The MD/PhD combined degree program at Boston University School of Medicine is structured to train medical-scientists for productive careers that contribute to the science of twenty-first century health care. We view the unique clinical experiences of each of our M1-2 students to be central stimulus that generates meaningful scientific questions that can be best explored by curiosity supplemented with adequate exploratory time during graduate school. Therefore, we place premiums on using both clinical and scientific training to create a synergistic learning environment that creates a unique student who is able to translate observations into focused inquiry. Our training produces a medical-scientist with the capacity to identify clinically-relevant questions that can be rigorously explored in a scientific setting. Boston University’s commitment to this mission is also reflected by our commitment to fully fund tuition of the program so that our students have limited financial obligations during their medical or graduate school training.
The program aims to produce graduates adequately trained to cope with the increasingly multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary nature of research in the basic medical sciences. It is anticipated, but not required, that students will elect to carry out their Ph.D. training and research in one of the basic medical sciences of their choosing. As a direct result of this broad-based scientific training atmosphere and a sense of mission, as well as unparalleled opportunities to care for underserved patients, our highly sought after MD/PhD graduates enter prestigious residency programs and pursue productive careers in academia, scientific research and industry. We strive to support the education of leaders to build an integrated community between the potentially disparate cultures of cutting edge biomedical research and sound clinical practice.
The MD/PhD combined degree program provides each of our students with substantial opportunities to integrate basic science and clinical training throughout the graduate and medical school years. Students in the preclinical basic sciences attend specially tailored classes with MD/PhD Co-Directors that challenge them to design research questions based on current patients whose care is limited by inadequate scientific understanding to inform treatment. Students in the graduate science years continue to practice clinical reasoning, see patients and are actively mentored by internal medicine residents in the clinical educator tract at BUMC. Similarly, students in their clinical years participate in seminars on translational and scientific research, clinical trial design and also participate in the vibrant MD/PhD community in which internal mentorship is key.
Throughout this experience, students in our program attend scientific meetings and social events designed to foster leadership skills, participate in a self-governing student body with other MD/PhD students, and are broadly integrated into the scientific community of BUSM and the Boston University Medical Campus.