- Events and Activities
- Handbook, Tips and FAQs
- Contact Us
Health Science Campus
Raymon H. Mulford Library
3000 Arlington Avenue
The standard structure for the M.D./Ph.D. program at The University of Toledo (UT) consists of two years of medical school, with graduate school laboratory rotations during the summers, followed by about three years of graduate studies toward a Ph.D. degree, and then the last two years of medical school. An outline of a typical curriculum for each of the three graduate programs can be found here. The program is flexible, especially for UT students who have already taken medical or graduate courses.
Below you will find the basic structure of the M.D./Ph.D. program, an overview of the Ph.D. degree programs, and a description of financial assistance available to M.D./Ph.D. students. For more information about the history of the program at UT, please take a look at our welcome statement. Prospective students may also be interested in the campus and history of The University of Toledo.
The M.D./Ph.D. program at UT College of Medicine integrates medical and graduate studies
at every stage during the course of study, though the focus tends to shift back and
forth between medical and graduate education.
The graduate program in Biomedical Sciences has recently undergone significant changes, including:
• Unified admissions to the graduate program
• A core curriculum for all Ph.D. students
• Reorganization into disease-focused research tracks
M.D./Ph.D. students may perform laboratory rotations and dissertation research with any member of the Graduate Faculty, regardless of Track. At least two rotations are required. Students generally select a dissertation advisor no later than the fall of their 3rd year in the program, and choose an appropriate Track (in consultation with the mentor) at that time.
Laboratory Rotations (Mentored Research)
Students have the option of beginning the M.D./Ph.D. program with a graduate school laboratory rotation during the summer prior to their first year of medical school. Alternatively, students can begin the combined degree in the fall when the first year of medical school begins. Students will then (re)enter the graduate school during the summer between their first and second year of medical school to complete a laboratory rotation. At least 2 eight-week lab rotations are required for M.D./Ph.D. students.
Choosing a laboratory for rotation is one of the most important and challenging steps of your Ph.D. education, and you should put substantial effort into making the best choice. “Introduction to Biomedical Research,” a non-credit graduate school course (affectionately known as the “PI Parade”) offers an opportunity for graduate and M.D./Ph.D. students to hear brief presentations from faculty who have openings in their laboratories for new graduate students. This is an excellent way to find out about research programs appropriate for lab rotations and subsequent dissertation research. We also encourage you to attend research seminars and discuss with faculty their projects and the focus of their laboratories.
In choosing laboratory rotations, students should be aware that faculty members have varying levels of participation in graduate student training, based in part on the level of grant support for their laboratories. These rules exist to ensure that students will have adequate financial support for their studies. Members of the graduate faculty without mentoring status can host students for laboratory rotations and serve on their candidacy examination and dissertation committees, but cannot serve as the primary dissertation lab. Faculty with mentoring status can host students, but even these laboratories may not have room for additional graduate students. Hence, students should openly discuss whether the lab is able to support an additional student for dissertation studies and choose laboratory rotations accordingly. There are many valid reasons for doing lab rotations in labs that are not able to sponsor dissertation students, including learning new techniques and scientific approaches, but at least one rotation should be performed in a lab that can serve as their future home for dissertation studies. Students should not choose labs exclusively on the basis of grant funding, as funding status can change rapidly. Students are protected against such funding fluctuations by an agreement signed by the department chair to fund the student in the event that the mentor loses grant support.
Preclinical Medical Studies
M.D./Ph.D. students take all of the same preclinical medical school courses and electives
as other medical students. During the first two years of medical school studies, students
are encouraged to interact with the graduate school faculty and attend basic science
seminars in the area in which they plan to do their dissertation research.
The medical school curriculum and course structure is a systems based approach to learning medicine. The College of Medicine is committed to developing physicians with a broad range of knowledge, skills, attitudes and understanding, allowing them to pursue careers in primary care or any medical or surgical specialty.
Special Activities for M.D./Ph.D. Students
M.D./Ph.D. students have a number of opportunities to bond as group, which is important in providing a support system during the long course of study. Monthly lunch meetings between students and the Program Director provide an opportunity to exchange information, address problems and shape the direction of the program. The students often hold a summer picnic timed to welcome new students into the program. A fall cookout and a holiday party at the Director’s home are more recent traditions. M.D./Ph.D. students can participate in the annual Medical Student Research Day highlighting medical students’ summer research projects by presenting scientific posters showing their graduate research. Students also have the opportunity to attend the national M.D./Ph.D. Conference in Keystone, Colorado (usually during their graduate years) and other national and international conferences.
