Combined M.D./Ph.D. Program
The M.D./Ph.D. program at New York Medical College is intended to provide the opportunity for research-oriented medical students to pursue both these degrees. The program is designed to allow maximal flexibility for students to integrate the two programs.
Medical students at NYMC who are interested in research and are seriously considering a career as a physician-scientist should begin research as early as possible, preferably during the summer between the first and second years of medical school. A Medical Student Research Elective Program, which is funded and administered by the Student Affairs Office of the medical school, provides stipends for this purpose. This research experience is particularly important in that it will help the student identify a sponsor for their subsequent dissertation research. Therefore, undertaking this summer research with a member of the Graduate Faculty at NYMC is most strongly recommended.
Students are not formally admitted to the Ph.D. program until they have successfully completed all of the preclinical subjects of the medical curriculum and Part I of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Students having academic difficulty of any sort, including deficiency in a single course, should not participate in dual-degree programs, extracurricular activities that require a significant amount of time expenditure, or gainful employment without discussing the matter with the Dean of Students as well as with the MD/PhD program director and obtaining approval for such activities.
Medical students interested in the MD/PhD program are encouraged to begin discussions with the MD/PhD program director (see the contact below) and program directors in the academic departments of most interest to the student early in their pre-clinical years. As noted above, a research experience during the summer between years 1 and 2 is of great benefit. Formal application takes place in the Fall of the student’s second year of medical school, with a complete application and all supporting documentation due in the Graduate School Admissions office by November 1.
In a typical case, the student begins full-time graduate work in the summer following the second year. The course requirements for the Ph.D. are established by the department of the chosen concentration, and generally amount to about 9-16 credits, plus certain non-graded courses such as journal clubs, research rotations, and research seminars. Comprehensive qualifying examinations for the Ph.D. are identical to those given to other Ph.D. students, but may be scheduled after either one or two years of graduate study, depending upon the student’s readiness for the exam.
The student prepares a dissertation research proposal and undertakes an independent research project, under the supervision of a dissertation sponsor and the guidance of a dissertation committee, according to the usual Graduate School rules and procedures. The student’s dissertation committee determines the point where the investigative work is considered complete and the dissertation itself may be written and defended. The Office of Student Affairs and Office of Undergraduate Medical Education works with the student in facilitating the entry to the clinical rotations and in guiding any recommended refreshing of clinical skills needed for this undertaking.
The program is designed so that both degrees are awarded concurrently by the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences at the time the student completes his or her entire medical school curriculum.
Financial aid in the form of a full tuition scholarship is provided for graduate school study, and the standard Ph.D. candidate stipend is paid during the period of full-time graduate work.
A summary of the M.D./ Ph.D. program for medical students is as follows:
First Two Years of Program: Medical student explores the Ph.D. program options during the first or second year; opportunity for summer research between first and second year; formal application by November 1 of second year; final acceptance for Ph.D. program contingent upon successful completion of USMLE, Step 1.
Research Period (Three to Four Years): Graduate school courses and full-time research, during which the student receives full tuition scholarship support and a graduate school stipend. Most students complete this stage in three years. Because of the unpredictability of research progress, however, some students may need part or all of a fourth year to complete the PhD component of the program. It is possible, but exceedingly rare, to complete this component in as little as 2½ years.
Final Two Years of Program: Clinical rotations and electives.
N.B. Application to the M.D./ Ph.D. program at New York Medical College is distinct from application by Ph.D. candidates wishing to apply to the medical school. A number of students who have completed the Ph.D. at New York Medical College have been accepted to the medical school. The key characteristic of the program described herein is that the admission process for each school is independent. Thus, the admission of a medical student to one of the graduate programs requires approval of the graduate school; likewise, acceptance of graduate students to medical studies requires approval of the medical school. The School of Medicine has established that acceptance of a Ph.D. candidate to the medical school is conditional upon the completion of all Ph.D. requirements.
All interested students should contact directly the MD/PhD program director.
M.D./Ph.D. Program Director:
Libor Velíšek, MD, PhD
Professor of Cell Biology & Anatomy
Professor of Pediatrics
Basic Science Building, A20
Page updated: April 25, 2012