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Dual-Degree Options

For students interested in interdisciplinary research and field work, the Walter S. and Lucienne Driskill Graduate Training Program in Life Sciences (DGP) offers two dual-degree programs.

Master of Science in Clinical Investigation/PhD Program

First-year DGP students may apply to obtain a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) degree simultaneously with the PhD. This dual-degree program is designed to give trainees a more informed perspective on the intersection between translational and clinical research. Graduates will be uniquely positioned to work in multidisciplinary teams in academic, corporate or government positions to accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries that improve human health. Please visit the PhD/MSCI program page on The Graduate School of Northwestern University site or the MSCI page within the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute site for more information.

Graduate Certificate in Clinical and Translational Sciences

For those who do not wish to complete a master’s degree, this five-credit certificate is designed to enhance students' expertise in clinical and translational sciences. The certificate program is administered by NUCATS and is open to all currently enrolled PhD students. For more information, see the certificate program page.

Master of Public Health/PhD Program

DGP and the Program in Public Health offer a unique program leading to both the PhD and Master in Public Health (MPH) degrees. The PhD/MPH program was established to train students in both laboratory research and interdisciplinary public health fields. Graduates of this program will be uniquely positioned to take leadership roles in academia, industry and government institutions by providing expertise in molecular, cellular and biochemical approaches to population-based health questions.

Most students in this program should plan to concentrate their investigations in either Immunology and Microbial Sciences or Cancer Biology. Not only are these fields in which the emerging specialization of molecular epidemiology will play an increasingly important role, but they are also areas in which both the DGP and the PPH have noted faculty strength. Students may concentrate in other areas of PhD studies that lend themselves to investigations in population-based problems, but only with program approval.

Students entering the combined degree program are provided a full stipend and tuition coverage for both the PhD and MPH classes. Students usually complete all DGP and MPH course work within the first 12 quarters. Students in the dual degree program should expect to graduate on time with their DGP classmates in approximately six years.

Admissions to PhD-MPH

Application for admission to the dual-degree PhD-MPH program is achieved by selecting L21PH (DGP-Driskill Life Sciences and Public Health: PHD) as your program of choice in the Graduate School on-line application.

Applicants should use the Personal Statement portion of the application to indicate previous experience(s) in the public health realm as well as a clear motivation for obtaining both degrees.

The DGP will admit two to four students each year to the dual-degree program. The admissions committees for both the DGP and the PPH will make an initial determination of an applicant's competitiveness based on the application materials. Selected applicants will be interviewed in person by both programs. Applicants not admitted to the dual degree program may in some cases be offered admission for the PhD alone.


The PhD program requires a total of eight graduate-level courses. To fulfill this requirement, PhD/MPH students will take a minimum of six DGP courses, including the four core curriculum courses and appropriate electives. The DGP will give credit for up to two MPH courses to complete the required eight classes.

Students will typically take two DGP courses in each of their first three quarters and may take electives in the second year to complete the DGP requirements. Students may begin to take MPH courses in the fall of their first year. The MPH program offers the needed flexibility for the combined degree in that there is no strict order for the classes to be completed, there is no strict starting or ending point and one or more required courses are offered in every quarter, including summer. MPH classes are taught mainly during the evenings.

PhD/MPH students will be subject to all other program requirements, include passing the qualifying exam and generating a suitable thesis. Following candidacy, student progress is monitored by thesis committee meetings held at least once each year.

As partial completion of MPH requirements, PhD/MPH students will be given field experiences that are appropriate for their background and interest and will further the goals inherent in the dual degree. It is anticipated that scientific questions related to the student’s PhD project will be used to complete the requirements of the Culminating Experience.

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