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The School of Graduate Studies

MD/PhD Program - Letter from the Director

The enormous strides made in many areas of medicine in the past decades fuel our constant search for new explorers of the biomedical sciences. To encourage and train future investigators, who look forward to a career in research, practice and teaching in an academic environment, SUNY Downstate offers a highly successful MD/PhD program. The program graduated its first MD/PhD in 1967. The program combines complete training in the pre-clinical and clinical aspects of medicine, culminating in the MD degree, with intensive research experience in the basic medical sciences leading to the PhD degree. Graduates of the program are able to relate the knowledge insight and techniques they have gained from their research training to problems in clinical medicine and are prepared to function as independent researchers. As the number of physician-scientists has declined over the past two decades the MD/PhD track has become an important mode for replacing physicians who took up scientific endeavors after they finished medical school.

SUNY Downstate has a tradition of excellence and initiative in training leaders in academic medicine. SUNY Downstate is one of the leading medical schools in the United States in terms of the number of its graduates going on to full-time careers in academic medicine.

MD/PhD Program course of study for Fall, 2014:

In the usual course of study, students in the Foundation of Medicine years of the program follow the standard curriculum of the College of Medicine. All students are expected to work in research laboratories during the first two summers of their medical school tenure. They then spend approximately three to four years in the School of Graduate Studies taking advanced courses and pursuing research leading to a PhD thesis. Upon completion of these requirements, students return to the College of Medicine to complete their clinical training. The program is flexible and other options may be developed by the student in consultation with his or her advisor and the MD/PhD committee.

Students may complete their PhD work in any of the three programs:

A fourth track is available for MD/PhD students interested in the development and application of medical nanotechnology. In this track, the MD training takes place at SUNY Downstate and the PhD training takes place at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University of Albany. Information on the MD/PhD in Medicine and Nanoscale Science or Engineering can be found here.

Many entering students hold prior research experience in a specific area and opt to continue pursuing that interest in an appropriate laboratory. Other students may rotate through several laboratories before making a final decision about their thesis sponsor. Members of the MD/PhD committee as well as individual faculty members are available to discuss these options and offer constructive advice to help students select a sponsor. Students are provided with a Graduate Assistantship and a full tuition scholarship.

Stanley Friedman, MD
MD/PhD Program Director

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