Graduate Research Training
After completing the second year of medical school and Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), students will reenter the graduate school to take graduate school courses, additional laboratory rotations, if needed, and move on to dissertation research. The recent reorganization of the Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. program instituted a common first-year core curriculum for all Ph.D. students. However, M.D./Ph.D. students are allowed to apply up to 26 credits of medical school courses towards their Ph.D. degree, and are exempted from most of the core curriculum requirements because of content overlap with medical school courses. M.D./Ph.D. students are required to take the following graduate courses:
• “On Being a Scientist” (INDI602/802)
• Two eight-week lab rotations (Mentored Research, BMSP 639/839)
• Introduction to Biostatistical Methods (INDI600)
• Recent Advances in Biomedical Sciences Journal Club (BMSP 637/837) during the first graduate year
• Track-specific journal club after the first year.
• Any Track-specific required courses
MD/PhD students are strongly recommended to take the following courses:
• Methods in Biomedical Science. (BMSP 638/838)
• Epidemiology (e.g., OCCH600)
• Other courses as needed/required for their Track or research project
Ph.D. Training in Programs other than Biomedical Sciences:
Most M.D./Ph.D. students will elect to train in laboratories within the College of Medicine under the auspices of the Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program. However, other opportunities may be available for students with unique preparation, skills and interests. For example, the University of Toledo has established a Ph.D. program in Biomedical Engineering, which may be of interest to M.D./Ph.D. students with significant prior training in this area. Such opportunities are more difficult to arrange due to the limited overlap of medical school and graduate coursework, and will need to be addressed on an individual basis. Students with such interests should consult with the M.D./Ph.D. Program Director early in the course of training to determine what options are available.
Clinical Training During Graduate School
During the years of graduate training, students will also participate in a required clinical experience to reinforce their preclinical education in pathophysiology, pharmacology and other areas while beginning to develop the clinical skills they will need as third year clinical clerks. This program is highly flexible but requires 8 hours of clinical exposure per month, broken down into a 4 hour session every two weeks or a weekly 2 hour session. This level of commitment is sufficient to maintain and develop clinical skills without interfering with the progress of the student’s laboratory research. Rotations can be scheduled with clinical mentors in almost any discipline, though arrangements have been made with the clerkship course directors in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine and Neurology to host M.D./Ph.D. students for these experiences. The student’s performance will be evaluated by the clinical faculty, and at the end of the graduate training, upon returning to enrollment in medical school, the student will be granted up to 2 months’ clinical elective credit for this work.
Students are expected to finish their Ph.D. course requirements, qualifying exam, dissertation, and oral defense before reentering medical school for the third and fourth year clerkships. They are urged to contact the Dean of Students early during the final year of their Graduate studies to enter the lottery for third year clerkship rotations. The third year clerkships include 6-week blocks in Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Surgery and Psychiatry. After completing these required rotations, students will take Step Two of the USMLE. During the fourth year, there is a required 4-week clerkship in Neurology, a required rotation in basic science, and the remainder of the time is elective. M.D./Ph.D. students frequently use some of that elective time for research, though a minimum number of clerkships must be performed in clinical disciplines.
|Financial Assitance for M.D./ Ph.D. students Support during the Ph.D. phase|
|Support during the M.D. Phase|
Two students per year are eligible to receive Medical School Tuition Scholarships, which cover the full cost of medical school tuition during the time they are registered as medical students. If a student is accepted into the M.D./Ph.D. program after completing one or two years of medical school, or the scholarship is awarded after matriculation, the Tuition Scholarship is not retroactive to the time prior to acceptance into the combined degree program or award of the scholarship. If a student leaves the M.D./Ph.D. program or fails to complete both degrees in a timely manner, the student forfeits future scholarship support and must pay back all medical school tuition that was previously awarded. The minimum requirement for yearly renewal of the tuition scholarship is a High Pass (“B”) average in all medical school courses and maintenance of a 3.0 GPA for all graduate courses.
|Additional forms of Financial Assistance|
Qualified M.D./Ph.D. students may be eligible for other UT-derived training grant funds and external sources of scholarships, grants, or gifts. Individual NIH predoctoral or M.D./Ph.D training grants (F30) are available on a competitive basis from some Institutes, and students are encouraged to apply soon after identifying their mentor and research project. Students with disability or minority status may be eligible to apply for individual M.D./Ph.D. training grants (F31) specifically targeted for these groups. The funding opportunities may depend on the mentor’s department, program or institute affiliation, or the disease to which the student’s work is most closely related. Students are encouraged to seek out and apply for such grants, as they not only provide additional sources of funding for the student’s tuition, stipend, and research-related expenses, but also are a distinguished accomplishment for the student’s resume.
One such granting mechanism at UT is the Molecular Pathogenesis of Cancer Training Program, which supports students studying under an advisor who participates in the program. Other students have received awards from national agencies like the Epilepsy Foundation of America and the American Diabetes Association, and several students have received scholarship grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
A list of additional sources of funding for M.D./Ph.D. students can be found in the
"Links" portion of this website.