1. MD-PhD Admissions
medical student using laptop


The MD-PhD Program (MSTP) at the Icahn School of Medicine integrates an outstanding research environment with a well-rounded, nationally acclaimed medical education. Continuously funded since 1977 by an MSTP training grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), our students enjoy a broad range of opportunities while training in the heart of New York City.

Interested in applying to the MSTP? Here’s what you need to know.

Yes, our MD-PhD program is an NIH-funded Medical Scientist Training Program or MSTP. The Program has been funded since 1977 and is designed to train physician-scientists to integrate clinical practice with research. Students receive full tuition, health insurance, and an annual $47,000 stipend, and they are expected to complete both the MD and PhD degrees in approximately eight years.

Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds, demonstrate a commitment to patient-centered innovation, build and serve their community, and are lifelong learners devoted to developing skills as future physician-scientists. We value intellectual curiosity, a love of science, advocacy, collaboration, community, and empathy in our students and applicants.

Candidates are evaluated holistically based on these categories:

  • Sustained research and demonstrated leadership in one or multiple projects. 
  • A clear reason why a dual degree is necessary for the applicant’s career motivation as a physician-scientist.
  • Clinical experiences to show demonstration and insight from caring for others.
  • Academics that demonstrate evidence of potential for success in a dual medical and graduate curriculum.
  • Life experiences that demonstrate diverse paths, identities, activities, and experiences that add to the richness of the community.
  • Integrity through personal statements, letters of recommendation, and responses to application questions.

No, international students cannot receive funding at Mount Sinai’s MSTP because the funding is provided by the NIH, which is restricted to US citizens and permanent residents.

Deciding to apply to an MD-PhD program is a personal decision that requires the consideration of several factors. First, evaluate your passion for research and whether you genuinely enjoy scientific inquiry and conducting research. Second, reflect on your long-term career goals and determine if you aspire to combine clinical practice and research in academic medicine or biomedical research. Finally, assess your willingness to commit to the extended length of training, as MD-PhD programs typically take eight years or more to complete.

In other words, you should apply to the MD-PhD program if you have a strong commitment to a career as a physician-scientist. You should have evidence of sustained commitment to research previously that informs your career plans. If you aren’t sure, consider working full-time doing research to decide if this is the right choice for you.

When applying to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s MSTP, three to five letters of recommendation are suggested. The most important letters typically come from research mentors who can speak to your research abilities, dedication, and potential. In addition, including letters from academic professors and clinical mentors who can attest to your scholarly achievements and commitment to patient care is also highly valuable and acceptable.

The MSTP requires the MCAT for admission.

Interview invitations are sent approximately four to six weeks before interviews occur, which are in the fall and early winter. Admissions decisions are made beginning in January or February and continue throughout the spring.

All interviews are virtual. Admitted students will have an opportunity to visit the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai campus and engage with the MD-PhD community in the spring.

Each year, we interview between 100-120 applicants.

We do our best to accommodate requests for alternative interview dates, provided space availability.

The average total time to graduation is 7.9 years.

No, you must choose either the MD-PhD or MD Program, and will only be considered for the program that you select.

A place on the waitlist is offered to outstanding MD-PhD applicants who were not admitted due to space limitations. An offer to join the waitlist is not extended to all candidates.

To confirm your continued interest and accept your waitlist offer, select the “Accept” button in the admissions portal. To decline your waitlist offer now or in the future, please select “Decline” on the admissions portal, and notify the MSTP Administrative Director at bianca.taylor-starobin@mssm.edu.

All waitlisted applicants have the option, and are encouraged, to withdraw from the waitlist if they have made final, alternate plans prior to receiving a final decision from Icahn Mount Sinai.


Our waitlist is not ranked, as we take a holistic approach to developing our class. As admission decisions are accepted and declined, we look at the composition of the incoming class, as well as the needs of the program and the Icahn School of Medicine, to determine which students to admit from the waitlist, and in which order.

The size of the waitlist varies depending on the strength of the applicant pool, the size of the incoming class, and more. As candidates commit to pursuing other options or are admitted from the waitlist, the waitlist shrinks as the spring progresses.

Typically, evaluation of the waitlist begins in late April, and as we progress through the spring, the Admissions Committee regularly evaluates the waitlist.

It is impossible to know if and when an individual might be admitted from the waitlist, as our timing is based upon when an opening in the incoming class becomes available. The waitlist will be maintained until the start of orientation in early July.

Historically, we have admitted candidates from the waitlist. If and when we move to the waitlist, and the number of candidates we can admit, is determined by how many admitted applicants accept or decline their offer of admission, and the number of students we seek to enroll.

In nearly all cases, students complete the preclinical years of medical school, then complete their PhD requirements, and then return to medical school to complete their clinical years. Please note that to progress to the laboratory, preclinical students must first pass USMLE Step 1.

If you are offered a position in the entering class, you will also be offered a fellowship package, which consists of direct reimbursement (for the 2024-2025 academic year, the stipend totals $49,000), the full cost of tuition, and a comprehensive medical insurance package. A competitive travel fund is also available. With satisfactory performance, you will continue to receive financial support until you receive your terminal degree.

The funds are derived from a combination of training grant (T32) support from the NIH, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the individual mentor during the laboratory research phase. Many students successfully obtain an F-type fellowship from the NIH that serves to support their training, and the Graduate School will provide a bonus to each student who receives this fellowship.

Students have numerous opportunities to connect with potential mentors, starting with the admissions interview.

On the day of the interview, applicants are paired with faculty of related interests who might serve as potential mentors, based on the requests of the applicant in the secondary application. Additional faculty are available, as requested by applicants, following the interview day.

Multiple sessions throughout the recruitment process, as well as during matriculation, allow students to meet with faculty, Multidisciplinary Training Area (MTA) directors, and senior students who can provide context and advice for selecting a laboratory and mentor. The first-year biomedical sciences curriculum features numerous faculty who are potential mentors. The MSTP leadership meets with all students during their first and second years to discuss options and help refine their list.

All students will rotate through laboratories before selecting their dissertation laboratory. Students are encouraged to explore laboratories during the preclinical years and spend the first two to three months of their PhD phase rotating in two to three labs before selecting and joining their PhD lab during the PhD phase.

The PhD in Biomedical Sciences and the PhD in Neuroscience prepare students with the critical thinking and innovative technical skills essential for conducting translational and transformative research to solve important, complex biomedical problems, and to pursue a career as an independent scientist.

As a student, you will work with our renowned faculty and a mentor on an independent research project, culminating in your dissertation. You are free to choose among eight Multidisciplinary Training Areas (MTA) for your graduate work:

No. The MD-PhD program is focused on the training areas above in biomedical sciences and neuroscience and does not have the coursework or infrastructure to support dual-degree training in clinical research. Interested candidates are invited to review the MD/MSCR PORTAL Program, which is a mentored dual-degree program for training in clinical research.

Yes! 96 percent of Mount Sinai MSTP graduates publish, with an average of 9.3 publications and 2 first-authored manuscripts. Equally exciting is the fact that more than 75% of MSTP students have collaborated with another MSTP student on a publication.

Yes, MD-PhD students will be engaged in a dual curriculum from the beginning of their training. All students will participate in Medical Scientist Grand Rounds for the duration of their experience, which is a program-wide monthly series showcasing the research of a senior MD-PhD student in the laboratory phase, set to the backdrop of a clinical case presentation. The sessions end with a panel discussion, with the student presenters and faculty mentors considering the translational implications of the work.

MD-PhD students also have tailored sessions that track their progression in the Program, which includes such topics as choosing a mentor, getting started in the laboratory, career opportunities, preparing for clinical clerkships, and research residency and training options.

We prioritize key transitions and employ a multi-tiered approach to support student success. This includes personalized advising, guidance in navigating the laboratory, and selecting mentors. Upon transition to the laboratory phase, our leadership team holds meetings with students and mentors to provide mentor training and establish a mentor-mentee compact, promoting effective mentoring practices, and a supportive environment. The mentor-mentee compact outlines expectations, fostering a collaborative relationship with clear communication, regular feedback, and resource provision for growth. Students also participate in the Knowledge Knuggets program, facilitating discussions on topics like thesis advisory committee meetings, daily writing habits, and applying for F30 and F31 grants. This comprehensive approach equips students with the skills and resources needed for success in the laboratory and future careers in biomedical research.

For the re-entry, our leadership team meets individually with all students and mentors. Students are also enrolled in our MD-PhD Clinical Refresher course, an eight-week course designed to facilitate the transition from PhD training years to clinical medicine years. The course incorporates practical and didactic sessions to help you regain familiarity with history taking, physical examination skills, written and oral presentations, and clinical reasoning. By the end of the course, you will be able to conduct history and physical examinations, present in both written and oral forms, interpret and assimilate clinical data to create differential diagnoses, and review the pathophysiology of common disease processes.

The Medical Science Training Program sponsors a range of academic and career-related activities designed to enhance your learning experience.

