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MD/PhD Program Curriculum
Students in the MD/PhD Program are first accepted into the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), a major medical research institution located within walking distance of the Robotics Institute. Students then apply to the Robotics Institute's PhD Program, which they typically commence after the second year of medical school. Because earning a PhD degree in Robotics typically takes longer than other PhD programs associated with the MD/PhD program, the recommended MSTP schedule is modified as follows to allow timely graduation.

GS - S1
Fall / Spring
GS - S2
Fall / Spring
GS - S3
. . .
GSn (5)
First lab rotation in the Robotics Institute Medical school courses Second lab rotation in the Robotics Institute Medical school courses 8 wk clinical clerkship Third lab rotation in the Robotics Institute PhD program in the Robotics Institute . . . Graduate from the Robotics Institute
The summer before starting at the medical school, students who wish to pursue the MD / PhD in the Robotics Institute are highly encouraged to do a lab rotation in the Robotics Institute. Ideally, this is the lab in which the PhD research will take place. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact faculty, most likely (but not necessarily), from the table below according to their areas of interest. First year of medical school. Students are encouraged to apply to secure a spot in the Robotics Institute PhD program (then defer for one year). Applications are due usually around December 15th every year. A reference letter from the research advisor in GS-S1 is useful. Second lab rotation in the Robotics Institute. Discussion of the thesis topic with the future graduate advisor is highly encouraged. Second year of medical school. First 8 week long clinical clerkship. By the third lab rotation, the research conducted during the third rotation should be related to the Ph.D. thesis topic selected with the thesis advisor. The requirements for completing the PhD portion of the program in Robotics are exactly the same for MD / PhD students as for regular PhD students, as described in the "Robotics Institute Doctoral Program" section of the graduate education webpage. To remain in the MD / PhD program, it is critical to defend the thesis by October of the sixth year (e.g. if you start your PhD program in August 2010, you must defend before October 2015). During the PhD program, students are required to complete three longitudinal clinical clerkships. Remainder of the medical school training mainly focused on clinical rotations, but possibly with a research rotation at the end.
Due to the intense timeline, students who pursue the PhD in Robotics in the MD / PhD program may be discouraged from participating in other curricula, getting an internship position, or taking courses beyond the requirements.

For more information, contact George Stetten ( or David Touretzky (