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Medical Scientist Training Program

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The Medical Scientist Training Programs (MSTPs) are dual-degree training programs that streamline the education towards both clinical (typically MD) and research doctoral degrees.[1] MSTPs are offered by some United States medical schools, who are awarded financial support from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The goal of these training programs is to produce physician scientists who can translate laboratory discoveries into effective treatments for patients.

The NIH began awarding the MSTP designation in 1964. Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Northwestern University, and New York University were the original three MSTP programs that were established. As of 2021, there were 51 NIH-funded MSTP programs in the US (50 MD-PhD, 1 DVM-PhD), supporting about 1000 students at all stages of the program.[1][2]


The program has its origins in the non-NIH funded MD-PhD training offered at the nation's research-centric medical schools. An early dual-degree program began at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1956.[3] Other prominent medical schools quickly followed this example and developed integrated MD-PhD training structures.

In 1964, the NIH created the Medical Scientist Training Program to begin funding this medical and research education. Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Northwestern University, and New York University were the original three MSTP programs that were established.


Admission to MSTPs is the most competitive of all graduate medical education programs in the country.

In 2018, 672 of 1855 total applicants successfully matriculated into MD-PhD programs (36.2%), but only 513 of these slots were at MSTPs, making the matriculation rate for MSTPs nationally 27.7%.[4]

In comparison, MD-only programs had 40,174 positions for a total of 95,797 applicants (a 41.9% matriculation rate).[5] At each institution, these acceptance rates are varied and are often far more competitive than the national data. Applicants must have very strong MCAT scores and GPAs to be considered for positions in MSTP. Reflecting this fact, from 2018 to 2019 the average GPA and MCAT for matriculants to MSTPs were 3.79 and 515.6, respectively.[6] MSTP applicants will often have very strong research experience as well, in addition to the typical qualifications required from MD-only applicants.[citation needed]

Interviews for admissions at MSTPs tend to focus on the applicant's career goals and past experiences in scientific research. These may include short research talks or presentations followed by rigorous questioning by an interviewer or interviewing committee. MSTP applicants are often required to demonstrate a deep understanding of their past research projects. Multiple interview sessions conducted by different interviewers that last for 2 days are very common. At some MSTPs, applicants may also be required (or be offered the chance) to interview with the MD-only program.[citation needed]

Financial support[edit]

MSTP matriculants receive substantial financial awards that make them financially competitive to their MD-only counterparts even with the longer training periods. These allowances cover all tuition expenses, provide travel and supply allowances, and accommodate living expenses through an annual stipend (ranging from $26,000 to $39,000). Overall grants typically range from $600,000 - $1,000,000. These monetary awards compare to approximately $250,000 of pre-tax income.[citation needed]

Since MSTP grants are a type of National Research Service Award, students must be nationals (citizens or noncitizens) of the United States or possess a I-151 or I-551 alien registration receipt. However many MSTPs offer non-MSTP grant funded positions, allowing for non-citizens and non-legalized nationals to be accepted into the MD-PhD program at that particular school. These programs are indistinguishable between the students besides the funding source. Furthermore, many non-MSTP medical schools have MD-PhD programs that are not supported by the NIH but offer similar training opportunities and grant money.{{[7]}}

Allied-institution programs[edit]

Several MSTPs allow for the PhD portion of the MSTP to be completed outside the home university at an allied institution. These relationships provide additional and sometimes stronger research opportunities to students in these MSTPs.


Institution Year Founded Allied Institution(s)
Albert Einstein College of Medicine 1964[8]
Baylor College of Medicine 1976[8] Rice University
Case Western Reserve University 1975[8] Cleveland Clinic
Columbia University 1969[8]
Cornell University 1974[8] Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and The Rockefeller University (Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program)
Duke University 1966[8]
Emory University 1976[8] Georgia Institute of Technology
Harvard University 1974[8] Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Indiana University 1993[9] Purdue University
Johns Hopkins University 1975[8]
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science 1986[10]
Medical College of Wisconsin 2010[11]
Medical University of South Carolina 1999[12]
Mount Sinai School of Medicine 1976[8]
New York University 1964[8]
Northwestern University 1964[8]
Oregon Health & Science University 1982[13]
Penn State University 2018[citation needed]
Stanford University 1968[8]
Stony Brook University 1992[8] Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory
Ohio State University 2011[14]
Tufts University 1994[8]
University of Alabama
at Birmingham
University of Arizona 1990[15]
University of California, Davis [note 1]
University of California, Irvine 1999[18]
University of California, Los Angeles 1983[8] California Institute of Technology
University of California, San Diego 1975[8] Salk Institute, The Scripps Research Institute, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, and La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
University of California, San Francisco 1977[8] University of California, Berkeley
University of Chicago 1968[8]
University of Cincinnati 2002[19] Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
University of Colorado Denver 1993[8] University of Colorado Boulder and National Jewish Health
University of Illinois at Chicago 2007[20]
University of Iowa 1976[8]
University of Kansas 2020[21] Stowers Institute for Medical Research
University of Maryland, Baltimore 2010[22] University of Maryland, College Park, NIH Intramural Research Program
University of Massachusetts 2013[23]
University of Miami 2018[21]
University of Michigan 1980[8]
University of Minnesota 1988[8]
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1999[24] North Carolina State University
University of Pennsylvania 1969[8] Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
University of Pittsburgh 1987[8] Carnegie Mellon University
University of Rochester 1973[8]
University of Texas Southwestern 1982[8]
University of Virginia 1976[8]
University of Washington 1970[8]
University of Wisconsin-Madison 1968[8]
Vanderbilt University 1976[8]
Virginia Commonwealth University 2022[25]
Washington University in St. Louis 1969[8]
Yale University 1969[8]


