PhD Programs / Mentored Research


The Practicum is a group clinical research project begun in Orientation and completed two years later in GS1. Scholars will work on their projects throughout MS1 & MS2.

MD-PhD Clinical Research Practicum Projects (’10 – ’18)

Introduction to Clinical/ Translational Research

Students at Microscope

Entering Research

Taken at the beginning of their GS1 year, Entering Research is an evidence-based, interactive curriculum that introduces trainees to the culture of research and teaches them skills for successfully navigating their mentoring relationships.

Matching Incoming Scholars with Mentors/Laboratories/PhD Programs

Scholars have their initial mentored research experience in MS1 and MS2, when they are required to participate in 2-3 rotations in laboratories in which they consider conducting their dissertation research. Laboratories are identified from the list of UF MD-PhD mentors, with the assistance of one or more faculty from the MD-PhD Directorate, the mentor’s background and research interests, and funding.

The eight years of the MD-PhD training program are divided into three segments: the 21-month medical school pre-clinical Phase (MS1 & MS2), the roughly four years of PhD training (GS1-GS4), followed by the final two years of Medical School (MS3 & MS4). The PhD degree is conferred upon completion of graduate training; likewise, the MD degree is conferred upon the completion of medical training. Some variation of the timeline can occur when trainees have prior coursework or laboratory experience to shorten their training needs, or when a trainee needs more time to complete a PhD thesis. Trainees should consult both the MD-PhD Handbook and the IDP Milestones Checklist for more details.

Components of MS1 & MS2

  • The curriculum for MS1 & MS2 is a patient-oriented, systems-based approach with small group learning, simulation, communication, and clinical skill building, fairly typical of U.S. Medical Schools and fulfilling the requirements for LCGME accreditation (2015). Trainees should consult the MD-PhD Handbook for more details
  • The Deep Dive into Basic Science (DIBS) Course is a Discovery Pathway Track, held on Thursday afternoons for most weeks during the MS1 and MS2 pre-clinical curricula. An additional ten-week period in the Summer term is for laboratory experiences, including the 2-3 laboratory rotations prior to selection of PhD mentors. The content of in-depth discussions, demonstrations, technologies, and journal clubs will be related to the materials presented in the MS1 and MS2 curricula for that week.
  • Initial Mentored Research Experiences introduce scholars to 2-3 research laboratories in which they can consider conducting their dissertation research. These research rotations must be undertaken with one of the many UF MD-PhD mentors (will link this to the new mentor page), with the assistance of at least one member of the MD-PhD Directorate. When selecting their rotation labs, scholars (in consultation with the Directorate member) should consider the mentors’ background, research interests, and active grant funding.

Mentored Research for PhD Degree (GS1-GS4)

Research DayPrior to Mentor Selection, the MD-PhD scholars will take the Entering Research curriculum at the start of GS1. This interactive curriculum introduces scholars to the culture of research and teaches them skills for successfully navigating their mentoring relationships. When each scholar has matched with their Mentor, they will develop a schedule for meeting regularly to develop the scholar’s Individual Development Plan (IDP). The IDP will include specifics on the scholar’s didactic training, mentored research, and career development activities over the four years of graduate training (GS1-GS4), and must be submitted to the MD-PhD Directorate for review and approval. The scholar will be asked to create a multidisciplinary mentoring committee to provide advice not only on research, but also on professional and skill development. Each Scholar should identify a clinical mentor (please see Clinical Training) and preferably two additional faculty from different disciplines/departments/colleges.

PhD Programs

The Didactic coursework for the PhD degree will vary between PhD curricula across the participating PhD Programs listed below. The PhD degree at UF requires at least 90 credit hours. A Qualifying Exam, usually undertaken in GS2, is required to continue dissertation research.

Biomedical Engineering

Clinical Health Psychology

Public Health – Environmental Health

Public Health – Health Services Research

Public Health – OneHealth