Combined MD/PhD Program

The Combined MD/PhD degree program is offered by the School of Medicine and Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS). This program is designed for, and open to, highly qualified individuals who are strongly motivated toward an education and a career in both medicine and research.

The purpose of the program is to provide students with the opportunity to obtain advanced education and research training in one of the medical sciences while providing exposure to and training in clinical medicine. It is anticipated, but not required, that students will elect to carry out their PhD training and research in one of the basic (preclinical) medical sciences; however, the program is designed to allow students considerable freedom of choice.

The program expects to produce graduates adequately trained to cope with the increasingly multi- and interdisciplinary nature of teaching and research in the basic medical sciences, as well as graduates who will enter residency programs with a sufficient background in basic science to allow them to pursue productive careers in clinical research.

The program requires a minimum of 7 years and an average of 8.5 years of study to complete both the MD and PhD degrees, depending on the applicability of basic science courses in the School of Medicine curriculum to course requirements of the area in which study for the PhD is undertaken.


Information on eligibility requirements and application procedures is given below.


It is anticipated that MD PhD applicants will apply for admission to the program as first-year students.  The applicant must meet the requirements for admission to both the School of Medicine as a candidate for the MD degree, and Graduate Medical Sciences as a candidate for the PhD degree. The minimum entrance requirements and the prerequisite courses for the School of Medicine are the same as those for Graduate Medical Sciences. Applicants for the MD/PhD Degree Program will be required to submit only the results of the Medical College Admission Test and not those of the Graduate Record Examination, which are normally required for admission to GMS. The applicant shall have completed the special prerequisites of the major department of GMS in which he or she is planning to specialize. Applicants must also have carried out research during their undergraduate programs or have research experience.


Applications and instructions for submission of complete credentials are available from the Boston University School of Medicine, Office of Admissions, 72 East Concord Street, Building L, Room 124, Boston, MA 02118, for the Combined MD/PhD Degree Program. Applicants applying as first-year students will initially be screened for their admissibility to the School of Medicine using the same criteria for admission as for students applying only to the School of Medicine. After determination of acceptability for admission to the School of Medicine, application for the MD/PhD program will be submitted to Graduate Medical Sciences for processing through the normal channels for admission to GMS. One letter of evaluation from a member of the academic profession who has personal knowledge of the applicant’s qualifications for graduate study and research ability is required by the GMS to complete the application. Applicants applying while in residence in the School of Medicine or GMS should obtain application information from the Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Sciences.

Degree Requirements

The degree requirements for the Combined MD/PhD Degree Program are those of the separate degree requirements for the Doctor of Medicine in the School of Medicine and for the Doctor of Philosophy in Graduate Medical and Dental Sciences. For the MD degree, the student must be at least 21 years of age, must have fulfilled all the requirements for admission to the Boston University School of Medicine, and must give evidence of having been enrolled at BUSM at least four full academic years. For the PhD degree, the student must have fulfilled all the requirements for admission to GMS and give evidence of having been enrolled in GMS for at least an equivalent of two full academic years. In addition, the candidate must have fulfilled all the requirements for major and minor fields of specialization. Students enrolled in the combined MD/PhD program must complete the requirements for both degrees (except in unusual circumstances) before any degree will be awarded.

Students admitted directly to the MD/PhD program will begin their training with the first year of the regular School of Medicine curriculum. Upon completion of the first year, students in consultation with their program advisors may elect to continue with the regular School of Medicine curriculum or begin their graduate education and research training in the major departments or areas of specialization of their choice within GMS. In either case, by the end of the first year, the student in consultation with the Program Advisor will decide the sequence in which the regular School of Medicine and GMS program will be taken.

Students entering the Combined MD/PhD Degree Program from either the Medical School or GMS will follow a sequence designed (in consultation with the appropriate individuals within the Medical School and GMS) to meet their particular needs and to expedite the completion of the program. In all instances, the graduate curriculum of each student will be developed according to his or her particular needs as worked out in consultation with his or her major advisor and approved by the chairman of the respective department of GMS.

The following Departments/Programs are available for MD/PhD students:

Anatomy & Neurobiology
Behavioral Neuroscience
Biomedical Engineering
Biomedical Neuroscience
Biomolecular Pharmacology Training Program
Cell and Molecular Biology
Genetics & Genomics
Medical Nutrition Sciences
Molecular Medicine
Oral Biology
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics

For more detailed information on the MD/PhD Program, please visit our main website.