Office of Admissions and Financial Aid

Office of Combined Degree and Physician Scholar Programs

MD-PHD Program

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) prepares students for careers as physician-investigators engaged in basic, disease-oriented and translational biomedical research. Strengths of the program include:

The vast majority of our MD-PhD students pursue PhD's in the following biomedical science graduate groups: Cell and Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Immunology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Pharmacological Sciences, Genomics and Computational Biology (School of Medicine) and Bioengineering (School of Engineering and Applied Science). The school offers fully funded fellowships to all accepted applicants in these areas. Penn has one of the largest MSTP grants from NIH in the country, and most of our fellowships are derived from MSTP and other funds.

Approximately 5% of our students are pursuing the PhD in other areas related to medicine. Some of the relevant graduate programs include Health Care Management (Wharton School) and History and Sociology of Sciences (School of Arts and Sciences). While most of our students are in the biomedical sciences, Penn is committed to training physician-investigators in other areas as well.

Successful candidates for the MD-PhD program will possess outstanding academic qualifications as reflected by their undergraduate transcripts and MCAT scores. Since the goal of this program is to train physician investigators, the program is particularly interested in applicants with substantial prior research experience in their area of interest, and who have demonstrated strong motivation and potential for their chosen careers. Letters of recommendation from research mentors are a critical part of the application.

For more information about the MD-PhD program at Penn, visit:

MD/Master's Programs

In addition to the MD-PhD program, there are a number of other opportunities for students who wish to combine the MD with another course of formal study. The Perelman School of Medicine enthusiastically supports students interested in pursuing a second degree in areas related to medicine.

Admission to the Master's programs is competitive, and decisions for the Master's program and the MD program are made independently. Students typically apply for a Master's program after matriculating to medical school, rather than applying simultaneously to the MD and Master's programs at the time of initial application. However, a very small number of candidates choose to apply to both programs from the beginning. Students must independently contact the relevant Master's program and submit a completed Master's program application to the graduate school.

There are several established MD-Master's programs, each of which is designed to allow Penn students to save time and tuition by completing the degrees in a combined program rather than separately. The curricula and financial aid opportunities vary by program.

MD-Master of Business Administration

This program is designed to integrate the study of medicine with training in managerial, financial, and technical expertise in the health care field.  Five years are required to earn the degree and the majority of students enroll in the Health Care Management major.  Applications are made in the 3rd year of medical school during Round 1.

MD-Master Of Bioethics

A program which provides MD students with the interdisciplinary training to address the moral challenges in healthcare today and in the future.  The combined degree is generally earned in four years if admitted to the MBE program in years 1 or 2.  Applications are generally initiated in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd year of medical school, but occasionally students apply to both programs simultaneously.

MD-Master Of Science In Clinical Epidemiology

This program is for students interested in careers in clinical research.  The goal of the program is to train individuals as independent investigators.  Students generally apply for admission to this program in their 3rd year of medical school.  The MD/MSCE can be completed in five years or extended if necessary.

MD-Master of Public Health

The program is designed for students with a special focus on population health problems.  It provides strong interdisciplinary training to individuals interested in clinical practice, prevention, hygiene, education and policy making. Students generall apply for admission to this prgram in their 3rd year.

MD-Master of Science in translational research

This program provides in depth instruction in the fundamental skills, methodology, and principles necessary to be a clinical investigator.  The goal of the program is to produce clinical researchers who are knowledgeable about the complex issues of clinical research.  The MD/MTR can be completed in five years.  Students generally apply for admission to this program during their 3rd year of medical school.

MD-Master of science in health policy research

The Master of Science in Health Policy Research Program is a training program open to medical students.  This program is designed primarily for physicians pursuing careers at the interface of health services research and health policy and its focus is on: health economics, health policy, qualitative/quantitative data collection, research study design and data analysis.


This program is designed to provide rigorous methodological and conceptual training in bioethics for medical students who aim to become academic bioethicists. This dual degree program can be completed in five years and limited scholarship funding is available.

md-master in law and health

This program is designed to help develop an understanding of health law and legal principles shaping health care. An emphasis on the contractual and legal obligations of health care service, regulation of health care and insurance industries, intellectual property, pharmaceutical developments and medical devices.


At the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, there is no formal MD/JD program.  However, if a student applies to medical school and to the law school and is accepted to both programs, the medical and law schools will work together with that student to develop an integrated program.  Through these efforts it may be possible to complete both degrees in a total of six years, rather than seven.

Page Updated: 14-Aug-2014