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MD/PhD Program

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MD/PHD PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Texas A&M College of Medicine offers a combined training program leading to both MD and PhD degrees. The purpose of this program is to provide research training for highly motivated medical students planning careers in academic medicine.

To accomplish this, our program integrates the studies and requirements for both the MD and PhD. Students may pursue their PhD degree in the College of Medicine Medical Sciences Program, or in other Texas A&M University PhD programs broadly related to biomedicine. PhD degrees in non-traditional programs, for example political science or architecture, may be undertaken provided that the particular research project can be related to biomedicine.

Our partnership with Methodist Hospital in Houston provides our students with outstanding clinical training and patient-centered research opportunities. Such training produces medical scientists with a valuable, and well-balanced, ability to relate their study of clinical medicine with basic biomedical science and provide unique insights into human disease processes.

The MD/PhD program typically requires seven to eight years to complete. Students entering the program are enrolled in the summer semester eight weeks prior to medical school orientation. Additionally, all MD/PhD students are required to participate in MSCI 620/920 (The Scientific Basis of Medicine) and are encouraged to attend at least one research seminar per week to assist in identifying a major discipline area for graduate training. These aspects also further develop critical analysis skills as well as facilitate interaction and dialogue between peers and MD/PhD trained faculty.

Lastly, we are dedicated to developing outstanding physician-scientists who excel in their field and are competitive at the national, and international level. To this end, the program is designed to meet the individual educational needs of students while promoting excellence.

Contact

Mary Imran 
MD/PhD Program Coordinator
Phone: 979.436.0311 
imran@tamu.edu
Dr. Julian Leibowitz 
MD/PhD Program Director 
Phone: 979.436.0311 
leibowitz@tamu.edu

MD/PHD PROGRAM DIRECTOR'S LETTER

Welcome to the Texas A&M College of Medicine MD/PhD Program. Our program offers a combined training program leading to a dual MD and PhD degree. We provide excellent training for students who desire to pursue careers as physician-scientists and make contributions to the advancement of science and medicine.

Our graduates are competitive at a national level and have matched at major residency programs. Additionally, students have the opportunity to pursue their PhD in the College of Medicine Medical Sciences Program or in other Texas A&M University PhD programs broadly related to biomedicine. PhD degrees in non-traditional programs, for example political science or architecture, may be undertaken provided that the particular research project can be related to biomedicine. Our partnerships with Methodist Hospital in Houston and Baylor-Scott & White in Temple and Dallas provide our students with outstanding clinical training and patient-centered research opportunities.

The MD/PhD program accepted its first student in 1992 and has many features which make it excellent for combined clinical and research training as well as an overall well-rounded experience. For example, we have developed an active weekly Journal Club (MSCI 620/920 [ The Scientific Basis of Medicine]) for all of our MD/PhD students. Offered as a one credit elective, this course provides students the opportunity to critically analyze scientific and medical literature and facilitate dialogue between their peers and MD/PhD trained faculty. This component is just one aspect that emphasizes our concern and involvement with the development of each student throughout their training - which typically lasts an average of eight years.

It is an exciting time in medicine as great strides in medical research are being translated into powerful therapeutic and diagnostic tools to improve patient care. Our students, and graduates of the program, are on the forefront of these changes. It is more and more apparent how highly-trained physician-scientists with abilities in basic science and clinical medicine are critical to these advances. The continuing improvement in medicine depends on such individuals, and our program is committed to training future leaders in both disciplines. The success of our students indicates the effectiveness of our program. The faculty take considerable pride in their achievements.

Please feel free to contact me, our MD/PhD Program associate directors, or our students with questions or comments about our MD/PhD program.

Dr. Julian Leibowitz, MD, PhD 
MD/PhD Program Director 
leibowitz@medicine.tamhsc.edu

CURRICULUM TRACKS

MD/PhD students may choose from two curriculum track options when completing their degree requirements.

In Option 1, students cover the basic medical sciences in the medical school curriculum in their preclinical training period, then begin their PhD work. After completing the PhD requirements, students finish their clinical clerkships and the fourth year of medical school.

Option 2 allows students to complete three years of medical school prior to PhD training. Sufficient research time is integrated into the clinical clerkship period, allowing students to complete a second research rotation. After clinical clerkships, students begin their PhD work, then complete the fourth year of medical school.

MD/PHD PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

GPA

Students are required to complete the Texas A&M College of Medicine curriculum. Additionally, students are required to maintain at least a 75 average during their first year of medical school, a cumulative average of 77.5 by the end of their preclinical training, and an 80 average thereafter.

Journal Club Elective

During the preclinical years in medical school, and throughout their graduate school training, MD/PhD students are required to attend the one credit elective course MSCI 620/920 (The Scientific Basis of Medicine), often referred to as the Journal Club. During the M1 year of their medical school training, students will be registered for this course by the MD/PhD program coordinator. However, students may register for the course at any time during their graduate years.

Credit Hours

Students in the graduate portion of their training are required to complete a minimum of 64 credit hours towards their PhD. At a minimum, this will consist of:

  • 15 graded credit hours of formal courses;
  • 3 credit hours of seminar; and
  • 46 credit hours of research.

Depending on the graduate program and the recommendations of the student's advisory committee, the requirements for the number of credit hours may be higher.

Research

In addition to course work, students are required to:

  • Pass a preliminary examination for entering official candidacy for a PhD;
  • Defend and file a research proposal;
  • Complete their doctoral research; and
  • Write and defend their dissertation.

