Akua Sarfo, a student in the MD/PhD Medical Scientist Training Program at Penn State College of Medicine, is seen in a College laboratory in April 2017. Sarfo is pictured looking at the camera, standing in front of a microscope while wearing a white lab coat. She is surrounded by other laboratory equipment.

MD/PhD Medical Scientist Training Program

Training Tomorrow's Physician-Scientists

Through the MD/PhD Medical Scientist Training Program at Penn State College of Medicine, you’ll gain the tools and training you need to become a successful physician-scientist.

You’ll experience the breadth of clinical science while designing experiments and conducting biomedical research with modern technology.

The program, typically completed in eight years, will prepare you for a successful career in medical research, academic medicine, or a related field.

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About the Program


The MD/PhD program integrates medical and graduate education, providing flexibility for students to design a tailor-made educational experience.

Students take several graduate courses during the first two years of medical school, and participate in ongoing patient experiences through the Clinical Exposure Program in the research portion of their training.

Throughout the program, students are exposed to topics in clinical, basic and translational research. Learn more about the MD/PhD curriculum.

What's New in the MD/PhD Program

Why Choose Penn State?

Supported by the NIH

The Penn State College of Medicine Medical Scientist Training Program is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, awarded to the top MD/PhD programs in the country.

The award supports the MD/PhD program to train medical scientists interested in pursuing careers in biomedical research and academic medicine. The College of Medicine also provides support to ensure ongoing and future success of the program.

Leading the Way in Personalized Medicine

Penn State College of Medicine is home to one of the first personalized medicine centers in the country.

As an MD/PhD student, you’ll have the opportunity to conduct research through the Institute of Personalized Medicine, which provides scientists with the resources they need to develop treatments tailored to the individual. 

Nicholas Sterling, a student in the MD/PhD Medical Scientist Training Program at Penn State College of Medicine, works with faculty member Xuemei Huang to investigate pictures of brain scans on a computer. Huang is pointing toward the screen as Sterling looks on.
A key feature of the Penn State College of Medicine MD/PhD Medical Scientist Training Program is the close collaboration between students and faculty.

Translating Research Findings into New Health Benefits

The Penn State Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) is an independent, multidisciplinary academic engine for clinical and translational science.

The ultimate goal of CTSI is to develop, implement and make available new ways to predict, prevent, and treat human disease.

Applying to the MD/PhD Program

In addition to the standard requirements for admission to the MD Program, we consider applicants who have:

  • Outstanding grades and MCAT scores
  • Sustained interest and experience in research
  • Strong letters of support

We take a holistic approach in reviewing applications, considering all aspects of a prospective student’s background.

International Students

Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States at the time of application. Foreign nationals, regardless of visa status, are currently ineligible for admission.

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Important Dates
  • AMCAS application deadline is Nov. 15
  • Secondary applications must be completed by Dec. 15
Learn how to apply to the MD/PhD program

More About Penn State College of Medicine

Student Resources

Penn State College of Medicine strives to create the best culture of respect and inclusion for our students. A number of programs, services and facilities are available.

See more resources for current students

Campus Life

Student Housing

Housing is available to Penn State College of Medicine students, residents and postdocs in University Manor East and West apartment complexes. One of the complexes is pictured as seen from a higher floor of a nearby building, with a road and trees framing it in the background.
Housing in University Manor apartments is available to Penn State College of Medicine students.

Penn State College of Medicine offers housing in its University Manor East or University Manor West apartments to full-time students, residents, postdoctoral scholars and visiting scholars.

Read more about on-campus housing.

Life in Hershey, PA

Penn State College of Medicine is in Hershey, PA, a town known as the home of the HersheyPark amusement park and the Hershey Chocolate Factory. Two banners depicting cartoon candy characters are seen on a light pole in downtown Hershey, PA, in summer 2016, with a brick building with large glass windows in the background.
Hershey, Pa., is known as "The Sweetest Place on Earth."

Penn State College of Medicine's primary campus is located in Hershey, Pa. The area provides numerous diverse and delicious dining experiences, sports, concerts and entertainment, and is a short drive away from the Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, DC, metro areas.

Read more about life in Hershey.