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How to Apply to the Medical Scientist Training Program

Though this is a joint MD and PhD program, the application process is different from other MD programs. Please note that acceptance to an MD program does not make an applicant automatically eligible for the MSTP.

Deadlines Heading link

  • University of Illinois COM AMCAS Application Deadline: November 1, 2024
  • University of Illinois COM Supplemental Application Deadline: December 1, 2024

The Application Process Heading link

Applying through the American Medical College Application Service

The first step of the application process is submitted through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).

The AMCAS application includes a check box for choosing MD/PhD programs. When you check the box, the AMCAS application will include two additional essays, which you should complete.

The Supplemental Application

Once your application is verified by AMCAS, the UI College of Medicine Admissions Office will send you a Supplemental Application. Complete the Supplemental Application at your earliest convenience for full consideration of your application.  The latest a Supplemental Application can be received is December 1, 2024. Admission to the MSTP requires admission by the College of Medicine Admissions Committees.

Please note that applicants to UI COM MSTP must complete/meet all the requirements to UI COM. For further information on the application process please see UI College of Medicine Admissions.

MSTP Review Process

MSTP reviewers process applications in the order received and have rolling admissions. All applicants to the MSTP are viable candidates until we complete the seating of our new class. The steps in our review process are the following:

  1. Applications for the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) are preliminary read by the MSTP admissions administrative staff.
  2. Applications are thoroughly reviewed by the MSTP admissions committee who will meet annually during the admissions process to determine which candidates should be granted an interview. Candidates that are invited to interview with the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) will be notified by the Assistant Director of Program Administration and Admissions for the MSTP.
  3. Interviewed candidates are then reviewed and ranked by the entire admissions committee. Offers tendered gradually, in order of rankings. All interviewed candidates remain on the waitlist.
  4. As early offers are declined, more offers are tendered.
  5. Candidates who accept their offers are invited for a second visit.
  6. The MSTP has a rolling admissions process which means offers could be made at the latter part of the admissions cycle.

Get more information

All matters related to your medical school application are handled by UI College of Medicine  Admissions.

UI COM Admissions Heading link

808 S. Wood St., MC 783, Chicago, Illinois 60612

Criteria for Admission Heading link

In addition to acceptance to the UI COM MD program, there are other criteria for admissions to MSTP. These criteria include:

  • Academic excellence
  • Prior research experience
  • Potential for independent and creative research
  • Commitment to a career in academic medicine

Laboratory work concentrating in the following areas is also helpful in preparing for study in the Medical Scientist Training Program.

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Behavioral sciences


The admissions policy is flexible enough to accommodate those students who have already identified the field in which they wish to carry out research as well as those who are still undecided about their areas of research specialization.

Residency requirements

Admission to the Medical Scientist Training Program is open to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Tests scores

The MCAT examination is accepted in lieu of the GRE examination. Application to the MSTP is normally made at the time of application to the College of Medicine. 

Information about admission to the College of Medicine may be obtained from the Office of Medical College Admissions.

Important note concerning the COM Behavioral and Social Science pre-requisite

Most MSTP applicants are from outside Illinois and complete their undergraduate education without attention to the somewhat unusual Behavioral and Social Science pre-requisite of the UI College of Medicine. A special version of this pre-requisite, approved specifically for MSTP students, is stated below:

Pre-medical education across the country generally meets this broadened description. Behavioral & Social Sciences (BESS), Humanities—Three Courses. Recommended courses include: behavior psychology, sociology, anthropology, foreign language and other courses that encourage a greater appreciation for diversity and cultural competency. As writing skills are important in the study and practice of medicine, MD/PhD candidates are encouraged to fulfill the requirement with courses that include a writing component.

Please see UI College of Medicine Admissions Requirements and Timeline for more information.

Other helpful information Heading link

University of Illinois College of Medicine Statement on Disability Accommodations

The University of Illinois is committed to the most fundamental principles of academic freedom, equality of opportunity, and human dignity, and requires that decisions involving students and employees be based on individual merit and be free from invidious discrimination in all its forms.

Learn more about procedures for student disability accomodations.

Resources for Applicants

Review our helpful video on the application process for the MSTP program. The American Medical College Application Service also has many helpful resources.

Janine Sacco, M.Ed. Heading link

Assistant Director of MSTP
Program Administration and Admissions