MSTP Structure at a Glance

The MSTP Curriculum is designed to integrate the scientific approach and clinical medicine. Students complete the curriculum in seven or eight years (current average is 7.4 years), with the graduate phase requiring 3.5 to 4.0 years.

In 2014, the Carver College of Medicine (CCOM) launched the New Horizons Curriculum, which reduced the pre-clinical training from four to three semesters. Specifics of the College of Medicine MD Curriculum can be found below:

College of Medicine MD Curriculum

Timetable of Integrated MSTP Training

Years 1-2

Trainees spend the first two years enrolled in the basic science and introductory clinical portions of the medical curriculum, providing a broad exposure to the language and organizing concepts that form the foundation for a career as a physician scientist. They also begin the research component of the program through summer laboratory research rotations (to identify potential Thesis Mentors) and participation in research-oriented seminars. After completing the three-semester pre-clinical training phase, MSTP students take Step 1 of the US Medical Licensing Exam followed by 12 weeks of core clerkships. This timing gives trainees a broad exposure to the spectrum of human disease as well as experience with direct patient care prior to their entry into the graduate phase of training. Early clinical experiences underscore the clinical relevance of the thesis project chosen by students.

Incoming (Pre-Year 1) Summer (recommended)

Year 1


Year 2


  • MSTP Research Rotation or transition into Thesis Lab and PhD Program
  • Individual Development plan, update
  • Transition Advising

Years 3-6

Trainees spend the next 3-4 years in graduate training, engaging in academic and research experiences that promote their development into independent investigators. Structure, requirements, and student contacts for PhD Programs can be found under PhD Training Guidelines.

  • Graduate Coursework (varies by PhD Programs)
  • Scholarly Integrity/Responsible Conduct of Research I and II
  • 2-semester course taken in first year of graduate phase
  • MSTP Grant Writing in second semester (Spring) of first year in graduate phase
  • Establish Thesis Committee by end of first year in graduate phase
  • MSTP Clinical Connections
    • students enroll across four semesters to maintain clinical skills, experience different medical specialties, and earn four weeks of clerkship credit
  • Comprehensive Exam typically during second year of graduate phase
  • Individual Development Plan, annual update
  • Thesis Research
  • First-author publication
  • Thesis Defense
  • Transition Advising

Years 7-8

Trainees spend the final portion (up to three semesters) of training in the clinical environment where they bring a sophistication in laboratory science that can be applied to problems of human disease. At this time, clinical skills acquired during early training are renewed and further developed, and the scientific basis of disease is reinforced.

  • Remaining Required Clinical Clerkships
  • USMLE Step 2CS and 2CK
  • Residency planning, applications, interviews
  • Residency Match
  • Commencement
  • Transition Advising

Programs Running Throughout Training

Trainees participate in several events scheduled throughout their training that focus on the scientific basis of disease and provide forums for discussions that emphasize how science and medicine intersect.

  • MSTP Grand Rounds
  • Annual MSTP Retreat
  • I 'Heart' Science MSTP Poster Session
  • MSTP Medleys