Skip to content

NIH MD/PHD Partnership Training Program

Prospective Students



Thank you for your interest in the NIH MD/PhD Partnership Training Program. Students can apply to the program through three pathways described below. Please click on the link describing the pathway you are interested in for more information. Applications for Tracks 1 and 2 are submitted through the GPP application portal (deadlines in early December).  For current GPP students interested in applying to Track 3, instructions on how to apply are sent to students each spring. Successful applicants receive full funding for their Ph.D. training in one of the NIH graduate partnership programs and are eligible for supplemental funding through the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) for the medical school phase of training, in many cases becoming full members of the MSTP at their medical schools. 

Please join our mailing list to receive more information and application tips during the year you plan to apply. Please read our Frequently Asked Questions document and contact us if you have questions about your individual situation. In addition to the information below


MD/PhD Pathway options

Track 1: For College Graduates. Undergraduate or Post-Baccalaureate students apply for MSTP programs at participating medical schools and selected NIH GPP programs during the same admission cycle, selecting Track 1 of the MSTP partnership on the GPP application.

Track 2: For Current Medical Students. Admission to Ph.D. training from medical school. Medical Students apply to selected NIH GPP programs, selecting Track 2 of the MSTP partnership on the GPP application. Students in ‘year-out’ research programs such as the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program can also apply for Ph.D. training in this track. 

Track 3: For Current NIH GPP Ph.D. Students. For select NIH Ph.D. students committed to careers as physician-scientists, the program supports funding of medical training at participating medical schools.


What's Different about M.D./Ph.D. training at the NIH?

If you select an NIH Graduate Partnership Program for your Ph.D. training you will be working in the Intramural Research Program of the NIH, which is supported by approximately 10% of the budget of the National Institutes of Health, the world’s largest biomedical research institution. The world-renowned faculty of nearly 1000 principal investigators at the NIH have stable lab budgets and no grant application or teaching requirements, leaving them more time to mentor trainees, including students. The research environment at NIH fosters a culture of creativity and innovative ‘high-risk, high-reward research’ which has produced many major advances, five Nobel laureates and more than twenty winners of the Lasker Award, America’s top prize for medical research. The NIH is home to national core facilities such as the NIH Chemical Genomics Center, the NIH inducible pluripotent stem cell center and the National Center for Biotechnology Information, whose resources are available to intramural NIH researchers. Many of the research programs are tightly integrated with the NIH clinical center, the nation’s largest and most advanced hospital completely dedicated to clinical research.  NIH MD/PhD students join a vibrant community of over 400 graduate students training in NIH’s Graduate Partnership Programs (GPP) and have access to the resources of the Office of Intramural Training and Education. NIH MD/PhD students also share a number of activities and administrative support with the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars and NIH Wellcome Trust Scholars as part of the NIH Global Doctoral Programs training consortium.

What do we look for in prospective students?

Like conventional MD/PhD programs, we seek students committed to careers as physician-scientists, with at least 50% time committed to basic or translational research. Students generally choose their research project and mentors very soon after acceptance in the program, and there are no laboratory rotations in most of the Ph.D. programs that we work with. Consequently, we also look for students who have a fairly good idea of the field they would like to work in and some research mentors in mind at the time of application. The MCAT is required for applicants, and the average MCAT scores and undergraduate GPA of our accepted candidates are similar to those at other MD/PhD programs (MCAT 37, GPA 3.8). However, we have accepted students with scores significantly below this on the basis of very strong prior research experience.  For a student enrolled in Medical school and applying as a Track 2 applicants, results from the USMLE Step 1 board exam can be used for the application instead of the MCAT.

Special Note for International Students

Due to funding restrictions, applicants need to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to enroll in an NIH institutional GPP or participate in the MSTP-funded portion of the program with U.S. medical schools. We encourage international students interested in doing their Ph.D. at NIH to obtain their M.D. in their home country and apply for a studentship in the NIH-Wellcome Trust Ph.D. program which is open to E.U. citizens and exceptional students from non E.U. countries as well.


Prospective Students