Skip to Main Content

Admissions: Applying to the MD-PhD Program

We seek applicants who are committed to pursuing a career as a physician-scientists. We value students who are curious, creative, compassionate, and resilient, and bring a diverse range of personal experiences, viewpoints, and academic interests to our collaborative and innovative community.

Candidates must submit their application to the Yale School of Medicine which includes the AMCAS and the Yale Secondary Applications and indicate their interest in being considered for the MD-PhD Program. All applications are holistically reviewed to find candidates whose academic and personal experiences indicate exceptional potential and a commitment to pursue MD and PhD training at Yale. Among the things we look for in a candidate's application are:

  • Significant research experience(s) with evidence of increasing independence, responsibility, and depth of contributions
  • Outstanding letters of recommendation, including those from research mentors who can reflect upon your potential for success as a physician-scientist
  • Personal statements that allow us to understand your reasons for training as a physician-scientist
  • Activities that reflect your curiosity, compassion, maturity, leadership, grit
  • Broad academic excellence, not reflected solely in MCAT scores or GPA

Admissions Timeline

AMCAS Application Open June 1- October 1
AMCAS Application Deadline October 15
Yale Secondary Application Deanline November 15
*for "non-traditional" PhD applicants October 15
Letters for Recommendation deadline November 15
Additional "Non-traditional" letters of recommendation November 1
"Non-traditional" Applicants: Graduate School of Arts & Sciences supplemental materials due November 1
MD-PhD Inteviews November-February
All interviews (MD and MD-PhD) are conducted virtually
"Non-traditional" MD-PhD interviews
Notification of acceptance to MD-PhD Program March 15
Second Look for Admitted Students (in-person) March/April
Acceptance response deadline April 30

Invitations for interview will be sent via email from September to January. All interviews are virtual and will be scheduled over a two-day period. Candidates have interviews with members of both the MD and MD-PhD Interviewing subcommittees, non-evaluative meetings with MD-PhD program faculty and students, and informational sessions with the program director and current students. Social events and student buddies will help you learn more about the MD-PhD community at Yale and about living in New Haven. As part of the invitation to interview, we will provide a survey link that allows you to request informal meetings with up to five Yale faculty whose research is of interest to you. These informal discussions are not part of the admissions evaluation but are made available to you so that you can get a more complete picture of what Yale has to offer. Applicants who are not invited to interview for the MD-PhD Program will be offered the option to have their application considered for MD-only admission.

Special Instructions for Applicants Interested in “non-traditional” PhD programs

MD-PhD applicants who plan to pursue their PhD in Anthropology, Economics, History of Science & Medicine, Philosophy, Religious Studies or Sociology must submit applications to both the MD-PhD program and to the PhD program. (A link to the PhD program application will be sent to such students when their complete MD-PhD program application is received.) Interview invitations will be made after both applications have been reviewed. Materials required to support the PhD program application are detailed below. Students interested in these programs are encouraged to contact the MD-PhD program to indicate their interest and to obtain the most up-to-date information about specific PhD program requirements. Please note: the completed MD-PhD application must be received by October 15th and the PhD application completed by November 1st to allow full review and consideration for interview.

Requested additional materials:

  1. A writing sample is required for the following programs. (If submitting more than one document, please combine all documents into a single pdf document for upload into Slate.) Please upload a 20-30 page document.
    • Anthropology
    • History of Science and Medicine
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology
  2. Up to three letters of recommendation that speak to aptitude and preparation for the PhD
    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • History of Science and Medicine
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology
  3. A statement of academic purpose (see below) is required for the following programs:
    • Anthropology
    • History of Science and Medicine
    • Philosophy
    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology
  4. Please upload a current resume/CV.
  5. Applicants to Economics (Only) – GRE Test Scores required

Important information to keep in mind:

