MD-PhD Timeline

Overview

In general, our students finish the combined MD-PhD degree in about 8 years – approximating the national average.

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 
  • Start thinking about taking courses that will give Graduate School credit.  These can be used to satisfy the requirement for earning 2 Honors within the first 2 years of entering a PhD program
  • Start thinking about your future research interests
  • Every student completes two 4-5 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 to satisfy the Graduate School's Honors requirement.  This can be accomplished by obtaining credit for some courses taken during Medical School. 
  • Start thinking about your future research interests
  • Every student completes two 4-5 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
  • Meet with the Director of Graduate Studies when you have made a decision about the lab where you want to affiliate to make sure your thesis advisor and department are compatible.

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
  • Begin planning F30/F31 submissions.

Year 4

  • Continue with courses in the Graduate School and complete 2 Honors requirement.  Continue thesis research
  • Complete the Qualifying Examination and thesis prospectus by the fall semester of Year 4
  • Submit F30/F31 by April
  • Eligible to teach for requirement after passing Qualifying Exam

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 expected
  • Meet with Associate Director for Clinical Affairs to complete Re-Entry requirements