MD/PhD Program Curriculum | NYU Langone Health

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MD/PhD Program Curriculum

MD/PhD candidates at NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s Vilcek Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences may follow one of three academic pathways, all of which integrate preclinical coursework, graduate training in the biomedical sciences, and clinical clerkships.

Our MD/PhD program handbook, accessible to current students by logging into our intranet community using your Kerberos ID, provides a detailed overview of program guidelines.

MD/PhD Program Timeline

MD/PhD candidates follow a general timeline within which they choose one of our three academic pathways.

First Summer Rotation

Beginning July 1 of the year of your matriculation, you participate in a summer research rotation and attend the MD/PhD summer seminar series. You choose your research rotation mentor in consultation with a program co-director prior to arrival on campus.

Medical School Year One

Students must comply with the policies of NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s MD degree program as stated in the MD student handbook. During the academic year, you are expected to participate in MD/PhD program activities, as your schedule permits.

Second Summer Rotation

At the end of the first year, you participate in a second summer research rotation and attend our MD/PhD summer seminar series. You choose your research rotation mentor in consultation with a program co-director.

Medical School Year Two

During the academic year, you are expected to participate in MD/PhD program activities, as your schedule permits.

Transition to Graduate School

After completing the first 18 months of the MD degree program, you transition to PhD training in January of your second year. You take Step 1 of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) by March 1 and must pass to continue laboratory research. While in PhD training, you comply with graduate school policies.

Upon entering the MD/PhD program, you are strongly encouraged to read the Association of American Medical Colleges’®Compact Between Biomedical Graduate Students and Their Research Advisors.

You must complete all academic requirements of the training program as outlined by Vilcek Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences to receive a PhD.

Transition Back to Medical School

Re-entry into medical school requires careful coordination among you, your mentor, your thesis advisory committee, the MD/PhD program, and the MD program.

In the MD curriculum, MD/PhD students undertake their clinical clerkships and selectives and electives in 12-week blocks punctuated by 1-week intersessions. These blocks can be joined from May through September.

Clinical Clerkships

During a one-week orientation, you become familiar with aspects of a clinical clerkship. For example, you receive a campus tour, training on how to complete and file clinical data, and exposure to practical tools.

In addition, you take a course, Introduction to Bedside Diagnosis, developed specifically for MD/PhD candidates nearing the end of their PhD thesis work, to acclimate you to the clinic again. This course consists of highly focused sessions taught by chief medical residents at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, which serves a broad range of patients.

When you return to the MD training program after completing your PhD, we provide up to 24 months of funding while you complete your clinical clerkships. This includes one month of vacation, one month to interview, and one month to study for Step 2 of the USMLE®. Funding terminates on the last day of the month you graduate from NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

MD/PhD candidates also take the NYU Grossman School of Medicine comprehensive clinical skills exam in June (for those returning to clerkships between May and September) or February (for those on the accelerated pathway, returning in January, as described below). You must pass in order to graduate.

MD/PhD Program Pathways

Pathways in the MD/PhD Program Consist of Several Steps to Completion Including Rotations, Preclinical Courses, Clinical Clerkships, Graduate School, and Clinical Electives.

NYU Grossman School of Medicine MD/PhD candidates may choose from one of three academic pathways. Confer with the MD/PhD director to discuss which pathway is right for you.

Pathway One: Traditional

In our traditional pathway, you spend 18 months completing preclinical coursework toward the MD degree and two research lab rotations. By March 1 of your second year, you take the USLME® Step 1, the first part of the three-part examinations required for medical licensure.

After you pass the USMLE® Step 1, you participate in a third lab rotation if needed, or start work in your thesis laboratory for your PhD training. You complete your PhD over the course of years three through six.

After you successfully defend your PhD thesis, you spend your last approximately two years completing clinical clerkships, electives and selectives in specialty and subspecialty areas of interest, and preparing for the USMLE® Step 2. Clinical clerkships can be joined from May through September of each academic year.

You must pass the USMLE® Step 2 CK, which focuses on clinical knowledge, and the USMLE® Step 2 CS, which focuses on clinical skills, for medical licensure.

Pathway Two: Clinical Clerkship Prior to Graduate School

This pathway is offered for students who wish to complete one 12-week block of clinical clerkships during their second year of training, before starting their PhD training.

To select pathway two, you must obtain permission from the director of the MD/PhD program by September of your second year. You enter into the lottery for clinical clerkship palettes in the fall of your second year, along with candidates in the MD training program.

After you complete 12 weeks of clerkships, you take USMLE® Step 1 by June 1 of your second year. After you pass the USMLE® Step 1, you work on your thesis laboratory for the graduate school. After you successfully defend your PhD thesis, you complete the rest of your clinical clerkships, electives and selectives, and USMLE® Step 2. Entry dates for clerkships and the timeline for progressing through these stages are the same as pathway one.

Pathway Three: Accelerated Seven-Year MD/PhD Pathway

As an MD/PhD candidate, you have the option to apply to the accelerated three-year MD pathway. You are eligible for the seven-year MD/PhD pathway if you complete and defend your PhD thesis and begin clinical clerkships by January 1 after your final year of PhD training. You apply for the accelerated pathway in May of the final year. Admissions decisions for the accelerated pathway are made in November. You will receive conditional acceptance into a residency program at NYU Grossman School of Medicine at this time.

Admission to the accelerated three-year MD pathway depends on the availability of positions in your chosen residency. You will participate in the National Resident Matching Program®. Although you may apply to a residency outside of NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the accelerated pathway does not allow for time away from clinical clerkships, electives and selectives, or residency interviews.

Clinical clerkships begin in January of the year of your re-entry to medical school, followed by clinical electives, selectives, and the USMLE® Step 2. If you apply but are not accepted into the accelerated pathway, you begin your clerkships at any time between May through September.