Younger woman holding a model brain.Established in 1985, the CHM MD/PhD program is a seven-year program through which a small number of academically capable, highly motivated students earn both the MD and PhD degrees.

The training program can begin as early as the summer immediately prior to the first year of medical school, with participation in laboratory rotations (if appropriate). Students take a selection of medical and graduate school courses through the first three years following a schedule specifically tailored to them. This provides the opportunity to begin the graduate program while getting to know both their MD and PhD classmates. The student sits for the USMLE Step I Exam (boards) no later than the end of Year 3. Years 4 and 5 (and more if needed) are devoted to dissertation research.  Once the PhD is completed, the student begins their clinical clerkships (Late Clinical Experience).

Students will be able to apply their PhD research as three two-week CHM research electives towards their clerkship requirements during the fourth year, decreasing the duration of medical school by six weeks. 

Unique to this program is the introduction of the Integrated Clinical Experience during the PhD training years. MD/PhD students stay in touch with their medical colleagues and medical training through participation in a monthly continuity clinic assignment in a clinic of interest as selected by the student.

To assure successful completion of the program, each student's progress is reviewed regularly by the MD/PhD program director, the graduate program director, their research mentor, and the graduate thesis committee.

Students in the CHM-MSU MD/PhD Program will be placed at the East Lansing or Grand Rapids community campus for their Early Clinical (ECE) and Middle Clinical (MCE) Experiences based on the anticipated location of their research laboratory. Clinical clerkship community assignments will be determined individually, based on what is optimal for the students overall training program

Graduate Study Options

The MSU Graduate School is where applicants apply to the graduate program of their choice. The site includes links to all MSU PhD programs. The MSU CHM MD/PhD program encourages applications from candidates interested in fields other than the traditional biomedical sciences.

Of note, the BioMolecular Science Gateway offers admission to 6 graduate programs: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Physiology

Research Opportunities in Grand Rapids

There are several opportunities for research at the Grand Rapids Research Center, which houses researchers from the departments of Translational Neuroscience, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, and Pediatrics and Human Development.

Financial Support

Financial support for the CHM-MSU MD/PhD program comes from the MSU Graduate School and the College of Human Medicine. Financial packages available for the 2023 application cycle include health care, partial tuition, and a stipend for the first three years (eight semesters) and last two years (five semesters) of training. The graduate programs are expected to support the student during the PhD research years. All students are also required to apply for an NIH F-30 award (or its equivalent) during their first two years of PhD training.

Application Process

An applicant must apply for admission to CHM through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) as a Combined Medical Degree/PhD applicant.  At the same time, the applicant must submit an application to the MSU Graduate School.

If the applicant is deemed eligible for acceptance by both CHM and a graduate program, their application will be reviewed by the CHM-MSU MD/PhD Selection Committee for a final decision. If accepted by the CHM-MSU MD/PhD Selection Committee, the applicant will be offered a position in the CHM-MSU MD/PhD program.

Applicants invited to join the CHM MD/PhD program by the CHM-MSU MD/PhD Selection Committee will receive a formal acceptance from the College of Human Medicine and the applicable graduate department after accepting the offer to join the MD/PhD program. An applicant who is not selected for acceptance by the CHM-MSU MD/PhD Selection Committee is not eligible for a seat as an MD degree-only student.

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.
  • Take (or retake, if necessary) the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) by 9/09/2023.
  • For optimal consideration, application materials including the AMCAS application, MCAT, CASPer exam, letters of evaluation, and CHM Secondary Applications should be completed early. The deadline for these items is as follows: 
    • AMCAS Application 10/01/2023
    • Secondary Application 11/01/2023

Please note: Interested applicants should take the CASPer test no later than 9/12/2023 or the AAMC PREview test no later than 9/14/2023 for the 2023-2024 application cycle. Applicants who do not take CASPer or PREview by this date will not be considered.

  • To be competitive for the limited number of MD/PhD fellowships, application materials including MCAT scores, letters of evaluation, graduate program preference, Secondary Application, and Graduate School application should be submitted early. Review of applications begins in July.

Letters of Evaluation

All applicants to the CHM MD/PhD program are expected to have a minimum of four letters submitted 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.  Applications will not be reviewed until all letters are received.


CHM-MSU interviews will take place virtually for the 2023 cycle and are arranged by the CHM Office of Admissions. PhD interviews will be held as per the program recruiting schedules. In some instances, an earlier virtual interview may be arranged on or near the day of the applicant’s CHM interview.

The applicant will also have an opportunity to meet with the Director of the MD/PhD Program as well as current students virtually, as well as in person during any campus visits.


Questions about the CHM-MSU MD/PhD program may be directed to:
Cindy Grove Arvidson, PhD
MSU CHM MD/PhD Program Director
A112J Clinical Center
East Lansing, MI 48824