The Doctorate of Medicine and of Philosophy (MD–PhD) is a dual doctoral degree for physician–scientists. MD-PhD candidates pursue this education to gain in-depth training in modern biomedical research and clinical medicine. The PhD may be awarded in a variety of disciplines within the biomedical sciences, as well as social and behavioral sciences, epidemiology, and public health to name a few. This dual career offers opportunities to work directly with patients, but also to impact large groups of people by advancing medical knowledge and developing new treatments.

Professional Association:
American Physician Scientists Association (APSA)

MD-PhD Programs

The MD-PhD degree is granted by medical schools often through the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) or other non-MSTP MD-PhD programs. MD-PhD students enter an integrated curriculum intended to take 7-8 years during which they complete the requirements for both the MD and the PhD. The curriculum includes:

  • Summer laboratory rotations
  • Medical and graduate school coursework
  • Doctoral research
  • Clinical activities
Years 1 - 2 Years 3 - 6 Years 7 -8 Integration of
Medicine and Science
Mostly Medical
Some Medical School Mostly Medical
Some Graduate School Mostly Graduate
Some Graduate School

MD-PhD: Is it Right for Me?

Are you inspired by making new research discoveries?
Do you exhibit the persistence to see a long-term project through?
Do you display a keen sense of curiosity?
Are you drawn to clinical work and rewarded by the opportunity to offer a healing hand?
Are you prepared for a career in which you will spend most of your time doing research, in addition to caring for patients?
Are you passionate about research and certain that it will be an important part of your career?

AAMC MD-PhD: Is It Right for Me? 
AAMC MD-PhD in the Social Sciences or Humanities: Is it Right for Me? 
Weill-Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program Podcasts

Career Paths

The majority of MD-PhD graduates go on to complete clinical residencies and fellowship training (3-7 years additional training, depending on specialty). Upon completion of training, career pathways may include work within:

  • Academic medical centers / schools
  • Research institutions such as the NIH
  • Pharmaceutical or biotechnical industry
  • Academic, government, industry, or private organization leadership roles


There are over 100 MD-PhD programs, 44 of which are supported by the National Institutes of Health and referred to as Medical Scientist Training Programs (MSTPs). Most programs offer financial support through stipends and tuition waivers.

MD-PhD Degree Programs by State
MD-PhD Program Policies

How do I explore research and gain experience?

MD-PhD Summer Undergraduate Research Programs
Research Opportunities
Research Opportunity Recent Notifications
UVA Undergraduate Research Network

Applicant Resources

AAMC Workshops for Prospective MD-PhD Applicants
AAMC Application and Acceptance Protocols for Applicants
MD-PhD Interviews and Revisits Calendar

More to Explore

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