Academics

MD-PhD Programs in Medicine, the Social Sciences, and Humanities

MeSH

The program in Medicine, the Social Sciences and Humanities (MeSH) at the University of Chicago trains medical students to become innovative physician-scholars at the critical interface of medicine and society. The MeSH program is an opportunity for students interested in obtaining an MD and a PhD in a field outside of the traditional biological and physical sciences. Former students have pursued their PhDs in such wide ranging fields as anthropology, economics, public policy and philosophy. Started in 1985, MeSH is one of the only programs of its kind in the country.

MeSH students typically begin their studies in graduate school for the first two years and then complete three years of medical school before returning to graduate school to complete PhD training. After completing the PhD, students return to medical school to finish their medical training. This sequence allows MeSH students to complete their graduate training efficiently while minimizing long breaks in their medical training.

Center for Health and Social Sciences (CHeSS)

After gaining admission, incoming MeSH students are integrated into the Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS), where they receive administrative support, access to interdisciplinary workshops and courses, and mentorship.  Consisting of 3-4 faculty members from across the University, mentorship teams provide ongoing support and advisement to MeSH students as they progress through both medical school and their respective PhD programs. The core MeSH faculty, a cadre of institutionally and nationally prominent investigators, represent a wide range of federally and privately funded collaborative projects. They also provide MeSH students unique opportunities to participate in very cohesive, interactive health services research and social science groups throughout campus. 

Funding/Support

Some students in the MeSH Program receive tuition and stipend support for their medical training at the Pritzker School of Medicine. Students may receive funding support through the University of Chicago Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), while others may receive funding through a National Institute on Aging (NIA) training grant. Tuition and stipend support for graduate training come from the student’s PhD program. 

Students interested in MeSH may pursue a doctoral degree among any of the graduate programs relevant to the social sciences and humanities at the University of Chicago.

MeSH applicants must submit separate applications to medical school and to any PhD programs of interest. Students applying to the Department of Public Health Sciences do not need to submit a separate PhD application if they wish to be considered for admission solely through MSTP and the ISTP graduate program. Students who also wish to be considered by the MeSH program should submit a separate application to the Department of Public Health Sciences. 

Prospective students must submit separate applications to both MSTP-MeSH at the Pritzker School of Medicine and to any PhD programs of interest. Applicants should also review the MeSH FAQ page before applying. 

AMCAS Filing June 1 - October 15, 2019
AMCAS Deadline October 15, 2019
Secondary Application Deadline

Priority Consideration Deadline:
November 1, 2019

Final Deadline:
December 1, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. (CST)

PhD Program Application Deadlines varies by PhD program
Letters of Recommendation Postmark Deadline December 1, 2019

MSTP-MeSH Interview Dates
 

September 2019 - January 2020

Acceptance Notification January - March 2020
Acceptance Response Deadline varies by PhD program

1. AMCAS Application

The Pritzker School of Medicine utilizes the online American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). When completing the AMCAS application, MeSH applicants should 1) select the "Combined Medical Degree/PhD" program type, and 2) select "Other" under combined degree area(s). MD-PhD applicants have to fill out two additional AMCAS essays: 1) Stating their reasons for wishing to pursue the combined MD/PhD, and 2) Listing significant research experience.

2. Pritzker Secondary Application

Every student who submits an application through AMCAS will receive a Pritzker School of Medicine secondary application by email. When completing this application, MeSH applicants should select the MSTP-MeSH application type at the beginning of the application and fill out the corresponding MSTP-MeSH application. Please note that this form will ask the applicant to specify one or more University of Chicago PhD programs to which the applicant is applying. For additional information about the Secondary Application, please visit the Pritzker School of Medicine Admissions Process page. 

We recommend that prospective MeSH students submit all Pritzker Secondary application materials early in the application process and no later than December 1, 2019. If you are submitting your application after this date, of if your AMCAS verification is not complete, please notify MeSH program administrator Kelsey Bogue.

3. Postmark Letters of Recommendation

As an MeSH applicant, you should be prepared with six letters of recommendation: 3 letters in support of your MD degree application and 3 additional letters supporting your PhD application. MD letters should be uploaded to AMCAS, while PhD letters should be sent to your PhD program of interest directly. For additional information about MD letters, please visit the Letters of Recommendation Tips. For questions about letters of recommendation for the PhD program, please contact your program of interest directly. You can also view more information about PhD letters of recommendation on the Social Sciences and Humanities division websites.

Applicants may apply to one or more PhD program(s) related to the social sciences or humanities. Please note that the majority of PhD programs in the Humanities and Social Sciences require that students take the GRE in addition to the MCAT.

