Prospective Students

Interested in UChicago's MSTP? Register to receive more information.

The University of Chicago is internationally known as the “teacher of teachers” and is firmly committed to scholarship of the highest order. Researchers at the University have made numerous fundamental discoveries including identifying REM sleep, discovering erythropoietin, and proving that chromosomal translocations can cause cancer. Eighty-five recipients of the Nobel Prize have been associated with the University including thirteen since 1979. The MSTP fully capitalizes on this rich intellectual environment to provide its trainees with outstanding opportunities for an education in the sciences. Most MSTP trainees conduct their research within the Division of Biological Sciences which has twenty-one highly regarded degree-granting programs in areas including genetics, molecular biology, neurosciences, immunology, microbiology, cancer biology, and evolutionary biology. Areas of specialization available through the Division of Physical Sciences include chemistry and physics. Additionally, students may pursue a specialization in the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering.  

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Commitment to Community Outreach & Service

Community outreach and service are embedded in MSTP’s culture.  All students complete service hours annually. The geographic location of Hyde Park offers unique opportunities to serve diverse patient populations, and several MSTP students have been honored for contributions locally and nationally. Examples of our students' outreach and service include but are not limited to: volunteering at one of Pritzker's five free clinics, mentoring middle school students in STEM subjects, tutoring inpatients at Comer Children’s Hospital, serving as sexual violence victims advocates at the University of Chicago Medical Center Emergency Room, among other forms of involvement. 

I feel so lucky to be at an institution that is both highly academically rigorous and deeply passionate about service, community, and positive change. ”

Kierstin Webster 2018

MSTP Applicant FAQ

The Medical Scientist Training Program seeks students with strong academic records and a commitment to biomedical investigation. Successful applicants generally have extensive research experience and strong letters of recommendation indicating their interest and potential in basic science research.

Not at all. Students frequently change research interests after beginning their medical studies.

Our students have a choice of one of two ways to complete the program. They may do their first year of medical school, break away and do their graduate work, then return to complete the remaining 3 years of medical school (1-4-3). This is the preferred way so that our students can do their clinical training directly before they go into the clinics during third year. Alternatively, students may complete two years of medical school and then take a leave of absence to complete their PhD, then return to Pritzker for the final two years of medical school (2-4-2).

Yes. Your application is initially reviewed jointly by the medical school and the MSTP. If both parties are interested, an interview invitation will be issued. The application can also be rejected outright, or put on hold for further review later on. The applicant then comes for a joint interview with both Pritzker and the MSTP. If the MSTP interviews the candidate but does not accept him/her, the applicant can make a written request that the application be considered for MD-only, at which time the application will go through the MD-only committee process.

The MSTP is primarily open to incoming medical students. Current Pritzker students interested in pursuing a PhD in the biological sciences may apply for the Growth and Development Training Program as well as various other Biological Sciences Divisional training grants.

Most students in the MSTP are on a federally funded training grant and therefore are required to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.  On the rare occasion, exceptionally qualified international students have been considered for other funding.

Every student who submits an application through AMCAS will receive an online Pritzker School of Medicine Supplemental Application by email. The supplemental application requires three letters of recommendation, an essay and a $85 processing fee. To apply for the MSTP, applicants simply need to select the MSTP when filling out this online application.

MSTP applicants should submit letters (no more than 3) from individuals familiar with their research. If letters are submitted supporting only an MD application, 3 additional letters attesting to the applicant's research abilities/potential must be sent in as well. If all 3 submitted discuss the applicant research abilities, no further letters are needed. Please submit no more than 6 letters in total.

MSTP applicants initially need only to submit an application to the MSTP through the Pritzker School of Medicine.  If accepted into the MSTP, they will then automatically be a part of the Interdisciplinary Scientist Training Program for their PhD work.

MSTP applicants do not need to take the GRE.  MCAT scores and coursework are sufficient to earn a PhD in the Interdisciplinary Scientist Training Program (ISTP), the department through which all MSTP applicants earn their PhD beginning Autumn 2009.

Students typically apply to either the MSTP or to the MeSH program, because these programs are fundamentally different. The main difference in the application process is that students applying to MeSH are seeking a PhD in the social sciences, humanities, or related professional schools (such as the Harris School of Public Policy) and must submit separate applications to these PhD programs. You can learn more about the MeSH program on their page.  

All MSTP trainees earn their PhD through the Interdisciplinary Scientist Training Program, the PhD-granting arm of the MSTP.  Trainees will still be able work with any faculty member in the biological or physical sciences, but as part of an MSTP-only department that will grant their PhD.  This arrangement ensures maximum flexibility, provides a programmatic identity that fosters the seamless progression of our students through the medical and graduate phases of their training, and offers an efficient and highly integrated training of MSTP students in systems biology approaches to human biology in health and disease.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents qualify for the federally funded National Research Service Award by the National Institutes of Health through the Center of the National General Medical Sciences. MSTP trainees can receive up to six years of NIH  support. Matriculants in the MSTP receive support for the four years of medical studies and up to four years of Ph.D. studies.  Support for any additional years needed to complete the Ph.D. is typically negotiated through the advisor’s research grants.  Support is conditional upon satisfactory progress in the program.  The award includes full tuition, health and insurance fees, and a stipend for the year beginning in the summer quarter.  

Name/Title Contact
Shanetha Thomas
MSTP Administrative Director of Admissions & Student Programs
Dr. Kristin McCann
MSTP Associate Dean of Students
MSTP Executive Director

Campus & Hyde Park

The Pritzker School of Medicine is one of the few medical schools in this country to be located physically on the University campus. Known for its gothic architecture, the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park is home to nearly 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students and six professional schools.

Our students practice medicine in a number of state-of-the-art facilities. The 10-story, 1.2 million square-foot Center for Care and Discovery serves as the core of the medical campus. Additional campus facilities include the Comer Children's HospitalDuchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, and Mitchell Hospital. We offer clinical experiences at NorthShore University HealthSystem, and La Rabida Children's Hospital.

The campus is located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, just seven miles south of downtown Chicago. Hyde Park is a historic area known for its political and social activism, strong sense of community, and many historic and architectural landmarks. It has been cited as one of the most racially and economically integrated urban communities in the United States. Hyde Park boasts dozens of museums and cultural institutions, a wide variety of cafes and bakeries, and a large number of one-of-a-kind shops and independent bookstores. Our neighborhood will soon be home to another distinctive attraction: the Obama Presidential Center.

Only a twenty minute train or bus ride from downtown Chicago, the city is literally at your doorstep. Chicago is the third-largest metropolitan area in the nation, home to more than 200 theaters and art galleries, 552 parks, and 26 miles of lakefront trails. Students can take advantage of these attractions by using the city's robust public transit system, which includes buses, trains, and the L--our nickname for the elevated rapid transit trains.