CHM-VAIGS MD/PhD Program
The CHM-VAIGS MD/PhD Program is a joint effort between MSU CHM and the Van Andel Institute Graduate School (VAIGS). Students admitted to this program will pursue an MD degree through CHM while simultaneously pursuing a PhD in Cellular, Molecular, and Genetic Biology of Human Disease through VAIGS.
Students enrolled in the combined CHM-VAIGS program receive their preclinical education and training through CHM and their biomedical research education, including coursework, laboratory research, and dissertation research, through VAIGS. They are considered students of both institutions for the duration of their participation in the program. Students receive priority placement at the CHM Grand Rapids campus for the preclinical and clinical training years.
Students spend years one and two completing their CHM preclinical coursework and taking the USMLE Step 1 Exam. Beginning in year three, students will attend VAIGS to complete the PhD portion of their degree. Students will be able to apply their PhD research as two CHM research electives towards their clerkship requirements during the fourth year, decreasing the duration of medical school by eight weeks. Students are expected to complete the PhD portion of the degree by the end of year five and prior to beginning their clinical clerkships.
VAIGS will award the PhD degree when the student completes all of the degree requirements. The student will then return to CHM to complete the final two years of clinical training necessary for the MD degree.
There are several opportunities for research in Grand Rapids through The Department of Translational Science & Molecular Medicine as well as The Department of Obstetics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology.
During the preclinical and clinical medical school years, students will pay regular MSU MD program tuition. They may apply for competitive fellowships and scholarships both internal and external to CHM.
During the graduate school years, students will receive a package of financial assistance administered through VAIGS. This support, typically directed through a graduate fellowship, will provide a stipend, health and life insurance, and a full waiver of tuition to VAIGS. Students will be expected to apply for external predoctoral fellowships, which will be submitted and administered through VAIGS and relevant Van Andel Institute (VAI) offices. During the graduate school years, no tuition will be directed or be paid to MSU.
External training grants to support physician-scientist training programs are or may become available from federal, state, or private sources. Applications for such training grants will be administered through MSU CHM. VAIGS will be a cooperating institution on such training grants. Funds supporting students (stipends, benefits, tuition relief, etc.) during their medical school years will be directed to MSU, and funds supporting students during their graduate school years will be directed to VAIGS.
CHM-VAIGS Application Process
Application and Eligibility
An applicant must apply for admission to CHM through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) as a Combined Medical Degree/PhD applicant. Concurrently, an application must also be submitted to VAIGS.
If the applicant is deemed eligible for acceptance by both CHM and VAIGS, the applicant will be reviewed by the CHM-VAIGS MD/PhD Selection Committee for a final decision. If accepted by the CHM-VAIGS MD/PhD Selection Committee, the applicant will be offered a position in the CHM-VAIGS MD/PhD program.
Acceptance to the College of Human Medicine MD Program is contingent upon acceptance by the CHM-VAIGS MD/PhD Program Selection Committee.
Interested applicants should:
Apply to the College of Human Medicine through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) as a Combined Medical Degree/PhD type applicant.
Apply to Van Andel Institute Graduate School (VAIGS) and take (or retake, if necessary) the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) by the given deadlines.
For optimal consideration, application materials including the AMCAS application, MCAT, letters of evaluation, CHM Secondary Application, and VAIGS Graduate Application should be completed early.
Applicants must pay the AMCAS Application Fee and the CHM Secondary Application Fee. There is no additional fee for the VAIGS application. The CHM Secondary Application Fee will be waived if the applicant holds an AMCAS Fee Waiver.
Letters of Evaluation
All applicants to the CHM-VAIGS MD/PhD program are expected to submit a minimum of four letters to CHM through the AMCAS Letters service. Applicants should request three letters of recommendation for the MD/PhD program component, from individuals who can attest to the applicant's qualifications for the MD/PhD Program, as well as their motivation and ability to conduct research. To address the MD component more specifically, applicants should submit at least one letter that reflects their medical/clinical interest and experience and can address personal characteristics consistent with an excellent physician.
VAIGS requires three letters of reference, typically from faculty members who know you and your academic work and, if applicable, who supervised independent study or research. Applicants may submit the same letters to VAIGS that they submitted to AMCAS. Applications will not be reviewed until all letters are received.
The goal of the CHM-VAIGS MD/PhD program is to interview all applicants by the end of October. Applicants are interviewed separately for each program by members of the respective interview panels. The CHM Office of Admissions schedules the MD interview. VAIGS interviews are scheduled through the VAIGS admissions office. Every effort will be made to schedule the interviews for each program on the same day.
During the CHM interview, the applicant will be interviewed by one faculty member and one CHM student, tour the medical school, and have an opportunity to meet with appropriate faculty and current CHM students.
During the VAIGS interview, the applicant will be interviewed by a research faculty, take a tour of the research facilities, and be given the opportunity to meet with appropriate faculty and current MD/PhD students during their visit.
Applicants will be notified of acceptance decisions as soon as possible. Admission to the College of Human Medicine MD Program is contingent upon acceptance by the CHM-VAIGS MD/PhD Program Selection Committee.