MD Programs

Washington University School of Medicine offers several programs and combined degree programs:

  • Doctor of Medicine (four-year program)
  • Doctor of Medicine (five-year program)
  • Doctor of Medicine and Master of Arts
  • Doctor of Medicine and Master of Science in Clinical Investigation
  • Doctor of Medicine and Master of Population Health Sciences
  • Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health
  • Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy (MSTP)

Doctor of medicine

By conferring the MD degree, the University certifies that the student is competent to undertake a career as a doctor of medicine. It certifies further that, in addition to medical knowledge and skills, the graduate possesses qualities of personality — compassion, emotional stability and a responsible attitude — essential to an effective professional life.

Four-year program

A course of medical education for the MD degree ordinarily consists of a minimum of four years of study. Students recommended for the Doctor of Medicine degree must be of good moral character, they must have completed an entire academic course of instruction as matriculated medical students, they must have passed all required subjects or the equivalent and have received satisfactory grades in the work of the full academic course, and they must have discharged all current indebtedness to the University. The School requires that students take the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 (CS and CK) examinations. All students must take and pass the School’s Comprehensive Clinical Examination (CCX) prior to graduation.

At the end of the final academic year, students who have fulfilled these requirements will be eligible for the MD degree.

Five-year program

In addition to the regular four-year program leading to the MD degree and the MD/MA degree program, students are permitted to spend one additional year in an academic program in a medical or medically related field. In exceptional circumstances, a further additional year may be permitted. The student may receive a stipend but may not be considered an employee of the University. The program must be arranged with an academic adviser and is subject to the approval of the Associate Dean for Medical Student Research. The Student Research Opportunities brochure provides additional important information about participating in this program. Students enrolled in the five-year program must maintain coverage through Student Health while in St. Louis.

Doctor of medicine and master of arts

The objective of the MD/MA program is to provide one full year of individual, full-time, in-depth research experience for medical students in preparation for a career in academic medicine. Program participants absent themselves from medical school and spend 12 months working on basic biomedical research or hypothesis-driven clinical research in the lab of a faculty member. Degree requirements include a presentation before a research advisory committee, submission of a publication-quality manuscript and participation in a research ethics seminar.

No academic credit toward the MD degree will be given, but research may be continued as senior elective for credit. Fellowship stipends and other support are available through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (basic science research), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (GI, hepatology, endocrinology, nutrition, nephrology and hematology research), and the Clinical Research Training Center – Predoctoral Program (clinical research). Students unable to qualify for one of these awards may also apply for Institutional Funding. Funding amounts may vary, and some of these sources have deadlines in early January. Please contact the MD/MA program administrator at (314) 362-7190 or visit the website at for details.

Doctor of medicine and master of science in clinical investigation

The School of Medicine offers a combined MD/MSCI program.  Please visit the MSCI section of this site for more information.

Doctor of medicine and master of population health sciences

The School of Medicine offers a combined MD/MPHS program. Please visit MPHS section of the Bulletin for more information.

Doctor of medicine and master of public health

The School of Medicine offers a combined MD/MPH program. Please visit the MPH section of the Bulletin for more information.

Doctor of medicine and doctor of philosophy (MSTP)

Washington University offers a combined MD/PhD degree program that draws on the resources of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine under the auspices of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). The purpose of the program is to train individuals in medicine and biomedical research to prepare them for careers as physician scientists. The program was inaugurated in 1969 and is one of the oldest and largest in the country. The program, normally completed in seven or eight years, has been highly successful; more than 80 percent of those who have completed postgraduate training are actively involved in research programs at leading institutions.

All students in the program receive financial support in the form of stipends (currently $29,500 per year), health coverage, disability and life insurance, and full tuition remission for both the MD and PhD phases of training.

