Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions regarding the application process

If I apply to the Iowa MSTP, do I have to apply separately to the Carver College of Medicine.

  • No. The MD/PhD application serves as your application for both programs.

     

If I apply for the Iowa MSTP, will my chances of admission in the MD only program be compromised?

  • Beginning the first of August, completed MD/PhD applications are reviewed by the MSTP Admissions Committee Members. At this time we will begin to extend interview offers. PLEASE COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION EARLY AS SLOTS FILL QUICKLY!
  • If you are selected for an MSTP interview, your College of Medicine interview will be on the same day that you interview with us.
  • At the end of October, the MSTP Office will release the names of all applicants not invited for an interview to the Carver College of Medicine. These applicants will then recieve full consideration for the MD program, but they are still active with the MSTP.
  • The Carver College of Medicine will review your application and send out invitations for interviews. If you receive an offer for an MD interview and are still interested in the MD/PhD program, please contact us to let us know when you will be interviewing. WE ARE NOT ALWAYS INFORMED YOU HAVE AN MD-ONLY INTERVIEW SO PLEASE LET US KNOW. We will revisit your application and reviewer comments to see if we would want to schedule a modified MSTP interview on that day.
  • Only after both the Iowa MSTP and the Carver College of Medicine have had a chance to evaluate all applications will rejection letters will be sent.

What are the typical GPAs and MCAT scores for your interviewed applicants?

  • Below is the applicant pool information for the past three years.

     

Years 2015 2016 2017
Total Applicant Pool 189 196 210
Undergrad GPA Mean 3.65 3.64 3.67
GPA Range 2.22-4.00 2.70-4.00 2.39-4.00
MCAT Mean (%)
New MCAT Mean(%)
32 32 (88%)
506 (71%)
34 (94%)
510 (84%)
MCAT Range No (%)
New MCAT Range No (%)
10-40 22-43
(32%-100%)
483-523
(22%-100%)
26-39
(55%-100%)
483-528
(22%-100%)
Applicants Interviewed 47 51 46
Undergrad GPA Mean 3.84 3.77 3.64
GPA Range 3.31-4.00 3.42-4.00 3.12-4.00
MCAT Mean (%)
New MCAT Mean (%)
35 34 (94%)
510 (83%)
36 (97%)
515 (94%)
MCAT Range (%)
New MCAT Range (%)
27-40 29-38
(73%-99%)
500-523
(51%-100%)
32-39
(88%-100%)
504-528
(67%-100%
Applicants with Offers 28 25 20
Undergrad GPA Mean 3.82 3.74 3.81
GPA Range 3.32-4.00 3.42-4.00 3.53-3.99
MCAT Mean (%)
New MCAT Mean (%)
35 34 (94%)
510 (83%)
33 (91%)
515 (94%)
MCAT Range (%)
New MCAT Range (%)
27-40 29-38
(73%-99%)
502-523
(57%-100%)
32-34
(95%-99%)
506-528
(73%-100%)
Matriculated 6 11 8
Gender 2 Female 4 Female 1 Female
4 Male 7 Male 7 Male
Undergrad GPA Mean 3.78 3.69 3.84
GPA Range 3.32-3.99 3.42-3.98 3.64-3.97
MCAT Mean (%)
New MCAT Mean (%)
34 34 (94%)
508 (77%)
34 (94%)
516 (93%)
MCAT Range (%)
New MCAT Range (%)
31-38 29-38
(73%-99%)
502-517
(57%-96%)
34 (94%)
510-521
(84-99%)

How much research experience do I need to be a competitive Iowa MSTP applicant?

  • In general, admission to MD/PhD training programs (MSTPs) requires that students have significant research experience and a motivation towards medicine.  Usually students complete independent research project and are able to discuss the "what" and importantly the "why" behind their investigations.  Students should also have some exposure to medicine, including physician shadowing, and evidence of leadership and altruism.
  • What really distinguishes MD/PhD admissions from MD admissions is the research experience. So the more time spent in a lab, and the greater depth of the research accomplishments, the better.

