Frequently Asked Questions
|A pressing need for medical scholars who are well trained in research continues. Opportunities for physician-scientists to teach and conduct research exist not only in medical schools but also in foundations, selected areas of government, and private industry. One path to these careers is through the Medical Scientist Training Program|
The MSTP is a dual M.D.-Ph.D. degree program which makes it possible for a small number of outstanding students to earn their doctor of medicine and doctor of philosophy degrees concurrently, typically in 8 years. The MSTP is designed primarily for students who are interested in a future career in academic medicine with a focus in basic research related to medicine. The Michigan MSTP is offered cooperatively by the Medical School and the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.
In the MSTP, the Ph.D. may be earned in any field that is relevant to medicine. The following doctoral programs are considered as the core fields in the MSTP: Bioinformatics, Biological Chemistry, Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Cell & Developmental Biology, Cellular & Molecular Biology, Chemical Biology, Human Genetics, Immunology, Medicinal Chemistry, Microbiology & Immunology, Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Molecular & Integrative Physiology, Neuroscience, and Pharmacology. However, other fields of specialization are possible, such as Biomedical Engineering, Epidemiology, and fields in the humanities and social sciences.
While some MSTP fellows enter the program with a firm idea of their research interests, others may have only a general idea of a field of specialization. A list of potential mentors for the core fields and their research areas is available. Fellows are encouraged to talk to those investigators whose work is of interest. Opportunities for laboratory rotations are available during the summer prior to medical school entrance and after the first and second years. Doctoral program advisors and MSTP staff help to counsel fellows in the selection of a field and a mentor. The designation of "MSTP" may be used in place of a doctoral field until one is established.
The medical portion of the education of an MSTP fellow is the same as that of a standard program student, except that the duration of the required clinical clerkships is reduced to 68 weeks. Customarily, the MSTP fellow achieves candidacy and undertakes the dissertation research between the medical school years II and III.
The Medical School curriculum focuses on the fundamentals of the basic sciences and normal organ system function in year I. This provides a foundation for disease-based sequences and the study of abnormal organ system function in year II. Clinical Foundations of Medicine continues throughout years I and II to provide preparation in the techniques of history taking and physical examination, as well as to provide an orientation to the ethical, cultural, social, and behavioral aspects of medicine. Years III and IV of Medical School are devoted to practical clinical experiences through required and elective clerkships with weekly conferences to demonstrate clinical cases and to explore relevant basic science material in a clinical context.
Students selected for the MSTP receive full tuition, health insurance, and an annual stipend that currently is $28,500. Major support is received from a grant to the University from the National Institute for General Medical Sciences. Full or partial support may come from other sources as well.
Students may apply to the MSTP at the time they apply to the Medical School or during the fall terms of their first two years of medical education at UM. Students who have begun doctoral studies at UM may also apply during the fall terms of the first two years of the doctoral program.
Admission to the Program is highly competitive, and only a few new fellows are selected each year. The average over the last five years is 10-12 new fellows a year. Particular attention is given to the quality of an applicant's scientific preparation and research experience.
To be eligible for the MSTP, an applicant must be acceptable for admission to the Medical School. However, admission to the Medical School and admission to the MSTP are separate. Applicants who enter the Medical School, but who are not accepted into the MSTP, may resubmit their application during their first or second year of medical education.
It is difficult to provide a general answer to this question, but the following characteristics, descriptive of most MSTP fellows, might be used for criteria: (1) an excitement or curiosity about an area of the biomedical sciences which has led the applicant to pursue research; (2) commitment to a career in which both clinical practice and research are essential; (3) a realization that a dual degree program requires considerable training, hard work, and fortitude, and represents only a beginning; (4) a record of high academic motivation and achievement; (5) a sensitivity to human needs and a desire to be of service; and (6) U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. State of residency is not a factor in the admissions process.
Application to the Medical School should be made through the American Medical College Admission Service (AMCAS). Applications to the MSTP are accepted between June 1 and October 15 of the year prior to the one in which the student is seeking admission. For further information, you can email the MSTP Office or contact:
Medical Scientist Training Program
The University of Michigan Medical School
2965 Taubman Medical Library
1150 W. Medical Center Drive
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-5619
Telephone: (734) 764-6176
FAX: (734) 764-8180