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MD/PhD programs provide training in both medicine and research. They are specifically designed for those who want to become research physicians, also known as physician-investigators or physician-scientists.

The MD-PhD dual career is busy, challenging, rewarding, and offers opportunities to do good for many people by advancing knowledge, developing new treatments for diseases, and pushing back the boundaries of the unknown.**

Please click here for more information about MD/PhD training from AAMC. 

MSTP Programs

A Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) program is a special type of MD/PhD program supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. MSTP is very small and competitive. Nationwide, in any given year, only a tiny fraction of the roughly 17,000 students who begin their medical school are MSTP students.  There are fewer than fifty medical schools in the US that have MSTP programs. On the other hand, most of the 125 (MD) medical schools in the US have have MD/PhD programs. 

MSTP Links

Apart from selectivity and number of programs, as well as differences between the kinds of research students might pursue at individual schools, two basic differences between MSTP and regular MD/PhD appear to be:

  • Who can apply: Only US citizens or permanent residents are eligible for MSTP. Individual MD/PhD programs will vary as to whether or not they take international students.
  • Funding: MSTP is fully funded for six years; after six years arrangements will vary. Support is available for MD/PhD students but amount of, type of, and restrictions on support can vary from school to school.

What Do I Need To Get Into an MD/PhD OR MSTP Program?

  • You need everything that makes a student an excellent candidate for regular MD programs, and then some! (You need strong grades and MCAT scores) Applicants can be held to an even higher academic standard.
  • Excellent research experience is indispensible if you want to be a serious contender for acceptance to an MD/PhD program. Click here for information on how to get research experience.

  • Letters of recommendation from research supervisors are extremely important--you will probably need more than one. This is in addition to the usual letters of recommendation from professors.
  • Make sure that when the time for your application rolls around that you keep on top of your deadlines--there are additional application materials that you will need to request and complete.
  • Build up your verbal reasoning ability and your communication skills--both written and spoken.

What Should My Next Steps Be?

  • Find out about MD/PhD programs and MSTP programs in general as well as about the offerings of individual schools.
  • Get involved with research early in your undergraduate career. Stony Brook has resources for its students, and you should find out about topics that interest you on MEDLINE and at the Health Sciences Center Library.
  • Find out about what a career in academic medicine would be like through reading as well as attending lectures and events that pertain to academic medicine. Make sure to talk to your current research supervisor about your plans.
  • Remember that in addition to research, you still want to gain exposure to medicine that is beyond research. You should know what the world of the patient is like.
  • Keep in mind that there are other types programs that can get you involved in academic medicine or biomedical research. Stony Brook's medical school, for example, offers an MD degree with Recognition in Research. A good number of medical schools will offer analogous kinds of opportunities.

Research Resources
If you have made the decision to do research, you have a good number of resources to help you find the experience that is right for you. 
Click here for links and resources. 




 ** Taken from AAMC website: