Program overview

About the Program

The MD/PhD program at the Wayne State University School of Medicine is aimed at a few highly motivated individuals. Our program combines outstanding scientific training with state-of-the-art clinical medicine to train individuals as physician-scientists, excelling in careers in research and education. Our program is uniquely structured to integrate clinical and scientific experiences through all years of training.

Program Overview

Recognizing that the goal of MD/PhD graduates is to pursue careers as clinician-scientists, the mission of the Wayne State University's MD/PhD program is to provide a truly integrated clinical and scientific training experience to our students through all years of the MD/PhD program. Our program is designed to meet the individual needs of each student.

A new component of our program is the offering of an optional Graduate Certificate in Clinical and Translational Science for MD/PhD students.

Integrated Curriculum Overview



Years 1 and 2

Our program begins in the first week in June prior to the start of the M.D. program of the matriculating year. In the fall of Year 1, students begin the M.D. program with the traditional M.D. class. MD/PhD activities continue through the entire academic year, and consist of a series of seminars in biomedical research and clinical areas by WSU faculty and invited guest speakers, career development activities, journal clubs and works-in-progress by MD/PhD students involved in research.

In the Winter semester, students are expected to present results from their summer research rotations at an MD/PhD annual retreat. Students will continue to identify potential research mentors for their second summer research rotation which will begin at the end of Year 1. While not required, it is recommended that students complete a third summer research rotation at the end of Year 2; however, a student can choose to pursue dissertation research with a specific mentor at the end of the second research rotation, with approval from the program director. Regardless, the student must choose the research laboratory by the end of the third summer research rotation.

Students must take the USMLE Step 1 examination at the end of the Winter semester of Year 2. Students must pass this test before they can start the graduate training. Two attempts to pass the USMLE Step1 examination are permitted. Failure to pass the USMLE Step 1 will result in removal of the student from the MD/PhD program; such a student can, however, continue in the traditional M.D. program. Following successful passage of the USMLE Step 1 examination, the student will begin graduate training.


Years 3-5

MD/PhD students begin their graduate coursework and research projects by the Fall of Year 3. The student progress is reviewed by the Research Mentor, the Thesis Committee, as well as annually by the MD/PhD student progress review committee.

Unique to Wayne State University's MD/PhD program is the introduction of the Integrated Clinical Experience during graduate training. Beginning in the third year of the program from January through June for one half-day per week, students participate in one continuity clinic. For two years of the program, students can select a clinic of their choice and interest; for example, a student interested in Neuroscience can attend a Neurology clinic. In the fifth year of the program, students attend a graded Family Medicine continuity care clinic.

Students are expected to complete all graduation requirements for the Ph.D. program and all Integrated Clinical Experience requirements before proceeding to the final portion of their training. This portion of the training is flexible, but is expected to be completed in 3-4 years.


Years 6 and 7

MD/PhD students return to the traditional third year of the M.D. program in one of three entry points: July 1, September 1, or January 1 of the academic year.

Unique to Wayne State University's MD/PhD program is the introduction of the Integrated Research Experience during these clinical training years. MD/PhD students will be allowed to take up to three months of research electives during these two years, as credit for the Integrated Clinical Experience completed during graduate training.

Students must complete all other requirements of the traditional third and fourth years of the M.D. program. Students must also pass USMLE Step 2 Clinical Knowledge and Clinical Skills Examinations.

Both the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees will be conferred simultaneously upon successful passage of all MD/PhD degree requirements.