MD/Master's at PSOM

The MD/Master's Programs at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM) were developed to provide current PSOM medical students with advanced training in specific areas to complement and enhance their medical training. This website aims to provide a general overview of MD/Master's, below are some quick links to help you navigate.

Explore our MD/Master's Programs

Starting the Process - Advising & Applying

To begin the process, students should discuss their interest of pursuing an MD/Master's with their Advisory Dean and their mentors.  It is important for students to consider long term goals and assess the benefits of the additional degree. Students are encouraged to do some ‘information gathering’ such as:

  • Visit the MD/Master's websites
  • Attend PSOM info sessions organized by the Combined Degree Office (in person, or recorded, if available)
  • Reach out to Program Directors and key contacts who can help address any specific questions
    • Some programs offer a directory of MD/Masters students and students are encouraged to use the directory to connect with and talk to current students
  • Meet with Michael Sabara, Director of Financial Services, to discuss financial aid implications prior to applying

Each Masters program has a unique admissions process, and programs range in competitiveness.  The strongest applicants will have excellent academic records and a demonstrated passion for the subject matter. Current PSOM medical students typically apply for a master's program in the fall of their third year of medical school (except for the MBE program which students can also apply during first or second year), although application deadlines vary by program. In addition to submitting an MD/Master's application through the program, PSOM medical students should simultaneously also submit a Master's Program Registration Form to the Combined Degree Office.

Curriculum & Program Structure

Most of our MD/Master's programs are designed to be completed in 5 years with the bulk of the master’s courses work being done in the year between MS3 and MS4 (after Core 2 and 6-8 months of Core 3). Several features facilitate the completion of both degrees in 5 years. For example, some masters programs allow transfer credits from the medical school to the masters program, satisfying requirements for both degrees. Program requirements and transfer credits vary by program. Additionally, as noted below, completion of the Masters can fulfill PSOM graduation requirements including the Scholarly Pursuit requirement and two additional elective months.

With careful planning, a couple of programs can be completed in 4 years (i.e., MD/MBE and MD/ML). This would require front-loading courses during the first three semesters of medical school. Students should consult with Program Director and Combined Degree Office for advising and curriculum planning.

Please refer to individual program website for details and examples of curriculum plans.

Medical School Planning:

There are additional things to keep in mind when making your medical school plans:

  • All master's degree counts as your Scholarly Pursuit Requirement.
  • MD/Master students need to complete 1 week of bioethics which is typically offered the last week of February and the Measey STeP course. Additionally, all students must complete a patient facing clinical elective in or after September of the year they are graduating.

Policies & Procedures

Combined Degree - MD/Master's Policy & Guidelines:

Students should refer to the Combined Degree at Penn - MD/Master's Policy & Guidelines (scroll down to the 'Special Matriculation' section called 'Combined Degree - MD/Master's') for further details regarding enrollment, tuition and fees, and much more. 


Once a student is admitted, the student should immediately notify their Advisory Dean, the Combined Degree Office, Registrar's Office, and the Financial Aid Office.

PSOM Additional Course Policy:

The additional course benefit can NOT be used to cover courses during a semester when a student is enrolled/billed as a full time Masters student, but it can be helpful for taking a course during MS1 as part of exploring a program and/or can be used in some circumstances to cover a course that will be part of the degree as detailed below. PSOM medical students can register for up to three University courses, with no additional tuition charges, according to the PSOM Additional Course Policy. Students should carefully read and understand the guidelines to this policy:

  • Courses can be taken in any school in the University during the Fall or Spring semesters when the student is actively enrolled (not on a leave of absence or short-term break) and paying MD tuition (not just fees only).
  • To take a course for credit in a Summer semester, MD tuition must be paid in full for the previous Spring and following Fall semesters. Only Perelman School of Medicine (such as: Bioethics, Epidemiology, Health Policy Research, Translational Research, Public Health) or School of Law courses may be taken during the Summer. A student may take only one course in a Summer semester limited to the UPenn course catalogue.
  • In the event that a non-MD course requirement conflicts with an MD course requirement, the MD course must be given priority.

Financial Information

Financial Aid:

As soon as a PSOM medical student is considering the pursuit of a dual degree program, financial aid counseling and planning is strongly advised. Students should contact Michael Sabara, Director of Financial Services.  He is available to help explain program costs, the financial aid process, funding options and how to apply for financial aid. Here are some general things to consider:

  • When paying medical school tuition and registered as a medical student, an individual can retain their MD Scholarship (for tuition/living expenses). When a student is registered as a full time Masters student, they are not eligible for a MD Scholarship (for tuition/living expenses). In accordance with federal regulations, all sources of aid (loan, scholarships, fellowships,) cannot exceed the student budget.
  • Direct loans have aggregate limits, which are cumulative and include any undergraduate, graduate, and medical school loans borrowed in the Direct loan program. For any semester when a student is a full-time Masters or a full-time MD student, the program aggregate limit is $224,000.
  • Students needing loans are required to meet with Michael Sabara.

Typically, PSOM medical students are responsible for Masters degree tuition (grants and stipends possible) as defined by the program. Any MD scholarship will not apply to Masters tuition. Please contact the individual Program Directors to learn about any scholarship opportunities offered by their program.