As an MSTP student, you will have many decisions to make throughout your training. You will also have access to a number of advisers to assist you in making those decisions. The descriptions below describe the different advisory roles and how they support the success of our students.
In the first two years of training, the directors meet frequently with students on an informal basis. They meet more frequently (at least quarterly) during the research phase and in the final two years. Our directors are happy to meet with any student having difficulty, provide additional guidance on medical school courses and the residency application process, and advise students on selecting and negotiating research residency positions. Meet our leadership team.
MSTP College Mentors
Each of our five MSTP colleges are assigned four faculty mentors, the majority of whom are physician-scientists. These mentors have been carefully selected by MSTP students and leadership based on their demonstrated track record of mentoring success and their extensive interest in the success of our students.
College Mentors attend many of the MSTP College Curriculum sessions and provide advice and guidance for students. They are also available to help students with other educational issues, including guiding our students in the choice of labs for research rotation. College Mentors are also involved in social activities of the colleges. Meet the MSTP College Mentors.
Thesis Advisers and Committee Members
Arguably, the most important adviser an MSTP student will have is the thesis adviser, with whom students meet frequently during the research phase of training. The thesis adviser has a deep impact on a student’s future, as productivity during the research phase is a major determinant of long-term commitment to and success in research. Additionally, each student has a thesis committee of four or more faculty members who advise the student during the research phase of training and ensure milestones are met. MSTP students are required to meet with their thesis committee every six months once they complete their qualifying exam.
Current students are expected to complete three four-week rotations before choosing their thesis adviser. Most students complete their first rotation in the summer before starting the first year of medical school and then complete two more during the summer between the first and second years of medical school. Students choose their mentors during the second year of medical school and begin planning their transition into lab.
Finding a thesis adviser can be a daunting task, but there are many resources, events and advising programs to aid current students in this process, including:
- Meet the Current MD-PhD Thesis Advisers
Current advisers have a strong record in training MD-PhD students and are a great place to begin your search.
- Attend a M1 Year Blitz Talk Event
Blitz Talks are organized by Student Council to expose new students to as many Northwestern scientists as possible.
- Contact MSTP Leadership
Our leaders have years of experience in advising current students on making this decision.
Feinberg School of Medicine College Mentors
Every medical student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is assigned a society. Within these societies, students have access to college mentors, who provide support in areas such as career planning, academic counseling and remediation. MSTP students meet with these mentors on a regular basis during the medical school years of the program.