HOW TO APPLY

To be considered for admission to the MD/PhD Program, the following is required:

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in the United States and/or its territories;
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency (Green Card holders). However, Canadian students are considered for admission provided they have successfully completed 90 credit hours or earned a baccalaureate degree at a fully accredited Canadian college or university;
  • An outstanding academic record: The mean undergraduate GPA for matriculating students over the past 3 years has been 3.65 with a range of 2.95-3.99;
  • An above average MCAT performance: The mean MCAT overall score for the past 3 years has been at the 94th percentile and the range has been between the 84th and 99th percentile.
  • Research experience; and
  • Interviews with members of the MD/PhD Steering Committee and the College of Medicine Admissions Committee.

APPLICATION

Primary MD Application

Submit a primary application to the MD/PhD Program through AMCAS. AMCAS applications open on June 1. Should you also want to apply to the MD, MDPlus, or EnMed Programs at Texas A&M it is necessary to submit your primary application to those programs through TMDSAS.

Secondary Application

Complete and submit the College of Medicine Secondary Application. Be sure to supply your AMCAS PIN in the secondary application, and if you are also applying to a program through TMDSAS, your TMDSAS PIN as well. Only one secondary application is required if you are applying to the MD and MD/PhD programs.

The secondary application can be accessed through our web-based application processing system (APP). You must register on this system and then a password link will be sent to your email address.

Starting and Completing the Secondary Application

  • In the APP homepage, proceed to the Outstanding Assignments table where the secondary application form is located
  • Click on the View button located to the right and under the actions column and begin filling out the secondary application
  • Save progress by clicking the Save button at the bottom of the form (it is recommended that users save frequently to avoid losing information, as the system will time-out)
  • Submit the completed secondary application by clicking the Submit button at the bottom of the form.
  • Submit payment of $60 via credit card by clicking the link labeled Click Here located at the top of the secondary application form.
  • Submitting payment DOES NOT submit secondary application. Users MUST click the Submit button.

MD/PhD Supplemental Application

A short MD/PhD Supplemental Application will be assigned to MD/PhD applicants by APP and must be completed and submitted.

CASPER TEST

All applicants to the Texas A&M University College of Medicine are required to complete a mandatory online 90-minute computer-based test (CASPer™). CASPer is an online test which assesses for non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and a career in medicine. Successful completion of CASPer is mandatory in order to maintain admission eligibility.

More details, including CASPer registration, test dates, and fees, is listed in the MD Program Admissions requirements.

INTERVIEW

Interviews for the MD/PhD program are conducted the day prior to interviews for admission to the medical school. Applicants are reviewed by the College of Medicine Admissions Committee and ranked by the MD/PhD Program Selection Committee. Accepted students are invited back for a second visit to meet faculty with research programs in the student's area of interest.

Applicants will NOT be considered for interview until the primary and secondary applications, including the MD/PhD Supplemental Application, have been properly completed, the secondary payment of $60 is received, and the CASPer test has been scheduled.

TRANSFER ADMISSION

Current Texas A&M College of Medicine students may also elect to transfer into the program during the first, second, or third year of medical school. Transfer students should have established a strong record of academic performance and have appropriate research experience. These students will be interviewed by members of the MD/PhD Steering Committee and their applications reviewed by the MD/PhD Program Selection Committee.

DATES AND DEADLINES

Note: If you are applying to both the MD-only and the MD/PhD Programs, you must submit primary applications through both TMDSAS and AMCAS.

Year Before Intended Enrollment
January - April
  MCAT administered across the nation (preferred dates)
May
  May 1 TMDSAS primary application opens at 8 a.m. CT 
Secondary application opens at 8 a.m. CT
June
  June 1 TMDSAS begins the processing of completed applications and supporting materials 
AMCAS primary application opens for MD/PHD applicants 
College of Medicine begins the processing of secondary applications
  Review of primary and secondary applications begins
July
  Interview period begins. Interviews are conducted at the Health Science Center campus in Bryan
  July 1 AMCAS primary applications for MD/PhD students begin
August - September
  Interview period continues
October
  Oct. 1 Deadline for submitting TMDSAS primary and/or AMCAS primary, and all secondary applications; 5 p.m. CT 
Deadline for receipt of all supporting documents and fees
  Oct. 15 Acceptance offers to non-Texas residents, MD/PhD candidates and Early Assurance students
November
  Nov. 15 Pre-match acceptance offers to Texas residents
December
  Interviewing period ends 
Additional offers of acceptance made as needed
  Dec. 31 Last day for the TMDSAS participating medical schools to make pre-match offers of acceptance to Texas residents
 
Year of Intended Enrollment
January
  Jan. 2 Financial Aid process begins via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  Jan. 18 Deadline for applicants to submit their match preference rank list for schools at which they interviewed 
Deadline for medical schools to submit their rank lists for the TMDSAS Match
February
  Feb. 1 TMDSAS Match is conducted to fill any remaining positions in the class 
Offers of acceptance emailed
  Feb. 15 Alternate list formed 
Accepted applicants rank campus tracks
March
  Accepted applicants notified of campus designation 
Matriculation materials mailed to accepted applicants
April
  April 30 Final notice to accepted applicants who hold one or more places at other medical schools
June
  Additional mailings to accepted students
  June 1 Last day to make offers of acceptance to alternates holding acceptances at other Texas medical schools
July
  Mid-Late July Orientation, registration and first day of classes for incoming students

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

The MD/PhD program is supported by the Texas A&M College of Medicine. Students are supported by a scholarship during their medical school years and an assistantship during their PhD training.

In addition to covering applicable tuition and fees, a yearly stipend of $30,000 (effective Sept. 1, 2017) is provided during the medical and graduate school studies. Your career preparation and overall professional development are very important. To show support, funds are available, at the discretion of the program's administration, for professional development opportunities such as annual MD/PhD National Conferences and annual American Physician Scientist Association (APSA) meetings.