College of Medicine / Admissions / MD / MD PhD Program

MD/PhD Program

The Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have established a dual M.D./Ph.D. degree program to provide rigorous training for talented students pursuing a clinician-scientist career path. The program combines the unique preclinical and clinical training programs at FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine with laboratory research training and interdisciplinary science courses offered on the Florida campus of TSRI, a biomedical research institute whose Doctoral Program in Chemical and Biological Sciences is consistently ranked among the top ten in the nation. TSRI’s program is customizable depending on the student’s research interests and biomedical research goals. The medical degree is awarded by the FAU Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and the doctorate by TSRI.

During their first two years of medical studies, students on the typical MD/PhD track are expected to pursue independent study opportunities with TSRI faculty members including the summer between their first and second year of medical studies and participate in TSRI’s program activities including its annual three-day graduate student symposium. Independent study opportunities allow students to become familiar with different faculty laboratories, in order to identify one in which they will carry out their thesis research during their first year of PhD study. In these experiences, students will meet regularly with TSRI faculty mentors, attend laboratory group meetings and journal club activities, and write a short paper on a biomedical research problem of mutual interest to the student and the TSRI faculty member(s) with whom they are studying. After successful completion of the second year of the standard medical curriculum (http://med.fau.edu/ume/index.php), students enter the TSRI graduate program full-time (http://education.scripps.edu/graduate_programs/doctoral/index.html), complete PhD courses (up to 6 of 18 required credit hours may be waived from medical school courses, upon review and approval of TSRI) and their thesis research in the laboratories of participating TSRI faculty in approximately 4-5 years. A collaborative MD/PhD committee will review student progress on an annual basis. The committee, which consists of TSRI and FAU faculty members with expertise broadly related to the student’s dissertation work and clinical training, will provide consistent advice, guidance and mentorship during the student’s path through the program. Upon successful completion of the PhD program, students return for the last two years of their MD curriculum. Students will then start their longitudinal integrated clerkships along with the cohort of medical students that are beginning year three in May of that academic year.

Admission to the MD/PhD program is a two-step process, requiring applicants to complete separate applications for 1) FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and 2) TSRI’s Graduate Program. Applications are accepted on a rolling admissions cycle. The requirements for completing an application to FAU’s College of Medicine include a verified AMCAS application, letters of recommendation, MCAT scores, and a secondary application. Upon submission of a verified AMCAS application to FAU’s College of Medicine, students must notify the FAU College of Medicine Office of Admissions via email (mdadmissions@health.fau.edu) that they wish to apply to the MD/PhD program. The Office of Admissions will then send the student’s name and AMCAS application to TSRI, which will track the student through the admissions process. At the same time, students must complete an application to TSRI’s Graduate Program. Since MD/PhD students experience doctoral studies differently than graduate students focused solely on earning a PhD, some aspects of the application process are also different:

  • MD/PhD applicants do not need to complete the GPA and TOEFL sections of the TSRI application.
  • Providing General and Subject GRE scores is highly recommended, however, MCAT scores will be substituted for applicants who elect not to take the GRE examinations.
  • At least one letter of recommendation from a research mentor is strongly encouraged, if not already included with the AMCAS application.
  • Applicants should provide a unique Statement of Purpose, tailored specifically to TSRI’s Graduate Program.

Interviews at both the FAU College of Medicine and the Florida campus of TSRI are integral components of the selection process.  An admissions decision for the MD portion of the program will be made by the admissions committee of the FAU College of Medicine using the criteria and processes described on their website. Admissions decisions for the PhD portion of the program will be made independently by the TSRI admissions committee. Applicants accepted by both institutions may be admitted to the MD/PhD program.

Do I need to submit separate applications to TSRI and FAU?
Yes. For details regarding the application requirements, visit the Admissions Requirements and Process section


Are GRE scores required for TSRI’s Graduate Program application?
While providing General and Subject GRE scores is highly recommended, MCAT scores will be substituted for applicants who elect not to take the GRE examinations.


Do I need to submit original letters of recommendation and transcripts with TSRI’s Graduate Program application?
At least one letter of recommendation from a research mentor is strongly encouraged, if not already included with the AMCAS application. Transcripts are required.


When would my admission into TSRI’s Graduate Program become effective?
If you are admitted into the dual MD/PhD program, typically, your first two years will be spent in medical school on the FAU campus in Boca Raton. Your work on the PhD degree will begin at TSRI’s Florida campus in the third year of the combined program.


Can I do my PhD work in the MD/PhD degree program on either TSRI campus?
No. As this program is Florida-based, all work for the PhD component of the MD/PhD program will be conducted at Scripps Florida.


Is it possible to alter the typical sequence of study?
Maybe. Modifications to the sequence of study may be granted upon review and approval by both institutions.

Florida Atlantic University:
Michele Pergadia, Ph.D. (mpergadia@health.fau.edu)
Office of Admissions (mdadmissions@health.fau.edU)

The Scripps Research Institute:
Tom Kodadek, Ph.D. (kodadek@scripps.edu)
Mark Sundrud, Ph.D. (msundrud@scripps.edu)
Cheryl Marra, Graduate Program Coordinator (cmarra@scripps.edu)


Last Modified 8/3/17