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The Joint MD/PhD Degree Program at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science exemplifies the university’s commitment to the interdisciplinary and interprofessional training of physician-scientists for careers in academic medicine and biomedical research. The Joint MD/PhD Degree Program is sponsored by the Chicago Medical School in conjunction with the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The program is intended for those students who are interested in a career as a physician-scientist. The program prepares students for careers in medical science as members of clinical and preclinical faculties of medicine or as clinical investigators.

Students within the Joint MD/PhD Degree Program begin their training by academic advancement through the first two years of medical school. After passing Step1 of the USMLE, the student enters the PhD phase of their training and immediately begins research within the laboratory of their PhD mentor. A Research Committee is organized immediately upon entry into the laboratory. This committee will provide mentorship and guidance through the student’s academic and research activities.

The curriculum for each student within the Joint MD/PhD Degree Program is individually tailored by the Research Committee to meet the student’s training and professional needs. Core requirements in bioethics, biostatistics, appropriate use of animals in research and procedures for human subjects in research, as well as presentation of scientific data must also be completed.

After completion of all requirements for the PhD, including successful defense of the dissertation, the student enters the third year of medical school curriculum. Throughout the MD and PhD phases of the program, the student is provided mentorship by both a physician-scientist and their research mentor.

Students within the Joint MD/PhD Degree Program are typically supported by tuition waivers and stipends after admission into the Program. However, the University reserves the right to require tuition waiver and stipend repayment from students who leave the program. The decision to require repayment is considered on a case-by-case basis.

A student in the Joint Degree programs selects an advisor in the same way as students in the doctoral degree program. The amount of further graduate course work required is less, and by the second year, the major emphasis is on thesis research. Formal degree candidacy is granted after a student has passed a comprehensive examination in microbiology and immunology, which is usually given after completion of the second year of study for the PhD degree. An acceptable dissertation based on original research must be presented and defended at the final oral examination; the dissertation should make a significant contribution to knowledge in microbiology and/or immunology. Four years or more are usually required for the PhD program, and six years or more for the MD/PhD program.

Please refer also to the requirements for the PhD degree in the policies and procedures of the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. In general, requirements for the joint degrees combine the requirements for each degree, with the following specifications:

  1. As part of the didactic course requirements for the MD/PhD program, several advanced Graduate School courses are required, as determined by the department.
  2. Joint Degree students are required to take the four "Specialty" IGPBS courses, Ethics, Biostatistics, Art and Science Presentations, and Computers.

IGPBS Courses Required for Joint Degree Students:

GIGP 507 Art of Scientific Presentation
GIGP 508 Ethics and Regulatory Issues in Biomedical Research 
GIGP 509 Biostatistics
GIGP 510 Computer Applications in Biomedical Research
GIGP 518 Writing Skills