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Engineering PhD + MD Combined Program

Dartmouth's Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy (MD-PhD) program in engineering sciences combines the curriculum at Geisel School of Medicine with the PhD Program at Thayer School.

Both a PhD and MD are awarded, simultaneously, after typically seven to eight years of study.

Overview

Geisel sign

Goals & Mission

MD-PhD physician-engineers are special individuals with extensive training in both medicine and biomedical engineering. MD-PhDs are vital members of the research community and uniquely positioned to advance both basic and clinical research. Their goals are to:

  1. Advance the understanding of health and disease processes at the basic research level;
  2. Mediate the translation of bench top discovery into clinical advances in the diagnosis, prevention, or therapy of diseases;
  3. Ameliorate illness and suffering through patient care, basic and applied research; and,
  4. Establish and implement health care policy.
D Souza at Williamson

Training & Mentorship

Along with courses at Geisel, students train in laboratories with leaders in their fields of engineering. Labs tend to be small, allowing faculty to be accessible and provide close mentoring.

MD-PhD students are also provided with mentoring resources at different levels of their academic careers. Mentors include include physician-scientists on the Dartmouth faculty as well as current students.

Course of Study

Training for this career path is unique and distinct from the simple combination of the separate MD and PhD programs. Of equal importance is the need to maintain flexibility to meet the special needs of individual students.

Basic MD Phase

  • Geisel School of Medicine year one and year two
  • Up to 3 eight-week laboratory rotations

First-Year PhD Phase

  • Completion of six graduate engineering courses
  • ENGG 195: Seminar on Science, Technology, and Society (two terms)
  • ENGG 198: Research-in-Progress Workshop (one term)
  • Initiation of dissertation research with thesis advisor
  • Qualification for PhD candidacy

Second-Year PhD Phase

  • Oral examination
  • Completion of additional graduate courses
  • ENGG 195: Seminar on Science, Technology, and Society (two terms)
  • ENGG 197: PhD Professional Workshops
  • ENGG 198: Research-in-Progress Workshop
  • Thesis proposal and dissertation research

Final PhD Phase

  • Dissertation research
  • Completion of thesis defense

Final MD Phase

Prerequisites & Requirements

Prerequisites

The foundation for doctoral work is undergraduate preparation in science, mathematics, and engineering principles. Applicants must hold a bachelor's or master's degree to be considered for the MD-PhD program.

Core Courses

The candidate with undergraduate engineering training (BE or BS degree) plus two years of medical school training normally takes:

  • Applied mathematics (two to three courses)
  • Engineering courses leading to a depth of knowledge in an engineering specialty (four courses)

Seminars & Workshops

In addition to engineering and applied mathematics courses, PhD students participate in the following seminars and workshops:

  • ENGG 195: Seminar on Science, Technology and Society – 2 terms
  • ENGG 197: PhD Professional Workshops – 1 term
  • ENGG 198: Research-in-Progress Workshop – 1 term

MD Requirements

Candidates complete the four-year MD curriculum. The electives of year four may be fulfilled through PhD dissertation research.

PhD Requirements

Once advanced to PhD candidacy, the student works with a special advisory committee to make sure that all regular PhD degree requirements are met.

Academic Honor

All students, upon matriculation, are required to attend a series of workshops in ethics and sign a statement that they agree to abide by the honor principles established by Dartmouth. See Graduate Academic and Conduct Regulations for a full statement of academic honor.

Residency

PhD+MD candidates are in residence at Thayer School a minimum of 6 terms, including 2 terms of participation ENGG 195: Seminar on Science – Technology and Society and one term of ENGG 198.

Admissions

Students must apply to Geisel School of Medicine as well as Thayer School, indicating their specific interests.