Engineering PhD + MD Combined Program

Dartmouth's Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy (MD-PhD) program is for students seeking to conduct in-depth research and receive extensive training in both medicine and biomedical engineering. It combines the curriculum at Geisel School of Medicine with the PhD Program at Thayer School.

Students must apply and be admitted to both Thayer and Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and complete requirements for both the MD and PhD. 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.

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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 from an accredited institution to be considered for admission to the MD-PhD program. Students must apply to both Thayer and Geisel, indicating their specific interest in the MD-PhD program.

Residency

MD-PhD candidates are required to be in residence for a minimum of six terms, including:

  • two terms of participation in ENGG 195: Seminar on Science, Technology, and Society
  • one term of ENGG 198: Research-in-Progress Workshop.

Students who are registered and enrolled in two or more courses per term are considered full-time and as being “in residence.”

Students in this program earn the PhD and MD degrees simultaneously, after typically seven to eight years of study.

Program Requirements

MD-PhD students must fulfill all of the degree requirements for both the MD program at Geisel and the PhD program at Thayer, including research and dissertation requirements.

Course of Study

There are three major phases of study. Broadly stated, students spend the initial phase at Geisel, the second phase at Thayer fulfilling the requirements for the PhD, then the final phase at Geisel to complete the requirements for the MD.

Initial MD Phase (years one and two)

Geisel School of Medicine

  • Complete M1 and M2 requirements
  • Up to three 8-week laboratory rotations

First-Year PhD Phase (year three)

Thayer School of Engineering

  • 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 (year four)

Thayer School of Engineering

  • 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 (year five)

Thayer School of Engineering

  • Dissertation research
  • Completion of thesis defense

Final MD Phase (years six and seven)

Geisel School of Medicine

  • Complete M3 and M4 requirements

    Admissions

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

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    Financial Aid & Funding

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