Medical Scientist Training Program

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Program Structure

The dual-degree Medical Scientist Training Program equips students with the knowledge and experience necessary to succeed as physician-scientists. Students undergo a rigorous training schedule that combines the curricula of the medical school and graduate school. The MSTP remains dedicated to individualization of each student's training. Each trainee's program is tailored to fit his/her career interests. The program usually requires seven to eight years to complete.

The Medical Scientist Training Program at MCW offers students the opportunity to choose between two curriculum tracks. While incorporating the same training experiences, these tracks differ in their particular sequence of activities. A brief description of each track follows:

Traditional MSTP Curriculum

 

First two years: Next three or four years: Final two years:
Medical School Graduate School Medical School
  • Complete summer research rotations and identify thesis project
  • Complete basic science courses required for the MD degree
  • Complete independent research project and earn PhD degree
  • Participate in the Clinical Exposure During Research Program
  • Complete clinical clerkship requirements for the MD degree
  • Use elective time for additional research, if desired

 

Integrated MSTP Curriculum

 

First two years: Next three or four years: Final two years:
Medical School Graduate School Medical School
  • Complete summer research rotations and identify thesis project
  • Complete basic science courses required for the MD degree
  • Complete one core junior clerkship in the first two months
  • Complete independent research project and earn PhD degree
  • Complete three additional junior clerkships throughout the graduate school years
  • Complete remaining clinical clerkships required for the MD degree
  • Use increased elective time for additional research



Traditional MSTP Curriculum

Students following the traditional curriculum track begin their training in the medical school. During the first two years of the program, the trainee completes all the basic science coursework for the MD degree. In addition, he/she spends the summers preceding the first and second years of medical school in the research laboratory. These summer research rotations allow the trainee to identify a PhD faculty advisor and the laboratory to complete the PhD degree. The student takes USMLE Step 1 at the completion of the second year of medical school.

During the next three to four years, all requirements for the PhD degree are completed. In addition, the trainee participates in the MSTP Clinical Exposure During Research (CEDR) Program. In the CEDR Program, each trainee is matched with a clinical faculty member with similar research interests. The trainee shadows this mentor one afternoon a month in a hospital or clinic. This unique clinical exposure keeps trainees accustomed to patient care and facilitates the transition back to medical school after the PhD years.

For the final two years, the student returns to the medical school, where the clinical clerkships required for the MD degree are completed. Elective time may be used for continuing research.


Integrated MSTP Curriculum

The integrated curriculum track provides more extensive clinical exposure during the graduate school years than the traditional curriculum track. Often, students are concerned about retaining the information learned in the first two years through the graduate school years, when clinical exposure is limited. The integrated curriculum track addresses this issue by allowing a student to complete four or five required junior clerkships during the graduate school years.

The first two years of the integrated curriculum are identical to the first two years of the traditional curriculum. However, following the completion of the USMLE Step 1, the student postpones research for two months in order to complete one core junior clerkship, either Internal Medicine or Pediatrics. The student then enters the graduate school for three to four years to complete the requirements for the PhD degree. During these years, the student completes additional junior clerkships, such as Family Medicine and Clinical Procedure Rotations, at the rate of one per year. Clerkships are completed over an extended period of time so that the trainee can remain focused on the thesis research.

Following the completion of the PhD degree, the trainee completes the remaining clinical clerkships required for the MD degree. The student has additional elective time for continuing research because several clerkships were completed previously.

 

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Page Updated 06/18/2012