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MD/PhD - Program Information


After matriculating, MD/PhD students begin their programmatic experience with a comprehensive orientation to the interdisciplinary research tracks reflecting the full array of areas of biomedical investigation. A strong institutional asset is the presence of the NIH-sponsored CTSA, which has developed a PhD program in Translational Science and a Certificate in Translational Science. These are also available to MD/PhD students as a primary PhD program or minor track to a traditional biomedical PhD program with additional coursework emphasizing translational science.


Year In Program 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Abbreviation Medical
Year 1 (MS1)
MS2 Graduate
Year 1 (GS1)


The MD/PhD program is planned to take from 7-8 years. Four of these years are spent in medical school and can be divided into two portions: two years of pre-clinical traning and two years of clinical training. At UTHSCSA, we segregate the preclinical and clinical training by the insertion of graduate studies. This is to the advantage of the student as credit for many graduate courses can be substituted with previous medical school courses.

During the summer prior to the first year of Medical School (MS1), MD/PhD students perform their first lab rotation. Students experience a second lab rotation during the summer between MS1 and MS2. If needed, students can organize a third lab rotation after taking the STEP1 of the USMLE examination in June after MS2, before their first year of graduate school (GS1). The Advisory Committee periodically reviews the qualifications of the roster of approved supervising mentors at least every three years and prior to acceptance of one of our MD/PhD students into their labs. Key aspects that are considered include quality of mentoring and track record of funding and publications. Students select their supervising professor by the summer before GS1 and are expected to complete their PhD degree within four years, after which, they return to medical school to complete MS3 and MS4 and earn their MD degree. In addition to the training enrichment provided by the laboratory and track or program in which the student is enrolled for the PhD degree, the MD/PhD program provides for a number of integrated enrichment activities that involve all students enrolled in the program whether they are in their medical school or graduate school years. Enrichment activities include our monthly Bench-to-Bedside seminar series, annual MD/PhD program retreat, grant writing seminars, attendance to national meetings, social activities, and participation in recruitment. Teaching is an integral component as students make formal presentations at least twice a year (Bench to Bedside seminar and annual retreat) as well as within their departments/tracks, and MD/PhD students tutor students in lower classes including at the grant writing seminar. A formal grant submission is required as part of the MD/PhD education. During the spring semester of the graduate school phase, a 10-week clinical rotation of one half-day in the outpatient clinic of the student's choice will be implemented starting in January, 2012. A refresher course on clinical skills is offered every June to prepare students who are finishing the PhD degree for re-entry into their third year clinical clerkships.