MeSH applicants must submit separate applications to any PhD programs of interest. Students applying to the Department of Public Health Sciences do not need to submit a separate PhD application if they wish to be considered for admission solely through MSTP and the ISTP graduate program. Students who also wish to be considered by the MeSH program should submit a separate application to the Department of Public Health Sciences. 

Application deadlines vary based on PhD program. Applicants should visit the individual program websites for application instructions and deadlines. 

MeSH applicants will be screened by the MD, MSTP, and MeSH admissions committees. If favorably reviewed by the admissions committees, the applicant will be invited for an interview. 

Some candidates have research interests that may make them a good fit for both MSTP and MeSH. These applicants will be invited by MSTP for two-day interviews. MD interviews are typically conducted on Tuesdays, and MSTP/MeSH interviews will be conducted on Wednesdays. Applicants who are invited by MSTP must be available to interview on both days but may receive some funds to support travel to and from the interview.

Other applicants will be invited to interview with MeSH only. These candidates will conduct Pritzker and MeSH interviews on the same day. Unfortunately, MeSH is not able to provide any funds to support travel to and from the interview.

Candidates must gain admissions to both the medical school and a PhD program to be a part of MeSH. For most candidates, decisions will be made in February or March. Accepted students will receive information about tuition and stipend support in their admissions letters.

Yes. MeSH applicants must apply both for admission to the Pritzker School of Medicine using the MD/MSTP-MeSH application and to the University of Chicago PhD programs in which they are interested in obtaining their PhD. Students applying to the Department of Public Health Sciences do not need to submit a separate PhD application if they wish to be considered for admission solely through MSTP and the ISTP graduate program. Students who also wish to be considered by the MeSH program should submit a separate application to the Department of Public Health Sciences. 

Applicants apply to the Pritzker School of Medicine through the online AMCAS system

Prospective MeSH students are welcome to apply to any PhD program in the Social Sciences or Humanities Divisions. Applicants may also apply to the Department of Public Health Sciences in the Biological Sciences Division or to one of the following professional schools: Booth School of Business, Divinity School, Harris School of Public Policy, or School of Social Service Administration. 

Students interested in the quantitative social sciences and/or the study of aging are strongly encouraged to apply. Common PhD programs of MeSH students are listed in Areas of Study above. 

Absolutely. In fact, if more than one PhD program seems to be relevant to your interests, you are encouraged to apply to multiple PhD programs. This may improve your chances of acceptance to a PhD program and will provide more opportunities to receive a desirable financial aid package for your PhD studies. If you apply to more than one PhD program, please list all the PhD programs to which you are applying in the space provided on the MeSH supplemental application.

Almost certainly. Most PhD programs in the social sciences require submission of GRE scores. Applicants need to check the application requirements of the University graduate programs to which they plan to apply.

For your Pritzker Secondary Application, you should submit recommendation letters according to the MSTP guidelines. This means you should submit letters (no more than 3) from individuals familiar with your research. You can submit up to six letters total. Please note that you will also have to submit letters with your PhD program applications. 

You may apply to the MeSH National Track program if you have already started your training at the Pritzker School of Medicine. 

Yes. MSTP and MeSH candidates submit the same materials through the Pritzker Secondary Application. The main difference in the application process is that prospective MeSH students applying to PhD programs in the social sciences, humanities, or related professional schools must submit separate applications to these PhD programs. Once your application is complete, the MD, MSTP, and MeSH admissions committees will all review your application. You may be invited to interview for MSTP, MeSH, or both. 

Most MeSH students begin with 2 years of graduate school and then complete 3 years of medical school. Then, students return to their graduate training to complete their PhD before finishing their last year of medical school. The total number of years it takes to graduate from the MeSH program with both an MD and a PhD varies by PhD program. 

Center for Health and Social Sciences (CHeSS)
5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 1005
Chicago, IL 60637-5415
Attn: MeSH Program

Inquiries about the MeSH program may be directed to Kelsey Bogue at the Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS). 

Name/Title Contact
David Meltzer, MD, PHD
MeSH Faculty Director 
Director, Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS)
dmeltzer@medicine.bsd.uchicago.edu
Kathleen Cagney, PhD
MeSH Co-Director
kacagney@uchicago.edu
Stacie Levine, MD
MeSH Co-Director
slevine@medicine.bsd.uchicago.edu
Linda Waite, PhD
MeSH Co-Director
l-waite@uchicago.edu
Ellen Cohen
Executive Director, Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS)
cohen@uchicago.edu 
(773) 704-7449
Kelsey Bogue
Associate Director of Training Programs and Communications,
Center for Health and the Social Sciences (CHeSS)
kbogue@bsd.uchicago.edu
(773) 702-4401