  • The "personal statement of academic purpose" is carefully evaluated by PhD program faculty; when requested, it should be prepared with this audience in mind. This document should be a succinct statement of 500-1,000 words explaining why you are applying to Yale for graduate study, describing your past research, your preparation for the intended field of study, your academic plans for graduate study at Yale (e.g. your proposed research project), and your subsequent career objectives. Explain how the faculty, research, and resources at Yale would contribute to your future goals.
  • You may submit a letter of recommendation from the same individual as part of both the AMCAS and GSAS applications; we encourage you to ask the recommenders most capable of speaking to your preparation for the PhD program of study to submit their letters to both AMCAS and GSAS. Once you identify a recommender in the GSAS Admissions Portal, they will receive an email providing instructions and access information.
  • No application fee to GSAS will be required to submit these additional materials.
  • The MCAT will be accepted in lieu of the GRE except for candidates to Economics.
2019-2023 GAP
2019-2023 GAP is a violin plot of the number of gap years taken (ranging from 0 to 10 years) by the following groups in MD-PhD Program application cycles 2019 through 2023: applicants (shown in gray; n=2978), interviewed applicants (shown in yellow; n=774), accepted applicants (shown in light blue; n=221), and matriculated students (shown in royal blue; n=95).

Gap years are not necessary for applicants. Nationally, >75% of MD-PhD students have taken at least one gap year after college1. Gap years can help applicants gain research or clinical experience necessary for deciding whether dual-degree training is right for them. Or they can provide time to travel, work, or take the MCAT and apply. But gap years per se are not necessary to be admitted to MD-PhD programs! The distribution of gap years taken by Yale MD-PhD applicants, interviewed or accepted candidates, and matriculated students for 2019-2023 shows a median “gap” of 2 years for interviewed, accepted, and matriculated applicants But 18% of our current students joined the program immediately after graduating from college.

Diversity and inclusion are central to our mission; our goal is to train students with a wide range of backgrounds, personal identities, and research interests to become physician-scientists. MD-PhD students who matriculated in the past five years completed their undergraduate degrees at accredited four-year institutions all over the United States and territories, and include students who have attended community colleges, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and small, non-research-intensive colleges. Demographics of current students, as self-identified in their AMCAS medical school applications, are shown below. We encourage individuals with disabilities or who may be from economically, socially, culturally and/or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds to apply to our Program. Yale is committed to providing an accessible and inclusive environment to individuals with disabilities by ensuring that appropriate academic and technical accommodations are available to students. Please contact the MD-PhD Office and Student Accessibility Services for further information. U.S. citizens, permanent residents, refugees, asylees, DACA recipients and international students are all eligible to apply for admission to the MD-PhD Program.

1 Brass LF, Fitzsimonds RM, Akabas MH. Gaps between college and starting an MD-PhD program are adding years to physician-scientist training time. JCI Insight. 2021;e156168 [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

Demographics of Current Students AY 2023-2024
This chart illustrates the demographics of the 158 students currently enrolled in the program. A geographic heat map of the cities where the current students attended undergraduate institutions demonstrates that our Program recruits students from all over the United States and U.S. territories. The self-identified racial makeup of the current students is plotted in the second panel, showing 44% of students identify as white, 31% are Asian, 16% are Black or African American, and 1% are American Indian or Alaska Native. 9% self-identify as other, or prefer not to specify. Pie charts illustrate that 52% of current students are female, 47% are male and 1% are another gender identity; 27% are from ethic/racial groups that are underrepresented in medicine; 29% are from disadvantaged backgrounds and 8% are first-generation college graduates.

Yale's MD-PhD Program grants full consideration to students who plan to pursue a PhD program in departments that are part of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS), the School of Public Health (YSPH), School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and some departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). Please click on the links for more information on specific PhD programs. Current students are pursuing their PhD training in the following programs and departments.

PhD Program/Department # PhD Program/Department #
Anthropology* 1 History of Science and Medicine* 3
Applied Mathematics 1 Immunobiology 22
Biomedical Engineering 8 INP: Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program 26
C&MP: Cellular & Molecular Physiology 7 MBB: Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry 1
Chemistry 1 MCDB: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology 1
Computational Biology & Bioinformatics 1 Microbiology Graduate Program 4
EPH: Chronic Disease Epidemiology 1 NIH-GPP 1
EPH: Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases 6 Not yet affiliated 39
EPH: Health Policy Management 2 Pharmacology 1
Experimental Pathology Program 8 Religious Studies* 1
Genetics 18 Translational Biomedicine 1
*"non-traditional" PhD programs Grand Total 154