Program & Curriculum Overview

A hallmark of the University of Chicago’s Medical Scientist Training Program is our unique curriculum wherein students graduate with an Interdisciplinary Scientist Training Program (ISTP) PhD.  This novel, highly adaptable program allows students full access to the superb graduate programs within the Division of Biological Sciences, the Division of Physical Sciences, and the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering.  On a case-by-case basis, other areas of study are possible. The ISTP allows students to pursue training in one field or to craft a unique course of study that integrates two classical disciplines such as computational biology and human genetics; structural biology and immunology; developmental biology and microbiology, and more. Such integrations reflect the evolution of biomedical research in which several disciplines are brought to bear on important questions in human disease.

Our MSTP is a community of scholars dedicated to research, academic excellence, and the pursuit and cultivation of learning. Members of the MSTP community cannot thrive unless each is accepted as an autonomous individual and is treated without regard to characteristics irrelevant to participation in the life of the University, in accordance with University policy. Read more about the University policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment

Further in accordance with University policy, our MSTP communicates program policies, academic requirements, and milestones for our graduate degree program publicly. Read more about program policies in our MSTP Student Handbook.

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The first year of the program combines both medical and graduate school classes. Students then typically begin their PhD thesis research work and return to the second year of medical school after a successful defense. This structure ensures a focused, intensive research experience and preserves the continuity of clinical training. On average, MSTP trainees complete both degrees in eight years.

Graduates of the MSTP are awarded a MD from the Pritzker School of Medicine and a PhD from the graduate studies arm of the MSTP.  The Pritzker School of Medicine is one of the top medical schools in the nation, and the curriculum is taught in small study groups that emphasize active learning and scholarship. Students earn the PhD degree in our one-of-a-kind and highly respected Interdisciplinary Scientist Training Program (ISTP). This unique and highly adaptable program allows you full access to the graduate programs within the Division of Biological Sciences, the Division of Physical Sciences, and the Division of Social Sciences.

The UChicago community, from faculty to MSTP administration to students, is incredibly supportive both personally and academically. In this environment, I have felt extremely well equipped to excel and make the most out of my training. ”

Anthony Hung MSTP Graduate Phase Student