Overview

The Harvard/MIT MD-PhD Program at Harvard Medical School (HMS), sponsored primarily by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through its Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) since 1974, provides fellowship support for selected and highly qualified students who have elected to pursue both the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. The overall mission is to train the next generation of leading physician-scientists, with representation across a variety of clinical disciplines and research areas from basic and translational sciences to bioengineering to the social sciences.

The MD-PhD Program seeks to provide entering students with a thorough and up-to-date medical education combined with research training in laboratories of premier investigators at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). These students begin their training in the summer before the first year of medical school by taking a course called “Molecular Biology of Human Disease.” This class is especially designed to introduce the entering MD-PhD students to current disease-oriented research problems, and to develop their critical thinking skills. After the summer course, the education of the students usually follows a “2-4-2” model. The students join the entering medical school class to complete the preclinical years of medical school through either the HST or the New Pathway curriculum, followed by an anchoring clinical experience before entering the graduate phase of the program. During the first two years, students also try to meet some of the classroom requirements for the PhD within the constraints of the pre-clinical curriculum. In the graduate phase of the program, dissertation research can be carried out in any of a number of different departments or programs at Harvard or MIT, including biological, epidemiology and biomedical sciences, mathematics, physics, and various branches of engineering and chemistry and social sciences. After defending their theses, students return to HMS for their last two years of clinical rotations to complete the M.D. degree. To ease the transition back to the clinic, the program offers a Longitudinal Course in Clinical Medicine.

The program provides academic and mentoring support to approximately 175 students, taking advantage of a large, committed faculty. An extensive array of enrichment activities and para-curriculum supplement the core educational training of the dual degrees, and serve to foster community, provide career development, and facilitate the integration of patient care and research.

For information about admissions and funding, click here

Updated: July 8, 2014