From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Doctorate of Medicine and of Philosophy (MD–PhD) is a dual doctoral degree for physician–scientists, combining the professional training of the Doctor of Medicine degree with the research expertise of the Doctor of Philosophy degree; the Ph.D. is the most advanced credential in the United States. Other dual degree programs exist, such as the joint MD–JD degree; both the JD professional degree and the MD are not universally recognized internationally, however. The National Institutes of Health currently provides 50 medical schools with Medical Scientist Training Program grants that support the training of students in MD–PhD programs at these institutions through tuition and stipend allowances. These programs are often competitive, with some admitting as few as two students per academic year.[1] The MCAT score and GPA of MD–PhD matriculants are often higher than MD only matriculants.[2][3]

Application and admissions[edit]

MD–PhD typically require or prefer candidates who have had a background in research, either under a professor as an undergraduate or have taken at least one gap year to work in a laboratory setting. The application process in addition to a personal statement required for MD-only applications also require two additional essays to describe why an applicant wants to pursue an MD–PhD and an essay describing their research background.

Training programs[edit]

In the United States, MD–PhD degrees can be obtained through dual-degree programs offered at some medical schools. The idea for an integrated training program began at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1956[4] and quickly spread to other research medical schools. In 1964, through the Chief of the Office of Program Planning and Evaluation Herbert H. Rosenberg, Ph.D., the National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed a grant to underwrite some universities' MD–PhD programs. This funding was distributed through the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). There are also non-MSTP funded dual-degree programs, which typically provide funding through endowment funds, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and extramural fellowships). Non-MSTP funded dual degree programs have more flexibility and can extend to degrees other than the PhD (e.g., JD and MBA degrees).

Admission to a dual degree program is not a requirement to receive MD and PhD degrees. An individual has the option to complete each degree separately through single-degree programs. However, the student is responsible for all medical school tuition and does not receive a stipend during their MD education. Furthermore, since the PhD training is not streamlined with the medical training, students will often take additional years to complete their PhD.

A PhD may also be obtained by physicians during the residency training period. This combined research and graduate-level medical education are offered by a minority of residency programs. This additional education typically extends the residency period by three to four years.

Training structure[edit]


Upon matriculating in an MD–PhD program, students will often follow a 2-PhD-2 plan. In this system, students will complete the pre-clinical curriculum of their medical school (2 years), transition into PhD graduate training (3–5 years), and then finally complete clinical rotations (2 years).


Upon receiving the MD–PhD dual degree, physician-scientists may choose a variety of career paths. The most common continues to be residency training with additional laboratory training. However, a physician–scientist may also elect to refuse residency training, thereby having a career essentially akin to a conventional PhD scientist. A physician–scientist may also elect to work in the private sector with no further formal academic clinical nor research training.

Benefits of the dual degree program[edit]

Financial compensation[edit]

Some MD–PhD programs (all MSTPs) cover all medical school tuition, provide a stipend, and cover health insurance expenses.

Residency programs[edit]

Candidates with MD–PhD dual degrees are favorably looked upon in most residency programs.

Career flexibility[edit]

Graduates with an MD–PhD degree are generally qualified for a variety of careers in medicine and medical research. MD students, just as MD–PhD students, are also qualified for a career in medical research given enough post-graduate research experience. The issue is that careers in medicine as an MD, most commonly being a physician, pay significantly more than careers in medical research. Those who graduate MD most often accrue significant financial debt and are incentivize to seek employment as a high-paying physician to pay off debt from undergraduate and MD schooling. MD–PhD graduates nearly always graduate debt free. Thus, MD–PhD students do not have the same economic pressures to seek employment as a physician compared to their MD counterparts, and instead have the economic flexibility to seek out a career in research or any career path that can utilize the unique skills an MD–PhD had acquired over their years of education.

