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Research Activities

Multiple program activities are focused on helping students identify an excellent and well-matched research mentor.

Application to program

The secondary application essay that addresses the following points: “Your reasons for wishing to undertake the combined MD-PhD program, rather than the MD program alone; The specific PhD program that you propose to follow at Yale; The strengths of that Yale graduate program and its faculty as they relate to your career goals” is carefully read to make sure that Yale has appropriate faculty representation in the student’s broad area of interest.

Interview visit/ Second Look visit

Students have non-evaluative meetings with faculty of interest during campus visits and are directed to additional faculty based on expressed interest during the campus visit.


This elective 8-wk summer research rotation precedes that start of medical school and is introduced at Second Look. Any MD-PhD student can participate in START@Yale and is fully funded to do so. Individual advising is provided to help students pick an excellent and involved faculty mentor in the area of research interest.

Faculty Lightening Talks (BBS), Departmental Retreats

MD-PhD students are included in these activities in Fall of Y1, which provide a broad introduction to faculty for entering PhD students. A rotation guide maintained by the MD-PhD office lists both rotations and affiliations of MD-PhD students by faculty member, and students are encouraged to contact upperclass colleagues about their experiences with potential research mentors.

Meet the DGS lunches

Organized by the MD-PhD program specifically for our students, these fall lunches with a department Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and Registrar, along with several junior and senior department faculty and senior MD-PhD students, provide an opportunity for interested students to learn about specific PhD program requirements and philosophy.

Formal affiliation process

Students formally obtain approval of their thesis advisor, DGS, MD-PhD Program Director and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies for their proposed dissertation research at the time of laboratory and departmental affiliation. A guide to expectations for student training, evaluation of progress and student funding is provided to advisors at this time. At any point in this process, the Director and Associate Directors are available to students for discussion of their choice of advisor and lab. Students mentors of the PASS (Peer Advising by Senior Students) program are also available for advice, and Brown Bag lunches regularly address topics of mentoring styles, small v large laboratories, and how to balance risk vs opportunity in a research project.

Student Research Day

Student Research Day is a major event at the Yale School of Medicine where graduating medical students and upperclass MD-PhD students working in the lab present the results of their thesis research work in a scientific poster session to a university-wide audience of interested faculty members and students. In addition, five oral presentations of prize winning theses are presented in a Plenary Scientific Session.