The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is an integrated training pathway that combines the graduate and medical curricula and leads to both the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. It is designed to produce highly qualified physician scientists who will pursue outstanding careers in academic medicine and research. Sponsored jointly by the National Institutes of Health, the School of Medicine, and the UCSF graduate programs, the MSTP provides financial support to cover all medical and graduate tuition and fees, along with a yearly stipend of $27,000 (as of the 2009-2010 academic year), as its students explore the full range of coursework and research opportunities available at UCSF.
The MSTP training sequence generally consists of the two pre-clinical years of medical school, followed by three or more years of graduate research leading to a doctoral dissertation, and the final five quarters of medical-school clinical clerkships. At each phase of this process, special efforts have been made to optimize and integrate the combined training experience. Graduate requirements are streamlined to enable MSTP trainees to complete coursework and begin full-time thesis research early in their third year, and a unique series of clinical preceptorships ensures continued exposure to clinical medicine throughout the graduate years. This curriculum enables students to complete their M.D./Ph.D. training as efficiently as possible while maintaining the highest standards for both degrees; as a result, our graduates have been exceptionally successful in competing for prestigious residencies, fellowships, and careers.