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MD/PhD Program

MD/PHD PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Texas A&M School of Medicine offers a combined training program leading to both MD and PhD degrees. The purpose of this program is to provide research training for highly motivated medical students planning careers in academic medicine.

To accomplish this, our program integrates the studies and requirements for both the MD and PhD. Students may pursue their PhD degree in the School of Medicine Medical Sciences Program, or in other Texas A&M University PhD programs broadly related to biomedicine. PhD degrees in non-traditional programs, for example political science or architecture, may be undertaken provided that the particular research project can be related to biomedicine.

Our partnership with Houston Methodist Hospital provides our students with outstanding clinical training and patient-centered research opportunities. Such training produces medical scientists with a valuable, and well-balanced, ability to relate their study of clinical medicine with basic biomedical science and provide unique insights into human disease processes.

The MD/PhD program typically requires seven to eight years to complete. Students entering the program are enrolled in the summer semester five weeks prior to medical school orientation. Additionally, all MD/PhD students are required to participate in MSCI 620/920 (The Scientific Basis of Medicine) and are encouraged to attend at least one research seminar per week to assist in identifying a major discipline area for graduate training. These aspects also further develop critical analysis skills as well as facilitate interaction and dialogue between peers and MD/PhD trained faculty.

Lastly, we are dedicated to developing outstanding physician-scientists who excel in their field and are competitive at the national, and international level. To this end, the program is designed to meet the individual educational needs of students while promoting excellence.

Contact

 
Dr. Julian Leibowitz 
MD/PhD Program Director 
Phone: 979.436.0311 
jleibowitz@tamu.edu

MD/PHD PROGRAM DIRECTOR'S LETTER

Welcome to the Texas A&M School of Medicine MD/PhD Program. Our program offers a combined training program leading to a dual MD and PhD degree. We provide excellent training for students who desire to pursue careers as physician-scientists and make contributions to the advancement of science and medicine.

Our graduates are competitive at a national level and have matched at major residency programs. Additionally, students have the opportunity to pursue their PhD in the School of Medicine Medical Sciences Program or in other Texas A&M University PhD programs broadly related to biomedicine. PhD degrees in non-traditional programs, for example political science or architecture, may be undertaken provided that the particular research project can be related to biomedicine. Our partnership with Methodist Hospital in Houston provides our students with outstanding clinical training and patient-centered research opportunities.

The MD/PhD program accepted its first student in 1992 and has many features which make it excellent for combined clinical and research training as well as an overall well-rounded experience. For example, we have developed an active weekly Journal Club (MSCI 620/920 [The Scientific Basis of Medicine]) for all our MD/PhD students. Offered as a one credit elective, this course provides students the opportunity to critically analyze scientific and medical literature and facilitate dialogue between their peers and MD/PhD trained faculty. This component is just one aspect that emphasizes our concern and involvement with the development of each student throughout their training - which typically lasts an average of eight years.

It is an exciting time in medicine as great strides in medical research are being translated into powerful therapeutic and diagnostic tools to improve patient care. Our students, and graduates of the program, are on the forefront of these changes. It is more and more apparent how highly-trained physician-scientists with abilities in basic science and clinical medicine are critical to these advances. The continuing improvement in medicine depends on such individuals, and our program is committed to training future leaders in both disciplines. The success of our students indicates the effectiveness of our program. The faculty take considerable pride in their achievements.

Please feel free to contact me, our MD/PhD Program associate director, or our students with questions or comments about our MD/PhD program.

Dr. Julian Leibowitz, MD, PhD
MD/PhD Program Director
jleibowitz@tamu.edu

Carolyn Cannon, MD, PhD

MD/PhD Program Associate Director

carolyn.cannon@tamu.edu

CURRICULUM TRACKS

MD/PhD students may choose from two curriculum track options when completing their degree requirements.

In Option 1, students cover the basic medical sciences in the medical school curriculum in their preclinical training period, then begin their PhD work. After completing the PhD requirements, students finish their clinical clerkships and the fourth year of medical school.

Option 2 allows students to complete three years of medical school prior to PhD training. Sufficient research time is integrated into the clinical clerkship period, allowing students to complete a second research rotation. After clinical clerkships, students begin their PhD work, then complete the fourth year of medical school.

MD/PHD PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

GPA

Students are required to complete the Texas A&M School of Medicine curriculum. Additionally, students are required to maintain at least a 75 average during their first year of medical school, a cumulative average of 77.5 by the end of their preclinical training, and an 80 average thereafter.