Program-specific activities include:

  • Annual MSTP Retreat
    The annual MSTP retreat is a fall gathering that takes place outside of New York City and away from the Mount Sinai campus. It brings together students, faculty members, administration, and alumni for a few days of celebrating scientific research and social activities.

    The retreat aims to foster collaboration, networking, and personal and professional development. It includes scientific talks, presentations, and poster sessions where students showcase their research and engage in discussions. Additional breakout sessions allow participants to delve into specific topics of interest, further enhancing their knowledge and skills. Alongside the academic program, the retreat also features an alumni panel, providing an opportunity for current students to learn from the experiences of our diverse graduates.

    Finally, the retreat incorporates enjoyable social activities such as trivia, board games, hiking and trail running, and connecting over a cozy fire pit, providing a relaxed environment for informal conversations and the formation of lasting friendships. Our annual MSTP retreat serves as a multidimensional event that combines academic growth, social bonding, and professional networking for our physician-scientist trainees.

  • Meet the Physician-Scientist
    Meet the Physician-Scientist is a monthly session that provides a unique opportunity for students to learn about the career path of physician-scientists. Each session features a different physician-scientist who shares personal experiences and insights about their work. These sessions are designed to help students explore career options in the field of medical research and provide valuable networking opportunities with professionals in the field.

    By hearing from successful physician-scientists, students can gain a better understanding of the challenges and rewards of this career path, as well as learn about the different approaches to conducting research. Meet the Physician-Scientist is a valuable resource for students who are considering a career in medical research, or who simply want to learn more about the field.

  • Knowledge Knuggets
    Knowledge Knuggets is a monthly program designed for students in their research years in the MD-PhD program. This program provides valuable insights and guidance on important issues related to conducting research such as getting started in the lab, developing regular writing practices, forming the thesis advisory committee, and building effective teams and communication with your mentor.

    Each session is led by Uraina Clark, PhD, MSTP Associate Director, and co-moderated by students in the Program who share their expertise and provide practical advice for success in research. Students learn key strategies for navigating the challenges of conducting research and develop the skills they need to succeed in their PhD studies, while building a strong foundation for a career in medical research.

  • Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) is a program run by the MSTP that focuses on creating a more inclusive and equitable community. The program hosts a series of monthly events, including Fireside Chats and Chats for Change, where students can engage in open and honest conversations on topics related to social justice, diversity, and inclusion. These events provide a safe space for students to discuss these issues and learn from one another.

    JEDI is led by a team of faculty and student leaders who create an environment that promotes greater awareness and understanding of issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and encourages meaningful dialogue and action towards positive change. Overall, JEDI is a vital resource for students, providing opportunities to learn, grow, and engage with their peers on important issues that impact the community.

Our students are empowered to get the most out of their physician-scientist training experience. Students are expected to attend all mandatory sessions, successfully complete courses as indicated by the medical school curriculum, their multidisciplinary training area and PhD program, and MD-PhD program-specific courses, and to appropriately credit the T32 training grant for dissemination of work through presentations and publications. Students are not required to teach or engage in service, but many students participate heavily in these activities based on their personal motivations, and many find that this adds richness to their experience and to our community.

The MSTP does not require teaching, but many students choose to teach through numerous graduate school, medical school, and community initiatives.

All MSTP students receive full funding for the duration of their time in the Program. The funding includes an annual $49,000 stipend for the 2024-25 academic year, tuition remission, health benefits, and more.

The Program covers the entire cost of health insurance for trainees.

At a rate significantly below the market average, all MSTP students are guaranteed housing in a campus apartment. Most students choose to live in campus housing, particularly at Jane B. Aron Residence Hall, commonly known as Aron Hall, which is one block away from Central Park. Campus housing offers a diverse range of apartment styles, sizes, and configurations, making it a popular choice among students.

Approximately 12 students begin the MD-PhD program every year.

The average age of an incoming MD-PhD student is 23 years old.

MSTP graduates are a diverse and accomplished group of individuals. As graduates of one of the most rigorous and comprehensive Medical Scientist Training Programs in the country, our graduates are well prepared to excel in a variety of career paths, from academic medicine to industry, policy, and beyond.

Many alumni have established successful careers as physician-scientists, conducting groundbreaking research and making significant medical contributions. Others have pursued careers in biotech, consulting, and entrepreneurship, leveraging the skills and training they gained through the Program to excel in these fields.

Throughout the wide range of career paths that MSTP alumni have pursued, they remain connected through a shared commitment to advancing scientific knowledge and improving human health.