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MSTP Curriculum

Northwestern University Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) students earn an MD degree from Feinberg School of Medicine and a PhD degree of their choosing from The Graduate School in three stages over seven to eight years.

Stage 1

In the first stage of training, students develop the biomedical science foundation for medicine by completing Phase 1 of the Feinberg MD curriculum, a three-phase integrated course of study that emphasizes real-world applications of medicine and is designed to help students develop into evidence-based clinicians. Students take Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination at the end of this phase.

Stage 2

The next stage of training is focused on research. For three or more years, students work to fulfill the requirements of whichever graduate program they choose for their PhD. Students also participate in our Continuing Clinical Education Program to maintain the clinical skills they gained during the first phase of  training and facilitate the transition from the PhD back to the clinic. 

Stage 3

In the third and final stage, students return to the clinic and complete Phases 2 and 3 of Feinberg’s MD curriculum, including required and elective hospital-based clinical clerkships and Step 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination. MSTP students have reduced clerkship requirements during this phase to ensure that they can move through the training plan in a timely manner.

MSTP Course of Study


MSTP Courses

Learn about our MSTP-specific courses that make this program's experience unique. Course topics include research proposal development and clinical cases.

View Required Courses

Thesis Advisers

MSTP students select thesis advisers and committee members from over 400 graduate faculty in 36 different academic departments across Northwestern's Chicago and Evanston campuses.

Meet Thesis Advisers

PhD Programs

After selecting an adviser and lab, students must choose a PhD program. Learn more about how to choose a program and common tracks of study for MSTP students.

Browse PhD Programs