The University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine’s MSTP Program is designed to be a 7-8 year path with components that allow for an integrated experience throughout the training period. The program combines training through the well-known medical education offered at the UMMSM and its diverse biomedical doctoral programs. Students are able to select among ten PhD graduate training programs, including traditional basic sciences and interdisciplinary graduate programs, as well as Epidemiology and Biomedical Engineering.
- Medical: Year 1 – Core Modules and Clinical Skills
- Medical: Year 2 – Core Modules and Clinical Skills
- PhD: Year 1: Core Coursework (plus Rotations for Biomedical Students)
- PhD: Year 2 – Program required courses, dissertation research and qualifying exams
- PhD: Year 3 – Dissertation research
- PhD: Year 4 – Dissertation research
- Medical: Year 3 – Core Clerkships
- Medical: Year 4 – Core Clerkships
Elements that specifically enhance the training experience include monthly all program Scientific & Professional Development Workshops (SPD), monthly Clinical Case Studies (CCS), an annual MSTP Student Research Symposium, as well as other social activities that foster interaction and collegiality of the combined degree students.
A timeline of the MSTP training path shows how the elements of the program are integrated. The program starts with the first two years of medical school (MS1 & MS2), which consists of core basic science modules, a study of integrated organ systems, problem-based learning, and the Clinical Skills Program. During MS1 & MS2 there are also meetings designed to facilitate contact with potential faculty research mentors and learn about PhD programs. MS1 and MS2 students carry out research rotations during the summers and during the academic year. Students are encouraged, but not required, to begin the program in June prior to MS1 to complete a first research rotation before medical school classes begin in early-August. Students also participate in a 1st and 2nd year MSTP monthly journal club. By the time of matriculation to the PhD phase, most MSTP students have selected their graduate training program and their research mentor. Students must also take and pass USMLE Step 1 prior to entering graduate training.
During graduate school year 1, basic science MSTP students participate in the Programs in Biomedical Sciences (PiBS) curriculum and select additional courses to fulfill their program requirements. Some components of PiBS and specific graduate program requirements are waived for MSTPs, which streamlines didactic coursework. By the end of their first year most MSTPs in PiBS training programs have completed the bulk of their class work, and thereafter can devote most of their time to dissertation research. Basic science MSTP students are encouraged to complete qualifying exams and dissertation proposals early in the 2nd year of the PhD phase.
PiBS Affiliated Biomedical Science PhD Programs:
Epidemiology MSTP students have specific course prerequisites, and take specialized classes in epidemiology, public health and advanced biostatistics during the first two years of the PhD phase prior to taking qualifying exams. Dissertation research is ongoing throughout. Students interested in this PhD training track should seek further information about prerequisites, requirements and other program details at the Public Health Sciences website.
Biomedical Engineering (BME): BME students can take advantage of the many research collaborations between BME professors in the College of Engineering and faculty in multiple clinical departments and research institutes across the medical school. MSTP students must have a prior undergraduate engineering degree to select this training option. Noteworthy is that a streamlined curriculum has been developed allowing MSTP students pursuing BME to complete most coursework within three semesters of graduate training.
During the PhD phase students continue to participate in all MSTP activities. They may elect to carry out a longitudinal clinical experience to reinforce their medical skills and/or to gain experience in a specific clinical discipline. All MSTP students are expected to apply for research fellowships offered through agencies such as the NIH NRSA predoctoral programs (F30 and F31), AHA, etc.
After defending their PhD dissertation, MSTP students return to MS3 & MS4 years of medical school where there is one year of required clinical rotations and one year of clinical and/or research electives. Students use research elective time to complete research and papers from their dissertation work or to explore new research areas. USMLE Step II is usually taken in the fall of MS4. Senior MSTP students also continue to participate in all program events.