a program that best matches an individual student’s interests and goals is facilitated by visiting several universities and meeting with a variety of potential research advisors.

How do I find out about the status of my application?

Just ask (we don’t mind).

Can I schedule my interview for a different day?

There are 5 – 6 interview days per season; once invited, interviews are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. We will try to accommodate requests for other dates if necessary.

I don’t know whether to apply for Med School or MSTP?

You should only apply to the MSTP if you are committed to a career in biomedical research; such a commitment should be based, in part, on previous sustained and productive research experience as an undergraduate. If you’re not sure, consider working full-time in a laboratory after undergraduate school before deciding whether an MSTP is right for you, or, alternatively, starting as a “straight MD” student, participating in a research project in your 2nd or 3rd year, and possibly applying to the MSTP as an internal applicant (see above).

What does the MSTP Admissions Committee look for?

Besides qualification for admission to the medical school itself, the single most important component of an MSTP application is a previous sustained and productive research experience.

When can I expect to hear about the outcome of my application and/or interview?

Interview season is October – February; interview invitations will be issued 3 – 6 weeks before the scheduled interview date. MSTP admission decisions are made on a modified rolling basis.

Are MSTP applicants considered independently for medical school admission?

The MSTP Admissions Committee is separate from, but closely integrated with, the Medical School Admissions Committee. All applicants to the MSTP are also considered for MD-only admission. If you are not chosen for an MSTP interview, your application is automatically routed for MD-only consideration. If you are chosen for an MSTP interview, you will also be required to participate in the MD admission interview process. These interviews will be scheduled the day before, or day after, your MSTP interviews. If you are not offered admission to the MSTP, you will be considered for MD-only admission.

Student Life
Can I afford to live in Palo Alto?

Housing costs in the Bay Area are more than other cities. However, every new graduate student is guaranteed housing on campus or at University associated off-campus sites. Almost anyone can afford to live comfortably as a Stanford graduate student solely on stipend support.

Will the program pay for health insurance? What about the rest of my family?

We consider health insurance an essential component of all graduate training programs. The program covers the entire cost for individual students and offers a mechanism for subsidizing dependents.

Isn’t there more to do in San Francisco than in Palo Alto?

It depends whether you would rather watch street vendors in Union Square or go hiking in the Los Altos foothills. Seriously, downtown San Francisco is a short train ride away from Stanford, but the two environments offer different (and complementary) experiences. Downtown Palo Alto doesn’t have skyscrapers but it does have a thriving economy, a diverse population, and an environment that attracts many students to stay here for postgraduate training and career opportunities. Come see for yourself!

The Tom and Anne Smith MD-PhD Program allows students to receive training in a comprehensive program to prepare dual-degree physician-scientists for a career in academic medicine. MD-PhD students pursue a seven- to eight-year course of study that combines the traditional four years of medical school with the three to four years typically required to earn a doctorate in a scientific discipline.

Physician-scientists who complete the MD-PhD program are uniquely prepared to lead independent research programs and train others in translational bench-to-bedside research. They are also able to provide exceptional patient care to assimilate the latest scientific knowledge to the practice of medicine.

Chris Tipton

Plan of Study
The MD-PhD program allows a flexible approach to training as a medical scientist. The typical course of study is as follows:

Years 1-2: School of Medicine patient-based learning curriculum
Years 3-5: Doctoral degree course work
Years 6-8: Medical school clerkships and doctoral degree dissertation
Although this is the recommended track for MD-PhD students, scheduling is flexible and based on students’ needs.

Degrees
Degree programs are offered in a wide range of scientific disciplines, including:

  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology and Physiology

Scholarships
The School of Medicine offers two full scholarships for incoming MD-PhD students. Each scholarship includes full tuition for four years of medical school as well as a stipend to help with living expenses for each year of study. Funded labs provide full graduate support during the PhD years of study.

Program Elements
Collaboration in all stages of the MD-PhD program is encouraged, and students actively support their peers to become better students, physicians and researchers.

The key elements of the MD-PhD program include:

  • Lab rotations (to choose a PhD supervisor)
  • Summer research fellowship (after M1 year)
  • Journal clubs
  • MD-PhD program grand rounds
  • Active participation in the research education program across the School of Medicine
  • Monthly meeting with MD-PhD executive committee
  • Mentoring
  • Mentoring and advising is provided by co-mentors for both the scientific and clinical components of the program. The MD-PhD executive committee is an exceptional resource for students. It includes members with diverse areas of expertise who are dedicated to training a new generation of physician-scientists. Many committee members are physician-scientists themselves, and they all share a passion for teaching, challenging and inspiring students.

In the summer before the first year, students have the option to complete the first of their research laboratory rotations. While not required, we feel that this can assist the student by allowing him or her to decide on a thesis advisor and laboratory by the end of the second year.

The first year curriculum begins at the end of August and MSTP students follow the same curriculum as first year medical students. In 2009 the College of Physicians and surgeons initiated a new curriculum, which tightly integrates instruction in the first and second years.