Only students who have spent the equivalent of at least two years or four semesters in laboratory research should apply to the Medical Scientist Training Program. Applicants must meet the requirements for admission to both the School of Medicine and the graduate program of their choice. The Graduate Record Examination is not required. Students planning to concentrate in disciplines related to the chemical or physical sciences should have completed mathematics through calculus, physics and physical chemistry, and advanced organic chemistry. A course in differential equations also is recommended. For those students whose major interests are in the more biological aspects of medical science, the quantitative requirements for chemistry are less extensive, but a strong background in mathematics, chemistry and physics is still important. Although most individuals enter the program as first-year students, applications will be accepted from students in their first or second year at this medical school. The program matriculates approximately 25 new students each year, which represents one-fifth of the entering medical school class.

The program consists of three parts: 1) two years of an enhanced medical curriculum, 2) at least three years of original research toward a thesis to satisfy the requirements for the PhD degree, and 3) at least 15 months of clinical training based on a student’s career goals. Both degrees are awarded upon the completion of the program.

While the Medical Scientist Training Program includes all medical courses required for the MD degree, it incorporates a high degree of flexibility for individuals through a wide range of electives and graduate courses, some of which may be taken during the first year of the medical curriculum. Every effort is made to individualize each student’s curriculum based on previous background and current interests. The medical and PhD curricula are integrated, which permits students to take PhD course work in lieu of certain medical school course work. In this way, students may substantially meet the course work requirements of the PhD program during the first two medical school years.

The MSTP Committee monitors the performance of each student, and a high scholastic standing as well as a commitment to research is expected.

Students normally spend between three and five years in doctoral studies satisfying the following requirements:

  1. Completion of required graduate course work;
  2. Successful performance in qualifying examinations;
  3. Execution of original research suitable for a dissertation;
  4. Defense of the thesis; and
  5. Completion of a teaching assistantship.

The PhD degree may be obtained in the Program in Biomedical Engineering, the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences or in other research-oriented departments such as Anthropology or Physics. The largest contingent of MSTP students is trained under the auspices of the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences. The division, now in its 44th year, is a leader in interdisciplinary biomedical education. Member departments of the division include all clinical and preclinical departments of the medical school, as well as the Departments of Biology and Chemistry. These departments jointly provide training in the following interdisciplinary programs:

  • Biochemistry
  • Computational and Molecular Biophysics
  • Computational and Systems Biology
  • Developmental, Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology
  • Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology
  • Human and Statistical Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Molecular Genetics and Genomics
  • Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis
  • Neurosciences
  • Plant Biology

The MSTP also permits students to undertake doctoral studies in other disciplines, provided that the resulting thesis is a rigorous, hypothesis-based body of work that is medically relevant.

A series of weekly seminars featuring physician scientists is held for MD/PhD students. These seminars are aimed at stimulating student interest in clinical medicine, increasing awareness of major research problems in clinical medicine and exposing students to diverse career paths in academic medicine.

MD/PhD students attend an annual weekend retreat during which students present their research. The retreat also features discussions led by experts on topics selected by students.

To keep students in the PhD phase of training up to date on their clinical skills, monthly opportunities are offered for clinical interactions. Students are matched individually with a clinical mentor in the specialty of their choice. These interactions include going on rounds and attending conferences.

A two-week non-graded tutorial for MD/PhD students facilitates their transition into the clinical phase of training.

MSTP students are required to complete a minimum of 15 months of clinical training. Opportunities exist to meet part of the requirement while engaged in PhD training. Students may opt to extend clinical training up to 22 months. The intensive clinical training is the last formal requirement for the MD degree.

Application Procedure: Individuals interested in applying to the Medical Scientist Training Program must complete the MD-PhD section on the AMCAS and the Washington University School of Medicine secondary application. The MSTP requires letters of recommendation from the applicant’s research mentor(s).

Individuals wishing additional information about the program may contact:

Medical Scientist Training Program
Washington University School of Medicine
Campus Box 8226
660 S. Euclid Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110-1093
(800) 852-4625