Curriculum

Two students in a classroom, one student is listening to the other student's heart with a stethoscope.

Through the Mayo Clinic Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), you acquire complementary clinical and research skills in just seven to eight years rather than the nine or more years required for separate programs.

Focused on flexibility

Our curriculum focuses on flexibility. Flexibility allows each student to shape their education to become the physician scientist they want to be. Because of this, we have designed a variety of flexible re-entry options within our curriculum. This means that as you navigate between clinical training and graduate training, there are a variety of re-entry paths you can take depending on your interests, goals, and where your educational path takes you.

Graph of reentry options

MSTP flexible re-entry options

Legacy course of study

In the legacy course of study, you will complete your first two years of medical school in Year 1 and Year 2 of the MSTP. In Year 3, you will complete the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE) Step 1 exam and your third laboratory rotation (optional) and switch to full-time graduate studies. You will focus on your and continue this work through Years 4, 5, and 6. Once you have defended your thesis and completed the Ph.D. requirements, you complete the MSTP by concluding your clinical training.

These steps are outlined in the below schedule:

  1. M1 and M2: Complete all first- and second-year Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine requirements
  2. Complete USMLE Step 1 and post a passing score
  3. Grad Phase (1-4): Enter Ph.D. phase of program at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
  4. Complete a third laboratory rotation (optional)
  5. Begin coursework summer quarter
  6. Longitudinal clinical experience through Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine – prerequisites required (optional)
  7. Fulfill all Ph.D. requirements, including thesis defense and submission of corrected thesis
  8. Re-entry phase: Complete re-entry program
  9. Complete the pre-clinical block
  10. M3: Begin third year of medical school
  11. Complete USMLE Step 2CK & 2CS and post a passing score
  12. Enter Match
  13. M4: Complete remaining Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine requirements

Plan A course of study

In the Plan A course of study, you will complete your first two years of medical school in Year 1 and Year 2 of the MSTP. In Year 3, you will complete the USMLE Step 1 exam, preclinical block, and third laboratory rotation (optional) and switch to full-time graduate studies. You will focus on your thesis research and continue this work through Years 4, 5, and 6. During years 4, 5, and 6, you may have the opportunity to do one or more clerkships. Once you have defended your thesis and completed the Ph.D. requirements, you complete the MSTP by concluding your clinical training.

The Plan A course of study includes the below schedule:

  1. M1 and M2: Complete all first- and second-year Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine requirements
  2. Complete USMLE Step 1 and post a passing score
  3. Complete pre-clinical block
  4. Grad Phase (1-4): Enter Ph.D. phase of program at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. This plan provides an option for a rotation during the Grad Phase. 
  5. Meet with Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine career advisor to discuss which clerkship(s) to select while in Ph.D. phase
  6. Review open clerkships and make selection
  7. Complete process, schedule, and complete a clerkship(s) with Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine – this will require a letter from research mentor permitting student to leave the lab for clerkship
  8. Fulfill all Ph.D. requirements, including successful thesis defense and submission of corrected thesis
  9. Re-Entry: Complete re-entry program
  10. M3: Begin third year of medical school
  11. USMLE Step 2CK & 2CS and post a passing score
  12. M4: Complete remaining Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine requirements and enter match

Plan B course of study

In the Plan B course of study, you will complete your first two years of medical school in Year 1 and Year 2 of the MSTP. In Year 3, you will complete the USMLE Step 1 exam, preclinical block, and complete a clerkship. You will complete a third laboratory rotation (optional) and switch to full-time graduate studies. You will focus on your thesis research and continue this work through Years 4, 5, and 6. During years 4, 5, and 6, you may have the opportunity to complete additional clerkships. Once you have defended your thesis and completed the Ph.D. requirements, you complete the MSTP by concluding your clinical training.

The Plan B course of study includes the below schedule:

  1. M1 and M2: Complete all first- and second-year Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine requirements
  2. Select a clerkship during third year schedule lottery
  3. Complete USMLE Step 1 and post a passing score
  4. Complete pre-clinical block
  5. Complete clerkship and pass Shelf exam
  6. Enter Ph.D. phase of program at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
  7. Complete process, schedule, and complete a clerkship(s) with Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine – this will require a letter from research mentor permitting student to leave the lab for clerkship
  8. Fulfill all Ph.D. requirements, including successful thesis defense and submission of corrected thesis
  9. Complete re-entry program
  10. Begin third year of medical school and complete remaining Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine requirements

Plan C course of study*

In the Plan C course of study, you will complete the first three years of medical school, USMLE Steps 1, 2 CK and CS during Years 1, 2, and 3 of the MSTP. Starting in Year 4, you will complete a third laboratory rotation (optional) and switch to full-time graduate studies. You will focus on your thesis research and continue this work through Years 5, 6, and 7. Once you have defended your thesis and completed the Ph.D. requirements, you complete the MSTP by concluding your clinical training.

Plan C course of study includes the following schedule:

  1. Complete first three years of medical school.
  2. Complete USMLE Step 2 CK and CS and post passing scores
  3. Enter Ph.D. phase of program at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
  4. Register for longitudinal clinical experience at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine
  5. Fulfill all Ph.D. requirements, including successful thesis defense and submission of corrected thesis
  6. Complete Re-entry program (optional)
  7. Complete remaining curriculum in Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine

*Plan C requires a payback agreement in case the student does not enter the graduate phase of the program after M3.

Learn more about the curriculum and course timeline and what you can expect as a M.D.-Ph.D. student.

Academics ▸ Biomedical Research Training ▸ Medical Scientist Training Program (M.D.-Ph.D.) ▸ Curriculum