In addition to the medical school curriculum, MSTP students will use their elective time during the first year to take at least one of the graduate courses, such as eukaryotic molecular biology. Click for list of other available graduate courses.

The MSTP advisory committee will work closely with the student during this period to help identify appropriate laboratories for rotation and to select courses. There are a number of advantages to offering a graduate school course during the medical school curriculum:

The completion of a major graduate course allows more rapid completion of course work and earlier full-time involvement in laboratory research.

Participation in the course at this early stage allows students to become familiar with members of the graduate faculty at an earlier time than would otherwise occur.

The additional course work can help inform the choice of a laboratory or define a student’s interests.

It puts the student into contact with graduate students from the time they enter rather than requiring that they “shift gears” suddenly upon entry to the PhD years.

Year 2: Medical School Courses and Graduate Level Course
The second summer is committed to a laboratory rotation to assist the student in defining an area of interest and selecting a thesis advisor. During the first six months of second year of medical school the MSTP student follows the medical school program. Starting in January of the second year, MSTP students complete two clinical rotations, one or two laboratory rotations, Step I of the USMLE and choose a graduate program.

PhD Program
Year 3: The Graduate Years
The third year begins in the summer after the student takes Step I of the USMLE. Students who have selected laboratories will begin work under the direction of their thesis advisors combining laboratory work with the completion of any remaining course requirements. In addition, the completion of the preliminary examination must occur by the end of the third year. Students who have not selected laboratories will have the option of completing a third rotation in the summer preceding the third year, but are still expected to complete the preliminary examination by the end of year three.

The progress of each student is monitored by his/her mentor, by the thesis advisory committees, which must meet annually, and by meetings with the Program Director and members of the Executive Committee. We expect that the majority of students will have developed a thesis proposal by the end of the first year of graduate work and that the majority of course work will have been completed by that time. It is expected that all of the students will have published a first authored paper and that most students will have defended their theses by the spring of their 4th graduate year (6th year total).

In addition, students will begin their participation in the Clinical Competence Program. Throughout the years in the lab, each student meets a faculty member (Dr. William Turner, Dr. Steven Mackey, Dr. Christina Ulane, or Dr. Paul Lee) in the hospital. They practice history and physical exam skills with the cooperation of one of the patients in the hospital, and discuss the patient’s illness in detail. The students also meet once a month in small groups with their preceptor, reviewing the pathophysiology of some common diseases and presentations.

Years 4, 5 and 6: The Graduate Years
During these years, students work on their thesis research under the direction of their advisors. Progress continues to be monitored by the thesis advisory committee, by the director of the graduate program in which the student is enrolled, and by the MSTP directors. Depending on progress, the thesis is written and defended by December of the sixth year, so that the student can return to medical studies by January of the following year.

can you get PhD in 3 years

How Many Years is MD PhD

Starting in the second semester in the lab, the Clinical Competence Program allows students to pick clinical fields that interest them and are assigned preceptors who work in that field. They meet with that attending once per month. Students have accompanied their mentor during office hours, on hospital rounds, in the operating room, at clinical conferences, and at clinical research meetings, thus allowing them to see what the attending’s daily schedule is like as well as providing continuing exposure to patients.

Their activities during their last year in the lab are the same as in the first year with respect to the Clinical Competence Program, except that more emphasis is placed on write-ups and presentations when they meet with Drs. Turner, Mackey, Ulane, and Lee.

MD Program Part 2
The Final Year: The Major Clinical Year
The final year of the program is actually 12-15 months long depending on the date of re-entry and includes the major clinical rotations required for the MD degree. This program is tailored to the student and is combined with consultation on the selection of residencies or postdoctoral fellowships. Click here for information regarding the Major Clinical Year rotations.

Medical school graduation is in May of the final year.

By entering SGU’s six-year preclinical program, you may be eligible to earn a Bachelor of Science on your way to completing your Doctor of Medicine.

The BSc/MD option allows you to complete your undergraduate degree through three years of undergraduate and preclinical courses.

mD PhD programs requirements

Admission Requirements*

  • AS Levels “Advanced Subsidiary Levels”
  • Baccalaureate
  • South African Matric
  • Australian Matric
  • Higher School Exam
  • Irish Leaving Certificate
  • Senior Certificate

The curriculum for our six-year program gives you the foundation needed to succeed as a physician, and prepares you to grow your practice into a thriving career in medicine.

English language. If English is not the principal language of the applicant’s country, the applicant must submit acceptable scores on one of the following English Language Assessments.

  • IELTS- 7.0 on each band
  • TOEFL- 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based), or 100 (internet-based).  The University’s TOEFL code is 2864
  • Password-Skills –Scoring is the same as IELTS scoring for direct entry
  • C1 Advanced- A score of 186 overall is required for direct entry
  • PTE Academic – A score of 85 overall is required for direct entry

*Please note, there are entry qualifications for many countries and examination boards. Please work with your admissions officer to determine what entry qualifications and examination boards are needed from your home country.

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