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Combined Degree Programs

Policies Specific to Combined Degree Students

If a medical student in a combined degree program is placed on any form of probation by their other degree granting program, the medical school will review the circumstances leading to the probation as well as the student's medical school performance to determine if additional action should be taken. Such actions may include, but are not limited to: no additional action, probation or dismissal relative to the MD program.

A medical student in a combined degree program who has a change in status in the non-MD program (dismissal or withdrawal) will be evaluated similarly to any student who has a change of status in the MD program. The circumstances as well as the student's medical school performance will be reviewed by the Advancement Committee to determine if additional action should be taken. This may include a recommendation to the Dean regarding the student's ability to remain in the School of Medicine as an "MD only" student. This status will not be automatic upon leaving the other portion of the combined degree program. The Advancement Committee will pay particular attention to the student's academic performance, professional conduct and any academic or disciplinary probation.


For admissions information and detailed information about this program, please visit: Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP).

Program Requirements and Schedule

Requirements for the combined MD and PhD degrees are equivalent to those of the separate degrees of the Doctor of Medicine of the School of Medicine and the Doctor of Philosophy of the Graduate School of the University of Maryland. The dual degree program can be completed within six to eight years.

Although the schedule of training can be flexible, entering students typically complete the two preclinical years as medical students prior to enrolling as full time graduate students. During this initial period the MD/PhD students use the post freshman and sophomore summers for required research rotations in laboratories of their choice. In addition during the first year there is an extensive orientation program, which provides a detailed view of the diverse research opportunities available. The research rotations and orientation are designed to facilitate the choice of a thesis advisor. There is also a required biomedicine journal club for freshman and sophomores.

After completion of the preclinical years, MD/PhD students enroll for three to four years in the PhD program of their choice. During this time they take required graduate courses, complete a required Longitudinal Clinical Rotation and complete their dissertation research. They must defend their PhD thesis before returning to the medical school phase. Subsequently, students begin the final two years of their medical training, which takes the form of a series of clinical clerkships and 1 elective over the third year and 2 sub-internships, 5 electives and 1 month of Area Health Education Center work in the fourth year. To provide flexibility and to meet the specific professional development needs of MD/PhD students while assuring comparable clinical training to our MD students, they:

  • will complete 2 sub-internships, 4 weeks of AHEC at a traditional Maryland site, and 2 clinical electives as minimum requirements for senior year.
  • may accrue up to 3 months of senior elective credit in the preclinical and graduate school years through the Physician Scientist Elective or other preapproved curricula. These curricula should be approved through the MD/PhD Clinical Committee with final approval through the Office of Student Affairs.
  • may return to their PhD laboratory in lieu of 1 elective month.
  • will be expected to engage in professional development activities (electives, research or academic pursuits consonant with their career plans) throughout most of their senior year even if they begin clinical work on time and are able to complete all required coursework without a break in their curriculum. There should be no more than two to three totally unscheduled months in the senior year.

MD/PhD clinical years schedules will be reviewed and approved by the MD/PhD Clinical Advisory Subcommittee (CAS) and will have final approval by the Office of Student Affairs.

The CAS advises students about their return to medical school for clinical training. This committee will formally approve a final plan, including schedules for the clerkships, clinical electives and sub-internships. This schedule will account for all of the students’ time in the fourth year including professional development activities if they are able to finish requirements early. These schedules will then be sent to OSA for final approval.

The CAS will advise students in the MSIII year about approaches to successfully compete for research-oriented residency programs in their chosen specialty. This takes the form of a workshop for all students in clinical training. Follow up meetings between appropriate committee members and individual students will be scheduled as warranted.

For additional information contact: Michael Donnenberg, M.D., at 410-706-7562.


For admissions information and detailed information about this program, please visit: MD/Masters Programs.

All MD/Master’s students may use one month of elective time to complete a Master's Capstone/Research Practicum. MD/Master’s students will automatically receive one month of elective credit for their Capstone project as long as they register for the appropriate Capstone course (course PH 789) in their fourth year of medical school. MD/Master’s students who need additional time to complete their Capstone project may register for a separate research elective. This elective must be approved by the Office of Student Research and provides additional flexibility for completion of the Capstone. It is not a requirement to use extra elective time for the Capstone project, and students may instead choose to use “unscheduled” time in the fourth year for any additional required work on the Capstone project.

Program Requirements and Schedule

Requirements for the combined MD and Master’s degrees are equivalent to those of the separate degrees of the Doctor of Medicine of the School of Medicine and the specific Master's degree of the Graduate School at the University of Maryland Baltimore, Baltimore County and College Park. The dual degree program can be completed within five years. In most cases, an entering student may take a full course load in their prematriculation summer, but will defer taking any further courses until the second semester of their first year in medical school, and then only take one course each of the remaining three semesters. A full course load is also possible during the summer between the first and second years in medical school. Most students will take a year off before starting their clinical years, the exception being the MS in Clinical Research that is best done between the third and fourth years. In some cases the senior year in medical school has been restructured to allow students to complete both degrees within the five-year period.

A 'Capstone' course is required for the Master’s programs and, if not completed during a student’s time in graduate school, must be completed in the fourth year of medical school (year 5 of the joint program). All MD/Master’s students may substitute the Master’s Capstone/Research Practicum for one month of elective and, if necessary, use an additional month of elective time to complete the project. This second, additional elective month would be a research elective approved through the Office of Student Research. With regard to academic performance, students with lower than a “B” average in medical school courses at the end of the first year or any time during second year will not be allowed to take Master’s courses. Students with lower than a “B” average by the end of the second year of medical school will be dismissed from the joint program. Readmission will be considered in cases when a student corrects their academic standing.

Specific programs available are: 

MD/MS in Epidemiology, MD/MS in Clinical Research, MD/Master’s in Public Health, MD/MS in BioEngineering, MD/ Master’s in Public Policy, MD/Master’s in Business Administration, and MD/Master’s in Health Services Administration.

For additional information contact:  

Year-Off Research

Students with strong interests in research have sought out year-long research programs that are funded by a number of external sources. The research programs usually start on July 1 after completion of the second or third years. All such educational and research programs require a formal Leave of Absence although many students remain enrolled to sustain their health insurance, ensure that educational loans are not immediately repayable, and to remain eligible for financial aid. Most of these programs require either a Letter of Good Academic Standing or a Dean's Letter of Recommendation. Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Research early in the academic year to discuss potential funding sources and the selection of research sites and mentors.

Certificate Program in Clinical Research

Physicians and other health professionals who wish to work in clinical research often need additional didactic training in order to gain the necessary skills that are not covered in their health professional education. The Clinical Research Curriculum provides a combination of coursework (11 credits over 4 years) to provide training in core competencies in clinical research. Further information is available on-line:  Certificate Program in Clinical Research 


The University of Maryland's integrated Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Residency/M.D. program is a fully accredited specialty training experience that is six years in length. The second and third years of the program are spent in medical school at the second and third year class levels, with crucial fourth year experiences built into the third year of the program. For additional information on this program, refer to the Dental School's website:  Oral-MaxillofacialSurgery Program 

Last Revision: April 9, 2013