MSTP | FAQs

Q. What are the MSTP applicant requirements? How do I know if I will be a competitive applicant?

A. 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.

Q. Is the research that applicants pursue in their undergraduate years expected to be related to the research they pursue as graduate students?

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

Q: What is the normal sequence of study for MSTP applicants?

A: 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).

Q: How long does it really take to get through your MSTP?

TimetoDegree2015.jpg

A: See above graph for average time to degree per graduating class.

Q. If my application is turned down by the MSTP, can I still be considered for the regular MD program?

A.  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.

Q. Can I apply to the MSTP after I've started school at the Pritzker School of Medicine?

A. 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.

Q: Can international students apply to the MSTP?

A. 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.

Q. Do you require any applications in addition to the AMCAS application?

A. 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 $75 processing fee. To apply for the MSTP, applicants simply need to select the MSTP when filling out this online application.

Q. Do you require any additional materials to the Pritzker Supplemental Application?

A. 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.

Q: Do I need to file a separate application to the graduate PhD program that I am interested in?

A. 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.   

Note: Applicants to the MSTP should be interested in biological or physical sciences.  Students interested in social sciences or humanities can earn an MD/PhD through the MeSH program. 

Q:  Do I need to take the GRE?

A:  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.

Q: Can I apply to both MSTP and to MeSH?

A:  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.  

Q: Through which departments can I earn a PhD as an MSTP trainee?

A.  Starting Autumn 2009, all MSTP trainees will 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.

Q: How are MSTP students funded once they enter the program?

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.