The MD-PhD Program at the University of Texas Medical Branch is designed to educate well-trained clinician-scientists who are equally at home at the patient's bedside and the research lab. We believe that such individuals will be uniquely prepared to advance biomedical science and translate research advances into improvements in clinical care. We have developed a specific, integrated, MD-PhD curriculum that combines aspects of both the Medical School and Graduate School experiences to optimize the education of physician-scientists. The Medical School curriculum at UTMB is centered around systems-based modules with a primary emphasis on small group and self-learning. This curriculum allows for an unprecedented opportunity to incorporate special seminars and courses tailored specifically for needs of the Combined Degree student. This situation is ideal for the education of MD-PhD students since it integrates the two education tracks with a view toward shortening the time spent in classrooms and speeding the entry of the MD-PhD student into the research phase of his/her training. This truly innovative curriculum fosters the cross-pollination of ideas and helps bridge the gap between basic research and clinical practice.
Integrated MD-PhD Curriculum
Advantages of the Integrated Curriculum
This integrated curriculum allows the student to be simultaneously connected with the activities of both the Medical School and the Graduate School throughout the entire training program. Several major advantages result from this approach.
First, the students are integrated into both schools immediately upon arrival. This allows them to learn about the research opportunities on campus, be exposed to the different graduate programs and be in a strong, informed position when choosing a thesis research lab.
Second, taking both Medical School and Graduate School coursework simultaneously immediately exposes the students to the benefits of the combined MD-PhD career, that is, approaching medical topics with a scientific perspective while bringing medicine and clinical relevance to bear on science.
Third, this combined curriculum successfully integrates Medical and Graduate Schools without the need to do the bulk of the clinical experience before thesis research. This allows students to go on to residency programs immediately after their most intense clinical training period.
Graduate Research Programs
Students in the MD-PhD Program may choose to pursue a Ph.D. in one of three tracks: