PhD Years

As an MD/PhD trainee at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, your life as a full-time PhD student begins after your second-year medical school curriculum, and once you have completed the first step of the National Board Medical Licensing Exam.

During the PhD portion of your training, you will pursue advanced courses that match your training area and interests. Advanced coursework is selected in consultation with and with approval by the Directors of your Multidisciplinary Training Area (MTA).

In the fall of your third year, you will work with your thesis advisor to develop a thesis proposal. After developing your proposal, you will sit for an examination to defend this proposal which can then be submitted for an NIH F30/31 application. 

While in the PhD portion of the program, you will be able to maintain your clinical skills through our Clinical Exposure course. For this course, you will perform three rotations through any of the clinical disciplines from the last two years of medical school, such as medicine, neurosurgery, pediatrics, and psychiatry. This will help you refresh and enhance your patient interviewing, physical exam, and presentation skills.

During your PhD years, you may also choose to maintain and hone your clinical skills through the East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership (EHHOP). EHHOP is a free, student-run clinic for uninsured patients in East Harlem, sponsored by the Mount Sinai Health System. Every Saturday, volunteer medical students function as primary care providers under the supervision of volunteer attending physicians. EHHOP provides an outstanding opportunity for medical students to “learn by doing” in a supportive, educational environment. MD/PhD students in their PhD phase have long played an important role at EHHOP. Recently, a formal Physician Scientist Track (PST) has been established for MD/PhD students within EHHOP, providing our MD/PhD students with the clinical information, skills, and confidence they need to excel during their clerkships.