Welcome to the University of Illinois College of Medicine

Medical Scientist Training Program

The University of Illinois College of Medicine Medical Scientist Training Program educates exceptional students for careers as physician-scientists.  MD/PhD graduates are positioned to bridge the basic and clinical sciences, and to pursue interdisciplinary approaches to important biomedical problems. Compared to other scientists, MD/PhDs have deeper perceptions of medical significance in biology, greater ability to transfer basic scientific advances toward patient care advances, and more comprehensive understanding of the limitations in current medical practice. Compared to other physicians, MD/PhD graduates stand out for their scientific insight into bedside problems, their ability to educate succeeding generations of students, and as innovative champions of progress in medicine. Our program has been supported by a training grant from the National Institute of Health – National Institute of General Medical Sciences since 2007.

About Our Program

In response to the need for accomplished academic medical scientists, the University of Illinois College of Medicine offers a combined training program that leads to both the MD and the PhD degrees. The objective of the Program is to train students for careers in academic medicine and research. The Program integrates the medical curriculum with graduate studies in the basic medical sciences, public health, bio-engineering and in the College of Pharmacy. Students pursue original research projects in the laboratories of the University’s graduate faculty along with medical studies in the College of Medicine. Students begin the Program without affiliation to a basic science department in order to be exposed to the widest possible opportunities for graduate study and are offered choices in developing their programs of study. During this time, they explore research opportunities in any academic department of the College of Medicine (COM) which organized under an umbrella program known as GEMS (Graduate Education in Bio-Medical Sciences)  and includes research concentrations in the following areas: Cancer Biology, Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Integrative and Translation Physiology, Microbiology, Immunity and Inflammation, Molecular and Structural Biology and Neurobiology, Graduate Program In Neuroscience or in a non-COM department such as Biological Sciences, Bio-engineering, School of Public Health, Pharmaceutical Sciences.


The Medical Scientist Training Program requires seven to eight years of study.  The first two years of the Program are used to complete years 1 and 2 of the medical curriculum. During this time students explore research opportunities in various academic departments under the guidance of their appointed faculty advisors. They are required to complete three research rotations of 6 to 8 weeks each during this time.

Selection of a permanent thesis advisor and commitment to a graduate department take place by the end of the second year of study. MD/PhD students then enter into their chosen graduate department and complete coursework from a set of introductory GEMS courses, as well as, more advanced courses in their research specialties. Under the guidance of a member of the research faculty, students spend three to four years engaged in an extensive period of original doctoral research. They are required to complete all of the departmental requirements for the PhD degree before returning to the medical school curriculum. During the PhD phase, the students keep their clinical skills sharp by participating in the Program’s required Clinical Connections. They may also volunteer at the weekly student-run free clinic.

In the final 2 years of the Program, MD/PhD candidates rejoin the medical school class to complete the remaining medical school requirements. Individual modifications of the above timetable to meet specific needs and interests can be developed.

Seminar Series

A series of lunch seminars, especially designed for M1 and M2 MD/PhD students, provides an overview of the opportunities for research. Also, an ongoing series of dinner seminars is presented to MD/PhD students in all stages of the program by physician-scientists from UIC as well as other medical schools. These seminars expand students’ scientific background, help to develop new approaches in biomedical research, and expose students to research areas of special interest to physician-scientists. The seminar series is one of several means used to bring together trainees and preceptors from the various programs.

Financial Aid

MD/PhD students receive a tuition waiver and stipend throughout all years of the Program. For the 2017-2018 academic year, the annual stipend is $30,500 for each year of medical studies and graduate studies. Most student fees are also paid by the COM or other sources.


To address the special educational needs of MD/PhD students and the psychological-emotional problems that can results from particular stresses that occur at various stages of MD/PhD studies, the UIC MSTP has a multi-pronged effort to counsel students to prevent problems occurring in difficult situations of each educational stage and to remediate such problems as quickly as possible if they do occur. This multi-faceted approach relies on two permanent anchors of support for all students at all times: (1) The mutual experiences within cohorts bolstered by the strong feelings of camaraderie that are the special feature of our program community, and (2) the use of the program directors, who know the students best and are fully aware of their needs, as first counselors-advisors. To assure a comprehensive meeting of all students’ needs, three types of advising-counseling activities take place throughout each academic year.

·        Cohort-specific meetings to discuss educational issues relevant to that cohort.

·        All-student meetings to address issues of universal concern and allow for sharing of advice between more and less advanced cohorts.

·        Individual meetings with the Director, Dr. Larry Tobacman, Associate Directors, Dr. Nancy Freitag and Dr. Mark Rosenblatt.

In addition to these organized, scheduled events, all students are welcome to meet with any or all of the directors at any time to discuss anything on their mind. Strict confidentiality will always be maintained and referrals to more knowledgeable authorities will be made when needed.

For Further Information Contact:

Julie Mann, Director of Program Administration,  Medical Scientist Training Program

By mail: COM Deans’ Office, 131 CMW, MC 784, 1853 W. Polk St. Chicago, Il 60612

In person: 308 Clinical Sciences North, 820 South Wood Street, in Suite 300 next to the yellow elevator

Phone: (312) 996-7473, FAX Number: (312) 413-8221, Email: [email protected]