Program Overview

The MD-PhD curriculum at UNC-Chapel Hill follows a traditional MSTP-style timeline. Students usually graduate in 7 or 8 years, and selection of a graduate program can be delayed through the first two years in the program. In addition to academic curricula, the MD-PhD program includes an annual program retreat, Monday night dinner/seminar series, monthly Case Conferences, student presentations, and training in scientific ethics.

UNC-Chapel Hill MD-PhD Curriculum

Summer

MS 1

Summer

MS 2

Summer

GY 1-3 (4)

MS 3

MS 4

Research
Rotation
(Optional)

Basic Sci. Courses


BBSP First Year Focus Group

Research
Rotation

Clinical Sci. Courses

USMLE Step 1

Graduate Courses, Research
Qualifying Exams, Research
Research
Dissertation

Clinical Clerkships

Clinical Electives

Research
Rotation

Year 1:

MD-PhD Students are strongly encouraged to perform a research rotation in the summer before their first year of medical school.  Following matriculation, the first year of medical school (MS1) is comprised of four courses in basic biomedical science. These four interdisciplinary blocks include small-group and case-based presentations.  Introduction to the medical profession begins with two additional courses "Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM)" and "Medicine and Society."  On Monday afternoons, MS1 MD/PHD students will participate in Focus Groups organized by the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program (BBSP). During the summer after MS1, students perform their first (or second) research rotation.

Year 2:

The second year of medical school (MS2) consists of clinical science courses.  During the summer after MS2, students take Part 1 of the USMLE board exam and perform another research rotation if they have not yet selected a lab mentor.

Years 3,4,5 (6):

In the third year of the program, students enroll in a graduate program (GY1). During the graduate years (GY1-4), students will complete coursework, qualifying exams, and a dissertation project according to the requirements of their degree-granting department. Most students enroll in the Biological and Biomedical Science Program (BBSP) before declaring a departmental affiliation.

Year 6 or 7:

Re-entry into medical school usually takes place during the summer or fall of MS3. Students will complete basic clinical clerkships (Internal Medicine, Surgery, Family Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics and Psychiatry.)

Year 7 or 8:

During MS4, students serve as acting interns and finish other elective courses. In this final year, most MD-PhD students have a flexible schedule due to transfer credit from their PhD work, thus allowing them the extra time to interview for residency positions.