According to a 2010 report of students from the 1970s-2010s, 95% of MSTP graduates entered a residency program after graduation.[26]

Applicants for NIH research grants that completed an MSTP program were three times more likely to be successfully funded than graduates with an MD/PhD that did not participate in an MSTP program.[26]

Non-MSTP MD-PhD programs[edit]

A number of medical schools without funded NIH MSTP grant slots maintain their own non-MSTP MD-PhD combined degree programs, sometimes offering full or partial student financial support funded by the schools themselves.[2] As of 2021, 75 institutions provide a means for non-MSTP MD-PhD education in the United States.[27] Internationally, there are 34 non-US institutions that provide MD–PhD training.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ DVM-PhD, not to be confused UCD's non-MSTP MD-PhD program.[16][17]


  1. ^ a b "Medical Scientist Training Program". National Institute of General Medical Sciences. 2015-07-29. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
  2. ^ a b "Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) Institutions - National Institute of General Medical Sciences". Publications.nigms.nih.gov. 2015-07-29. Archived from the original on 2016-12-16. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  3. ^ "CWRU Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)". cwru.edu. Archived from the original on 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
  4. ^ "FACTS". AAMC.
  5. ^ "2021 FACTS: Applicants and Matriculants Data". AAMC.
  6. ^ "Facts Table B-10" (PDF). www.aamc.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-11-05. Retrieved 2019-05-21.
  7. ^ MD/DO-PhD Programs in the Social Sciences & Humanities, American Physician Scientists Association, https://www.physicianscientists.org/page/SSH .
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah "MSTP Study: The Careers and Professional Activities of Graduates of the NIGMS Medical Scientist Training Program". National Institute of General Medical Sciences. 2011-04-22. Archived from the original on 2012-06-16. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  9. ^ "Engineering–Medicine Partnership History". Purdue–Indiana.net. Retrieved 2023-02-06.
  10. ^ "Mayo Clinic M.D.-Ph.D. Program". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  11. ^ "Medical Scientist Training Program Project Details, Medical College of Wisconsin, NIH RePORT ⟩ RePORTER".
  12. ^ "Training Program for Medical Scientists, Mecial University of South Carolina, NIH RePORT ⟩ RePORTER".
  13. ^ "OHSU History Timeline". Retrieved 2023-11-03.
  14. ^ "NIH Funds OSU Medical Scientist Training Program - College of Medicine News". Medicine.osu.edu. 2011-06-14. Archived from the original on 2011-09-18. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  15. ^ "History and Highlights". arizona.edu. Retrieved 2024-01-26.
  16. ^ "VSTP Program Overview". Veterinary Scientist Training Program. 2014-06-19. Retrieved 2021-03-20.
  17. ^ "About the M.D./Ph.D Program | UC Davis School of Medicine". health.ucdavis.edu. Retrieved 2021-03-20.
  18. ^ "UCI MSTP History". uci.edu. Archived from the original on 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  19. ^ "Physician Scientist Training Program Awarded NIH Designation". UC HealthNews. 2002-07-10. Archived from the original on 2006-09-04. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  20. ^ "Medical Scientist Training Program Project Details, University of Illinois at Chicago, NIH RePORT ⟩ RePORTER".
  21. ^ a b "Predoc Training in Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)". National Institute of General Medical Sciences. February 12, 2024. Archived from the original on March 26, 2024. Retrieved March 26, 2024.
  22. ^ "Medical Science Training Program Project Details, University of Maryland Baltimore, NIH RePORT ⟩ RePORTER".
  23. ^ "Medical Scientist Training Program Award". UMass Medical School - Worcester. Archived from the original on 2014-03-06.
  24. ^ "History — UNC MD-PhD Program - (UNC School of Medicine)". Med.unc.edu. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  25. ^ "M.D.-Ph.D. program awarded prestigious Medical Scientist Training Program grant from the NIH". news.vcu.edu. Retrieved 2023-05-03.
  26. ^ a b Physician-Scientist Working Group Report https://acd.od.nih.gov/documents/reports/PSW_Report_ACD_06042014.pdf
  27. ^ "MD-PhD Degree Programs by State". students-residents.aamc.org. Retrieved 2021-03-20.
  28. ^ "DO/PhD Programs". Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-06-19.

External links[edit]