Adham Bear and Valentine Ongeri look on as Stuart Abramson, M.D., Ph.D., examines a patient.
The Medical Scientist Training Program at Baylor College of Medicine requires a minimum of six years to fulfill the requirements for completion. Typically, you can finish MSTP training in seven or eight years. The overall training period depends on the time needed to complete graduate school course work and Ph.D. thesis research. A distinctive medical school curriculum approved for M.D./Ph.D. students offers sufficient flexibility to complete all medical studies in three years. If you wish to complete an optional lab rotation during the summer before starting medical school, every effort will be made to arrange this with the lab of your choice.
During the first two years in the program, students complete the 18-month pre-clinical basic science curriculum and six months of two to three clinical clerkships. This is the same schedule as all medical students. Specific courses and requirements have been developed for M.D./Ph.D. students to integrate their medical and graduate curriculum and to decrease time to degree.
During January of the second year in medical school, students select a specific department or program for their graduate studies. Formal and informal exchanges during the prior 18 months with fellow M.D./Ph.D. students, faculty members, graduate program directors and the MSTP director and co-directors provide students with valuable guidance about departmental opportunities. Once a student has made a departmental selection, the graduate department reviews the student's original application and replies with an official letter of acceptance.
After completing the first two years of medical school, students enter the graduate program for course work and thesis research. Each academic department specifies course requirements for completion of the Ph.D. degree. A portion of the pre-clinical curriculum in medical school is directly transferable to the graduate program as elective credit. The first year of graduate school includes class work and several laboratory rotations. During the second year of graduate school, students begin work in the lab of their chosen mentor and take their qualifying exams. A project is selected and research toward completion of the Ph.D. degree begins.
After successfully defending their thesis and receiving their Ph.D., students return to medical school to complete the clinical curriculum. It consists of 12-17 months of clinical rotations and electives. During this time students select a specialty for their residency, apply and interview. In March all students find out where they will complete their residency training.