Curricular Requirements

Students are required to meet key program milestones, register for all required courses, and complete all general program requirements to ensure timely completion of the degree. The requirements include MD curricular requirements, PhD curricular requirements and MSTP-specific course requirements.

Pre-clinical Years

The integrated MD/PhD curriculum begins during the fall of the first year with a course called Biomedical Science for MD/PhDs. This course builds on the first year of medical school curriculum using lectures, tutorials, and graduate-level journal clubs—and continues into the spring semester. During this time, students will also take our Art and Science of Medicine course, which includes central patient care experience, and Longitudinal Clinical Experience.

PhD Years

During the PhD portion of MD/PhD training, students will pursue advanced courses that match their training area and interests. Advanced coursework is selected in consultation with and with approval by their Multidisciplinary Training Area (MTA) Director.

In the fall of the third year in the program (1st year in the PhD-phase), students will work with their thesis advisor to develop a thesis proposal. After developing the proposal, students will sit for an examination to defend this proposal which can then be submitted for an NIH F30/31 application.

While in the PhD portion of the program, MD/PhD will be able to maintain their clinical skills through our Clinical Exposure course. For this course, students will perform three rotations through any of the clinical disciplines from the last two years of medical school, such as medicine, neurosurgery, pediatrics, and psychiatry. This will help students refresh and enhance their patient interviewing, physical exam, and presentation skills.

During your PhD years, MD/PhD students may also choose to maintain and hone their clinical skills through the East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership (EHHOP). EHHOP is a free, student-run clinic for uninsured patients in East Harlem, sponsored by the Mount Sinai Health System. Every Saturday, volunteer medical students function as primary care providers under the supervision of volunteer attending physicians. EHHOP provides an outstanding opportunity for medical students to “learn by doing” in a supportive, educational environment. MD/PhD students in their PhD phase have long played an important role at EHHOP. Recently, a formal Physician Scientist Track (PST) has been established for MD/PhD students within EHHOP, providing our MD/PhD students with the clinical information, skills, and confidence they need to excel during their clerkships.

Clinical Years

The MD/PhD program offers an eight-week MD/PhD Clinical Refresher course, designed to help facilitate the transition from PhD work to clinical practice. In addition, InFocus5 (formerly Clinical Skills Week) will help orient students to the policies and procedures of clerkship rotations. As a third-year medical student, training will focus on clinical rotations combined with 10 weeks of elective career exploration or additional research time.

Students will apply and interview for residency programs during the fourth and final year. During this year students will receive ample elective time and the ability to design a course tailored to student interests and professional goals. This flexibility, along with rotations at potential residency sites, scholarly work at other institutions, and longitudinal clinical experiences will give MD/PhD students the experience and training needed to succeed as a resident.

Students who do not meet program deadlines will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including academic probation and expulsion. The maximum time limit for completing all PhD degree requirements is seven years after matriculation. The dissertation advisor must petition the Dean of the Graduate School in writing for permission to extend their student status in the PhD-phase and the MD/PhD Program. Students can find a detailed roadmap of all essential milestones for the MD/PhD program here.

Alternative Timelines

The MD/PhD program offers tremendous flexibility, when it comes to the timeline students follow for their training. The traditional path that the majority of students take is to complete their first and second years of medical school (Preclinical), followed by their four-year PhD (extenuating circumstances can be observed by program leadership to elongate the duration of the PhD), and lastly the final two years of medical school (Clinical). This is the designated, traditional “2-4-2” path. Alternatives to this timeline are possible, such as a “1-4-3” or “3-4-1” timeline, but permission must be granted by the program leadership.

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