Career paths[edit]

The vast majority (over 80%) of MD–PhD graduates eventually choose to enter academia, government, or industry where medical research is a central component of their duties.[5] According to a FASEB study conducted in 2000, graduates of NIH-funded MSTPs make up just 2.5% of medical school graduates each year, but after graduation, account for about one third of all NIH research grants awarded to physicians. Many MD–PhD graduates also practice clinical medicine in their field of expertise.[6]

Notable MD–PhD physician–scientists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Merge Interests in Science, Medicine With an M.D.–Ph.D." Archived from the original on 2015-09-06. Retrieved 2015-08-29.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-01-04. Retrieved 2018-01-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ [bare URL PDF]
  4. ^ "CWRU Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)". Archived from the original on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
  5. ^ Ley TJ; Rosenberg LE (2005). "The physician-scientist career pipeline in 2005: build it, and they will come". JAMA. 294 (11): 1343–51. doi:10.1001/jama.294.11.1343. PMID 16174692.
  6. ^ Zemlo TR; Garrison HH; Partridge NC; Ley TJ (2000). "The physician-scientist: career issues and challenges at the year 2000". FASEB J. 14 (2): 221–30. doi:10.1096/fasebj.14.2.221. PMID 10657979. S2CID 1256003. Archived from the original on 2009-06-26.
  7. ^ "Dr. Duntsch defense expert: 'The only way this happens is the entire system fails the patients'," WFAA, February 13, 2017, retrieved February 21, 2017.
  8. ^ "Nobel Prize winner Gregg Semenza retracts another study". Chemical & Engineering News. Retrieved 2023-11-07.
  9. ^ Thorp, H. Holden (2022-10-21). "Remember, do no harm?". Science. 378 (6617): 231. Bibcode:2022Sci...378..231T. doi:10.1126/science.adf3072. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 36228020.
  10. ^ "US agencies debunk Florida surgeon general's vaccine claims". AP News. 2023-03-11. Retrieved 2023-11-07.
  11. ^ "Howard Markel - Faculty Profiles - U-M School of Public Health". Retrieved 2023-11-07.
  12. ^, <img src='https://med stanford edu/news/media-contacts/bruce_goldman/_jcr_content/image img 620 high jpg/goldman-bruce-90 jpg' alt='Bruce Goldman'> Bruce Goldman Bruce Goldman is a senior science writer in the Office of Communications Email him at (2017-01-18). "Neuroscientist Ben Barres, who identified crucial role of glial cells, dies at 63". News Center (in Samoan). Retrieved 2023-11-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ "In Memoriam: Paul Farmer | Harvard Medical School". 2022-02-21. Retrieved 2023-11-07.
  14. ^ Kass, Leon (June 2, 1997). "The Wisdom of Repugnance" (PDF). The New Republic.
  15. ^ "Fritz Perls". 2023-07-24. Retrieved 2023-11-07.
  16. ^ "MKUltra: Inside the CIA's Cold War mind control experiments | The Week UK". The Week. 2017-11-22. Archived from the original on 2017-11-22. Retrieved 2023-11-14.
  17. ^ Chase, Alston (2000-06-01). "Harvard and the Making of the Unabomber". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2023-11-14.
  18. ^ Read "The Polygraph and Lie Detection" at 2003. doi:10.17226/10420. ISBN 978-0-309-26392-4.
  19. ^ Saxe, Leonard (July 1991). "Science and the CQT polygraph". Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Science. 26 (3): 223–231. doi:10.1007/BF02912514. PMID 1954162. S2CID 45017458.
  20. ^ "Truth in the Machine". 2011-06-24. Archived from the original on 2011-06-24. Retrieved 2023-11-08.
  21. ^ Larson, John A. (November 1929). "Psychology in Criminal Investigation". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 146 (1): 258–268. doi:10.1177/000271622914600128. ISSN 0002-7162. S2CID 145380796.
  22. ^ Widacki, Jan (2020-03-01). "John Augustus Larson (1892–1965)". European Polygraph. 14 (1): 9–20. doi:10.2478/ep-2020-0002.
  23. ^ "NIMH » About the Director". 2023-10-18. Retrieved 2023-11-08.
  24. ^ "Karl Deisseroth's Profile | Stanford Profiles". Retrieved 2023-11-08.
  25. ^ "Emery N. Brown". Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology. 2022-08-12. Retrieved 2023-11-08.
  26. ^ Gorton, Gregg E. (July 2005). "Milton Hyland Erickson, 1901–1980". American Journal of Psychiatry. 162 (7): 1255. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.162.7.1255. ISSN 0002-953X.
  27. ^ "Carl Elliott". College of Liberal Arts. Retrieved 2024-01-12.
  28. ^ "Professor Maurizio Pompili". IASP. Retrieved 2024-01-30.
  29. ^ "Loop | Maurizio Pompili". Retrieved 2024-01-30.