MD-PhD Timeline

Overview

In general, our students finish the combined MD-PhD degree in about 8 years – approximating the national average. For a review of the new curriculum and its features, please click here.

The new curriculum—and the opportunity to begin PhD studies earlier than in past years, i.e. in the Fall of Year 3—will undoubtedly change the timeline for MD-PhD students matriculating in Fall of 2015 and thereafter.  The timeline outlined below may be revised as PhD-granting departments evaluate the impact of the new curriculum on MD-PhD coursework and timeline to the PhD.

Year 1

Years 1 to 2 Summary Points:

  • Discuss course selection with Dr. Kazmierczak or your Faculty Mentor
  • You must earn 2 Honors within the first 2 years of the Program to satisfy the Graduate School's Honors requirement
  • Start thinking about your future research interests
  • Every student should plan on doing two 6-week laboratory rotations during the summer after the first year

  • Discuss course selections with Dr. Kazmierczak, Dr. Gorelick, or your Faculty Mentor
  • Current MD-PhD students can also offer insight into courses
  • You must earn 2 Honors within the first 2 years of the Program to satisfy the Graduate School’s Honors requirement
  • Start thinking about your future research interests
  • Every student completes 2 six-week laboratory rotations during the summer after the first year.

Year 2

Years 2 to Completion Summary Points:

  • By January of the 2nd year, a thesis lab should be identified
  • By December of the 3rd year, Step 1 of the Boards must be taken 
  • Students must defend their thesis prior to reentering the wards

  • Discuss course selections with Dr. Kazmierczak, Dr. Gorelick, or your Faculty Mentor
  • All students must engage in 6 months of clinical clerkships
  • Identify a thesis lab by the spring semester of Year 2 and complete affiliation paperwork

Year 3

  • We encourage students to take Step I of the Boards in July/August after completion of year 2. Step I must be completed by December 31st of this year.
  • Begin Graduate School courses
  • Meet with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) of the Ph.D. department to discuss the timing and protocol for the qualifying exam

Year 4

  • Continue with courses in the Graduate School and continue thesis research
  • Complete the Qualifying Examination and thesis prospectus by the fall semester of Year 4

Year 5 to Completion of Thesis

  • Continue thesis research
  • Thesis must be approved and defended prior to re-entry to medical school
  • Submission of a first-author peer reviewed science manuscript is encouraged
  • Meet with Associate Director for Clinical Affairs to complete Re-Entry requirements