David Giles


The Medical School has embarked on an innovative curriculum that maximizes learning in a clinical context. The timing of the PhD within medical school is optimized to make the transitions smooth and to maximize curriculum flexibility.

Specific aspects to note:

  • The standard MD curriculum features one preclinical year called the Scientific Trunk followed by one Clinical Trunk year that includes seven core clerkships (internal medicine, pediatrics, etc.); and two years of Branches featuring a wide variety of electives to refine your clinical skills and delve into specific areas. Each student works 1:1 with a Branch Advisor to create an individualized development plan.
  • MSTP students supplement the standard MD curriculum with a graduate school Biochemistry course during the M1 year. BioChem 552 is a literature-based discussion course that focuses on the critical analysis of seminal publications and is designed specifically for first-year MSTP students.
  • Most MSTP students complete all of the M2 Clinical Trunk prior to taking board exams and entering the PhD phase of training.
  • Each student has an individualized Research Rotation Advisory Committee to provide guidance in selecting research rotation mentors and a PhD program.
  • Two research rotations are required; many fellows do three. The first research rotation is generally taken during the summer after the Scientific Trunk, and the others are scheduled after completion of the Clinical Trunk and board exams.
  • In order to maintain clinical skills, students participate in a longitudinal clinical preceptor program during the PhD phase.
  • MSTP students have reduced Branches requirements in order to facilitate graduation within eight years.