5.01 MD-PhD Program


The mission of the Harvard/MIT MD-PhD Program is to train the next generation of premier and diverse physician-scientist leaders, with representation across a rich spectrum of clinical disciplines and research areas from basic and translational sciences to bioengineering and social sciences. The MD-PhD Program integrates training in both medicine and research for students who intend to pursue careers as physician-scientists.
Atypical Timeline Requests

MD-PhD students follow the curriculum timeline outlined here, but with special circumstances may submit an Atypical Timeline Request Form. Forms can be found on the MD-PhD Internal Website and are submitted to mdphd@hms.harvard.edu. Forms will be discussed and reviewed by MD-PhD leadership, HMS MD advisors, as well as PCE directors and PhD advisors as needed. Once reviewed, the student will be notified of the outcome and provided with appropriate guidance and resources.


Responsible Conduct in Research


All MD-PhD students are required to receive instruction in medical ethics, scientific rigor and reproducibility, and responsible conduct and publication of scientific research. Courses such as Medical Sciences 300: Conduct of Science, offered by the HMS Division of Medical Sciences (DMS), or HPM548, offered by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), meet this requirement. Most graduate programs also require such a course. The MD-PhD Program office completes a thorough review of MD-PhD students on an annual basis and reaches out, as needed, to ensure compliance. Students in graduate programs that do not have this requirement will be enrolled in the DMS course or its equivalent.


Time to Degree


Requirements for both the MD and PhD degrees are typically completed in seven to nine years. MD-PhD students who have a compelling case for extending the MD-PhD beyond ten years must work with their Society Advisor to petition the HMS Promotion and Review Board to approve an extension and must submit at that time a detailed plan and timeline for completing the requirements of both degrees. (See Section 2.08, Policy on Length of Time to Complete the MD Degree).


Leave of Absence


Policies regarding leaves of absence (LOA) vary depending on the student’s stage in training. The LOA must be approved by the MD-PhD program and the respective medical or graduate program. Students in the graduate school phase of training should also notify their medical school Society Advisor about any extended time away from the PhD program in order to discuss the implications for his/her medical training and what, if any, further review or approval is needed by the Program in Medical Education.


Affiliate Program and Cycle II Funding


All HMS students are eligible to affiliate with the MD-PhD Program based on a commitment to pursuing both degrees. To learn more about the Affiliate Program, please email mdphd@hms.harvard.edu.


MD-PhD Affiliate Registration: Key Dates

First week in May, prior to medical school matriculation

Incoming HMS MD students who initially applied to the Harvard/MIT MD-PhD Program are eligible to “early affiliate” and participate in our July summer course by emailing mdphd@hms.harvard.edu as soon as possible after the Plan-to-Enroll Deadline in the Choose Your School Medical School deadline (April 30).

November 1 of M1 year

HMS MD students may begin to affiliate with the MD-PhD program.

July start of M2 year

Students are encouraged to affiliate no later than the summer between their M1 and M2 years in order to best prepare for the graduate school application process.

Maintenance of affiliate status is dependent on completion of laboratory/research rotations, application and acceptance to a graduate program, and satisfactory completion of medical and graduate school requirements. Affiliate students are included in all MD-PhD activities. While not funded by the MD-PhD Program during the first two years of medical school, students are eligible to apply for funding of the third and fourth years of medical school. Affiliate students who are eligible for NIH F30/F31 fellowships are required to submit this grant application in order to be considered for M3/M4 MD-PhD funding.

Last updated 7/6/2021