Our mission is to train and support a diverse community of dedicated students to become physician scientists who are able to integrate their scientific, clinical, and leadership skills to promote human health.

Science and medicine on the Twin Cities campus

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD) at the University of Minnesota will prepare you for a career in academic medicine with a foundation designed to strengthen the connections between health care and scientific discovery. The Program’s goal is to facilitate your training in both clinical medicine and the full range of opportunities in biomedical research, spanning the biological and physical sciences to include epidemiology. 

The University of Minnesota Medical School has a long tradition of excellence in dual-degree programs in medical science. In 1984 the Program was officially designated as a dual degree program, and in 1988 was awarded an NIH Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) grant, which continues to this day.

The University of Minnesota MSTP provides a fully integrated physician scientist training experience that emphasizes strong mentorship and advising.

Phases of training

The first two years of medical school training

During this time, students become familiar with the many research opportunities available to them by completing laboratory rotations and participating in the weekly MSTP Monday Research Seminar series.

Following completion of the second year of medical school training

Students take the USMLE Step 1 exam and complete one clinical clerkship before transitioning to the graduate phase. Students have the opportunity to complete graduate training in 12 different graduate programs that span the biological and physical sciences, including epidemiology.

During the graduate phase

MSTP students also participate in our MSTP Clinical Continuity and Mentoring Program, which provides one-on-one clinically-focused activities with a clinical mentor chosen by the student. MSTP students in the second year of the graduate phase work with their clinical mentor to develop a MSTP Grand Rounds presentation. Upon completion of the PhD (typically 3-4 years), students transition back to medical school and complete clinical clerkships necessary to complete MD training. Students may elect to conduct additional research during this final phase of training. The overall duration of training is approximately 8 years.

Throughout all phases of training

Students are actively mentored by the MSTP leadership team and preceptors. Additional information on the MSTP training program structure is available here.

Our campus

The University of Minnesota is an urban campus with over 50,000 students, making it one of the largest, most vibrant educational communities in the United States. Opportunities for MD/PhD research training are broad, including 11 graduate school programs and over 110 faculty research preceptors. These opportunities continue to expand as we develop further connections with faculty who mentor our students. The University consistently ranks in the top ten among public universities in both research awards and expenditures, and is in the midst of a scientific facilities renaissance with the establishment of several new, state-of-the-art research facilities in an area of campus known as the Biomedical Discovery District. The District has become the center for the University of Minnesota’s research in brain disease and translational neuroscience, immunology of cancer and infectious disease, cardiovascular research, and houses the stem cell institute, and many other research groups. This combination of facilities, faculty and funding is a set stage for world-class biomedical training.

Your future

The Program is rigorous and challenging, but will prepare you to be at the forefront of disease treatment and scientific discovery – en route to a faculty position at a major research university. Upon completion of the Program, you will conduct advanced residency and fellowship training with the subsequent goal of accepting an academic faculty position in a medical school. Your daily work responsibilities as an academic physician will combine patient care in a clinical setting with protected time for research.