From Bench to Bedside. The UF MD-PhD Program is forging a bright future for clinician-scientists.
Program Overview and Requirements
Our MD-PhD curriculum is designed such that during all phases of training, Scholars receive a combination of research and clinical experiences to help them develop the ability to integrate and use both sets of skills throughout their careers.
- MD-PhD Scholars attend a two-week orientation in July, prior to the medical school orientation, and begin work on their Clinical Research Practicum
- MD-PhD Scholars spend their first two years in medical school. They work on their classes Clinical Research Practicum and interview with potential research mentors
- During the medical school summers, MD-PhD Scholars complete laboratory rotations with potential mentors.
- After completing one medical school 3rd year clinical rotation, MD-PhD Scholars complete a summer rotation and then start graduate school
- During Graduate School, MD-PhD Scholars meet with their Clinical Mentors and staff at the Equal Access Clinic.
- After Scholars complete their dissertations, they return to medical school for clinical training
- During 3rd and 4th years of medical school MD-PhD Scholars continue to write and publish their 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.
The MD-PhD program offers many events for Scholars to connect with each other and faculty.
The MD-PhD Directorate supports Scholar access to wellness and mentoring activities across campus.
The Didactic coursework for the PhD degree will vary between PhD curricula across the participating PhD Programs offered throughout. The PhD degree at UF requires at least 90 credit hours. A Qualifying Exam, usually undertaken in GS2, is required to continue dissertation research.
MD-PhD Two-Week Orientation
Incoming MD-PhD scholars arrive on campus two weeks prior to the MD-PhD Orientation, typically scheduled during the second week of July.
The morning of the first day is devoted to an introduction to the program’s handbook, a semester-by-semester description of the MD-PhD Program, and a review of the program’s long-term outcomes. A major part of Orientation is the development of an idea for a Patient-Oriented Clinical Research Study (the Practicum).
As part of this exercise, the MD-PhD cohort will consider practical, ethical, and regulatory aspects of clinical study design. Mornings for the following days are spent in group meetings and presentations related to the Practicum, as well as initial sessions of the Leadership Curriculum.
Afternoons are set aside for the Introduction to Clinical & Translational Research (GMS 7093) lectures that address issues raised in morning practicum planning. These lectures (given by experienced clinical investigators) are also attended by graduate students, postdocs, career development awardees, and new faculty from throughout the Health Science Center, providing the new MD-PhD Scholars with built-in opportunities to establish their UF HSC network.
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.
- All MD-PhD Scholars take the same Discovery Pathway Quantitative medicine and Innovations in the Physiology Sciences (QUIPS).
- During the Summers, MD-PhD Scholars take part in research laboratory rotations with potential mentors
Mentored Research for PhD Degree (GS1-GS4)
Prior 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.