Welcome to the University of Illinois College of Medicine

Medical Scientist Training Program

Current students
Open spots for 2023-2024 AY
Participating Faculty

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. Graduates of the MSTP from the University of Illinois College of Medicine routinely gain admission to highly competitive residency programs at premier academic institutions across the country.  Our students typically pursue careers as physician scientists at academic health science centers.  Current students in the MSTP at the University of Illinois College of Medicine have a strong record of receiving individual fellowship support from the NIH and other foundations.  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 MSTP is to train students for careers in academic medicine and research. The MSTP 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, and Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy.

The University of Illinois College of Medicine (UI:COM) is located in the Illinois Medical District and is one of the largest medical schools in the United States.  It offers medical education at three distinct geographic sites:  Chicago, Peoria and Rockford.  The MSTP is located in Chicago.  The extensive clinical and research resources provide both extraordinary and exciting opportunities for the study of medical science.

The UI:COM at Chicago is located two miles from downtown. Housing is affordable in the immediate vicinity of campus. Many students live on campus or within walking distance, although some prefer the cultural opportunities of other neighborhoods. Excellent rail and bus public transportation service the campus from all parts of the city and suburbs.

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)  is the largest institution of higher learning in the Chicago area and major center for international education and research. The 187-acre campus established in 1982 by a merger of the University’s Chicago Circle and Medical Center campuses, is located just one mile southwest of downtown Chicago. It is considered one of the largest and the finest comprehensive research universities in the nation. Research funding granted to UIC faculty, usually through competitive grant programs, has grown at an average annual rate of 15 percent over the past decade. UIC enrolls approximately 25,000 full-time students, and nearly 30 percent of the enrollment is at the graduate and professional levels.

Chicagois a city defined by its diversity of people and places, offers many cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities. Chicago is a hub for medical activities and educational opportunities and prestigious organizations such as the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, as well as, many professional societies and specialty boards are headquartered in the metropolitan area.  It is a cosmopolitan, world-class city of approximately seven million people with a rich architectural tradition and renowned cultural institutions such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium,the Field Museum of Natural History,the Adler Planetarium, and the Art Institute of Chicago.  Chicago is well known for its excellent restaurants and vibrant music scene.  In addition, the city offers the  abundant outdoor recreation opportunities in its many neighborhood parks and beaches along Lake Michigan shores. For sports lovers, the famous Chicago Bulls, Bears, White Sox, Cubs, and Blackhawks provide hometown excitement.

MD/PhD graduates from the MSTP at the University of Illinois College of Medicine are ideally trained to identify and pursue interdisciplinary approaches to important bio-medical problems, and to help bridge the basic and clinical sciences.  Compared to other physicians, MD/PhDs stand out for their scientific insights into bedside problems, as innovative champions of progress in medicine, and for their ability to educate succeeding generations of physicians.  Compared to other scientists, MD/PhDs have deeper perceptions of medical significance in biology, greater ability to transfer basic scientific advances toward patient care and a more comprehensive understanding of the limitations in current medical practice.


To address the special educational needs of the MD/PhD students and the psychological-emotional problems that can result from stresses occurring at various stages of MD/PhD studies, the UIC MSTP has a multi-pronged effort to counsel students and prevent problems that may arise in difficult situations of each educational stage, as well as to remediate such problems as quickly as possible, if they do occur. The MSTP has made a concerted effort in the past year to recruit and secure a diverse directorship. This provides a leadership with varied backgrounds with which trainees can identify and seek support. We follow a multi-faceted advising approach that includes individual, 1:1 advising, cohort-based advising, house system advising, and advisory committees.

The MSTP Nucleotide House System: The Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine, and Thymine Houses were constructed to promote a sense of vertical belonging in the program, and to provide peer-to-peer mentorship among students across program stages. Each house consists of roughly 25 randomly assigned students across all years of the program, headed by a Program Director (PD). A trainee may opt for another house or additional advisors for any reason. The house meetings occur monthly and provide an important platform for group advising from the PD, but also emphasize vertical peer-to-peer mentoring of trainees and bidirectional communication across training stages.

Cohort Meetings: An individual, stage-specific cohort meeting, led by a PD, occurs at least once a year. This meeting promotes a sense of longitudinal belonging to students as they progress together through the stages of the program. The mutual experiences within cohorts, bolstered by the strong feelings of camaraderie, are the special feature of our program community.

Other Faculty Advisors: In addition to the MD-PhD program advisor, students will receive guidance from a diverse and wide variety of other sources:  the Medical School Associate Deans, Director of Graduate Studies, Chairs and advisors, thesis mentors, thesis committee members, and MSTP Advisory Committee (MAC). MAC comprises of 16 faculty members, who provide support to MSTP students and provide feedback and updates to MSTP Leadership. We strongly encourage students to network and talk with a diverse group of faculty members about your training and career plans.

Individual Development Plan (IDP): All MD-PhD students are expected to complete an IDP annually. Derived from the American Association of Advancement of Science/Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology, the MyIDP form, is to be completed in advance of their fall semester one-on-one advising sessions with a PD. Containing a combination of structured and open-format questions, these IDPs have been extraordinarily successful in directing attention to issues of importance for individual students. Students are encouraged to keep their IDP up to date with their most recent publications and completed coursework. The MSTP IDPs have proven extremely valuable to help us monitor the students’ progress. Annual advising meetings of students with MSTP directors are tracked and enable trainees and faculty to identify strengths, weaknesses, and seek support as needed. Additional meetings can be scheduled depending on the needs of the student.

Program Administration: The Director of Program Administration plays a crucial role in advising and supporting the students on any issues arising throughout their tenure in the program, as well as connecting them to other students, faculty, directors, or resources.

Strict confidentiality is always maintained, and referrals to more knowledgeable authorities will be made when needed.

For Further Information Contact:
Barbara Gottesman, 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, Suite 300, next to the yellow elevator
Phone: (312) 996-7473, FAX Number: (312) 413-8221, Email: bgottesm@uic.edu

The core strength of our MD-PhD program lies in the rich diversity of our student population. We continually aim to create an inclusive, diverse, and equitable community to foster the growth and development of each of our students.

If you are an applicant from a disadvantaged background, applicant with a disability, applicant from a racial or ethnic minority group, or from diverse racial backgrounds, religion, creed, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, we strongly encourage you to consider our program. If you are interested in various aspects of UIC’s commitment to you, please explore the resources below.

If you have any questions, please contact the MSTP Director of Program Administration, Barbara Gottesman, or Assistant Director of Admissions, Janine Sacco. Both individuals are available to provide assistance to prospective students throughout the application process.

Should you not wish to disclose any of the identifying statuses on your AMCAS application, please know that it is not required. We welcome and encourage you to contact Barbara and Janine at any point of the application process.

Helpful Resources:

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