Do applicants need to have articles published in academic journals to be a viable candidate?

No.  Average numbers show:

  • A third of the applicants did have at least one journal publication listed on their application.
  • Two-thirds of applicants had no publications to date.

How am I selected to be interviewed?

  • The Administrative Director conducts a pre-review and eliminates applications from candidates who fail to meet basic academic requirements or who lack research experience.
  • Each application is reviewed by two Committee members, who each score the application based on:
  • the student’s academic credentials, including performance in rigorous coursework in the natural and physical sciences
  • the strength and depth of the research experience
  • personal statements that demonstrate a commitment to research and medicine
  • the letters of recommendation, with extra weight given to letters from research mentors.
  • A preliminary score is assigned, reflecting the candidate’s complete record, with the success and depth of research given extra weight.
  • Applications from URM candidates are directly reviewed by the Iowa MSTP Directors and Admissions Chair, which assures that the strengths and qualifications of each URM applicant are fully appreciated.
  • The MSTP Office compiles preliminary scores and generates a ranked list.
  • The Directors meet with the Iowa MSTP Admissions Committee Chair to review the outcome of the committee appraisals and decide which candidates to invite for an interview. We aim to interview 45 applicants in a season.

What happens after the Interview?

  • After each of the groups of applicants have been interviewed, the Admissions Committee meets and discusses each candidate. A ranked list of applicants is distributed, based on scores submitted from individual MSTP interviewers. Scores are based on an applicant’s depth of knowledge, research experience, passion for science, curiosity, independence, problem solving skills and interest in investigating the unknown.
  • After discussion of each candidate, committee members vote and a final rank list is generated. The Directors, in consultation with the Admissions Chair, consider the ranked list as well as other factors to select applicants for admission.
  • Before a formal offer can be extended, the MSTP candidates are reviewed by and discussed with the full Carver College of Medicine Admissions Committee.
  • Applicants who are extended an offer of admission are asked to return for our Revisit Weekend in April.
  • A few adimission offers are made after each interview group is reviewed, and additional offers are made after all reviews are concluded in January.
  • In addition, a monthly newsletter is sent that informs prospective students about the Iowa MSTP, collegiate, and institutional events.
  • Keeping in touch with candidates allows us to identify questions and provide materials that may assist in their decision-making process.

What can I expect on Revisit Weekend?

  • Accepted applicants have dinner with the Directors, meet with faculty to discuss research projects, interact with Iowa MSTP students, and meet future classmates.
  • Time is scheduled for candidates to tour the research facilities and hospital, and get better acquainted with the Iowa City community. This is a great opportunity to check out housing.
  • The agenda for Revisit Weekend is applicant-driven, allowing prospective students the flexibility to address questions relevant to their training goals.
  • After the weekend, the MSTP communicates with prospective students regularly. The Directors, MSTP students, and involved faculty members make individual contact.

If I am not selected for the Iowa MSTP but do matriculate into the Carver College of Medicine, is there a way to apply as an M1 or M2 to join the Iowa MSTP?

  • Only second-year medical students are eligible to apply. Our ability to accept second-year students into the program varies from year to year. Contact the MSTP office to see if we are taking applications in a given year.
  • If you are a first-year medical student and think you might want to apply next year, a good strategy would be to make your interest in joining the MSTP known to Ashley Hood. She can answer any questions regarding the MSTP or other research opportunities on campus that may be open to you. We can also give you the opportunity to participate in various MSTP activities and events.

If I already have a PhD in a biomedical field, would I be eligible to apply for the MD/PhD program? Would this shorten my MD course of training?

  • You would need to talk to the Carver College of Medicine admissions office for any questions regarding your PhD coursework as it relates to credit in the MD curriculum.
  • You are eligible to apply to the Iowa MSTP if your goal is to pursue a second PhD from scratch while attending medical school.

     

Do you accept transfers from other MD/PhD or MSTPs?

  • No. However, consideration may be made if your current PhD mentor is joining the University of Iowa as faculty.