Journal Club Elective

During the preclinical years in medical school, and throughout their graduate school training, MD/PhD students are required to attend the one credit elective course MSCI 620/920 (The Scientific Basis of Medicine), often referred to as the Journal Club. During the M1 year of their medical school training, students will be registered for this course by the MD/PhD program coordinator. However, students may register for the course at any time during their graduate years.

Credit Hours

Students in the graduate portion of their training are required to complete a minimum of 64 credit hours towards their PhD. At a minimum, this will consist of:

  • A minimum of 15 graded credit hours of formal courses;
  • 3 credit hours of seminar; and
  • Research hours necessary to bring the total number of credits to 64 credit hours.

Depending on the graduate program and the recommendations of the student's advisory committee, the requirements for the number of credit hours may be higher.

Research

In addition to course work, students are required to:

  • Pass a preliminary examination for entering official candidacy for a PhD;
  • Defend and file a research proposal;
  • Complete their doctoral research; and
  • Write and defend their dissertation.

HOW TO APPLY

To be considered for admission to the MD/PhD Program, the following is required:

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in the United States and/or its territories;
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency (Green Card holders). However, Canadian students are considered for admission provided they have successfully completed 90 credit hours or earned a baccalaureate degree at a fully accredited Canadian college or university;
  • An outstanding academic record: The mean undergraduate GPA for matriculating students over the past 3 years has been 3.65 with a range of 2.95-3.99;
  • An above average MCAT performance: The mean MCAT overall score for the past 3 years has been at the 94th percentile and the range has been between the 84th and 99th percentile.
  • Research experience; and
  • Interviews with members of the MD/PhD Steering Committee and the College of Medicine Admissions Committee.

APPLICATION

Primary MD Application

Submit a primary application to the MD/PhD Program through AMCAS. AMCAS applications open on June 1. Should you want to be considered for the MD only program, the MDPlus program, or the ENMED program, you will have the opportunity to do so by checking the appropriate boxes in the Secondary Application.

Secondary Application

You will receive an e-mail invitation with instructions on how to fill out the secondary application when we receive your verified AMCAS application.

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants to the MD/PhD Program must provide three letters of recommendation, at least one of which must be from a research mentor. Letters of recommendation should be submitted through AMCAS.

CASPER TEST

All applicants to the Texas A&M University College of Medicine are required to complete a mandatory online 90-minute computer-based test (CASPer™). CASPer is an online test which assesses for non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and a career in medicine. Successful completion of CASPer is mandatory in order to maintain admission eligibility.

More details, including CASPer registration, test dates, and fees, is listed in the MD Program Admissions requirements.

INTERVIEW

Interviews for the MD/PhD program are conducted the day prior to interviews for admission to the medical school. Applicants are reviewed by the College of Medicine Admissions Committee and ranked by the MD/PhD Program Selection Committee. Accepted students are invited back for a second visit to meet faculty with research programs in the student's area of interest.

Applicants will NOT be considered for interview until the primary and secondary applications, including the MD/PhD Supplemental Application, have been properly completed, the secondary payment of $60 is received, and the CASPer test has been scheduled.

TRANSFER ADMISSION

Current Texas A&M School of Medicine students may also elect to transfer into the program during the first, second, or third year of medical school. Transfer students should have established a strong record of academic performance and have appropriate research experience. These students will be interviewed by members of the MD/PhD Steering Committee and have their applications reviewed by the MD/PhD Program Selection Committee.

 

DATES AND DEADLINES

Application Opens

June 1, 2022

Interview Period

Begins September 14, 2022

MD/PhD Application Deadline

(AMCAS and Secondary Applications must be received by this date to be considered.)

November 1, 2022, 5 p.m. CT

Rolling Acceptances Period

October 14, 2022 - January 31, 2023

 



FINANCIAL SUPPORT

The MD/PhD program is supported by the Texas A&M School of Medicine. Students are supported by a scholarship during their medical school years and an assistantship during their PhD training.

In addition to covering applicable tuition and fees, a yearly stipend of $30,000 is provided during the medical and graduate school studies. Financial support is provided from a mixture of institutional funds and the PhD mentor’s research funding. Your career preparation and overall professional development are very important. To show support, funds are available, at the discretion of the program's administration, for professional development opportunities such as annual MD/PhD National Conferences and annual American Physician Scientist Association (APSA) meetings.