General Info

  • Faculty working with students: Varies; students choose mentors from the basic science departments in the School of Medicine, graduate science departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, the Sanford School of Public Policy, Fuqua School of Business, and the Duke Global Health Initiative.
  • Students: 67
  • Students receiving Financial Aid: 100%
  • Part time study available: No
  • Test required: MCAT
  • Application deadlines


Medical Scientist Training Program
Box 102005 Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC 27710
(919) 684-2412



Program Description

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is an NIH-funded dual-degree program designed for highly qualified students interested in careers in medical science and/or academic medicine. Students earn both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. The program takes advantage of the Duke University School of Medicine's unique third-year research program in which the third year of medical school serves as the first year of graduate school, shortening the total time to the dual degree by one year.

Completion of the Ph.D. generally takes four to five years, after which the student returns for the fourth year of medical school. The dissertation research is typically conducted in one of the School of Medicine's basic science graduate programs, in Ph.D. degree-granting departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, or in the School of Engineering, although study in any doctoral program within the Graduate School is allowed. Departments/programs typically chosen by MSTP students for their dissertation research include:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cell Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
  • Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Cancer Biology
  • Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
  • Neurobiology
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology

New opportunities for Ph.D. studies also exist:

  • A Ph.D. in the Fuqua School of Business is ideal for medical students interested in conducting research in decision making, behavioral economics and in more traditional business disciplines (such as marketing and finance) as they apply to medical practice.
  • Although a Ph.D. does not exist in Global Health, doctoral studies can be performed in laboratories associated with Duke's Global Health Institute.

Graduates of the program have a wide range of career opportunities in clinical medicine, academic medicine, biological sciences, and other biomedical research settings. Financial support for students comes from a variety of sources including the School of Medicine, the Graduate School, Ph.D. mentors, endowed fellowships, and a Medical Scientist Training Program training grant from the NIH.

Other Requirements

Prospective students submit applications simultaneously to both the School of Medicine M.D. program and the MSTP. Applicants who are not admitted to MSTP are still eligible for admission to the MD only program. A few students are admitted to the MSTP from the second- and third-year School of Medicine classes. Students should contact the MSTP office,, for information about application procedures for this mid-level entry into the program.