Medical Scientist Training Program

Penn MSTP alumni outcomes: short and long term

An important part of evaluating the success of an MD/PhD program is finding out what happens to its graduates. As of May 2018, we have 597 alumni.  We check in with them nearly every year, and then every 5 years, we do an extensive analysis.  Our most recent review was in the fall of 2016, and some data from that study is included below.

Short term outcomes: residency and postdoc choices

Nearly all (>90%) Penn MSTP alumni choose to do additional clinical training, usually because they enjoy taking care of people and plan a career in which they will work as a physician-scientist in a clinical department that expects them to be able to contribute to patient care and teaching. Some skip residency training and go straight to a postdoc or faculty position. From a program perspective, we think that any of these choices can be great. We work with students from the moment they enter the MSTP, so that when the time comes for them to make a choice, they will be able to choose the path that is best for them.

The figure below shows the residency choices made by our 242 graduates from 2004 to 2016. Approximately two-thirds have chosen traditional fields such as internal medicine, pathology, pediatrics and neurology. Others have entered a wide range of clinical fields, with nearly every branch of clinical medicine represented on the list.

Residency choices

For our most recent residency placements (clinical field and institution), visit the Residency Match Lists page.  For a comparison with data from the 2018 AAMC National MD/PhD program outcomes report, visit: New AAMC Study Examines Career Trends Among MD-PhD Program Graduates (April 25, 2018).

Long term outcomes: where do they work?

There is starting to be a lot of publicly available information on what happens to MD/PhD program alumni after they complete postgraduate training. The goal of an MD/PhD program like ours is for graduates to have long and productive careers as investigators as well as physicians. The figure below shows the current workplace for the 280 alumni out of postgraduate training (meaning beyond residency and fellowship) who responded to our survey in 2016.

Approximately 80% are in career paths consistent with the goals of our program, which usually means working full time in either academia (AFT), a research institute, the NIH, the biotech and pharmaceutical industries or in federal government branches such as the CDC and the FDA. A small percentage are in private practice (PP). How good are these outcomes? For a comparison with data from the 2018 AAMC National MD/PhD program outcomes report, visit: New AAMC Study Examines Career Trends Among MD-PhD Program Graduates (April 25, 2018).  

Career paths

alumni profiles

Check out the Alumni Profiles of some of our most notable alumni.

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