Medicine & Public Health (MD/MPH)
The MD/MPH dual degree program at BU’s School of Medicine and School of Public Health is designed for students who envision a medical career that incorporates public health and medicine. The MD/MPH program prepares physicians for academic careers or for practice in today’s health care environment.
This flexible program combines traditional medical preparation with a concentration in one of the eight concentrations in the Master of Public Health program:
- Environmental Health
- Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights
- Health Policy & Management
- International Health
- Maternal & Child Health
- Social & Behavioral Sciences
In addition, students are encouraged to pursue programs of study and practice placements that allow the exploration of the multifaceted relationships between medicine and population-focused public health disciplines.
There is also an option for students in the BA/MD program to join the MD/MPH program after they graduate with the bachelor’s degree. For more information, contact Professor Wayne Lamorte.
Coursework in the dual degree program is generally completed over a period of five years. To earn both degrees, students must complete the required classroom and clinical coursework for the MD and the required 48 credit hours for the MPH. For some concentration areas (biostatistics and environmental health), completing all coursework within two semesters can be challenging and requires advance planning.
Students must earn at least a grade of Pass in all medical school courses and must maintain at least a grade point average of 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0) in courses at SPH.
MPH coursework for the MD/MPH program is generally completed between the third and fourth year of medical school. However, if a student has been accepted to BUSM, he or she may appeal to the Associate Dean for Admissions at BUSM for delayed matriculation. Also, if a student admitted into the MPH program at BUSPH is accepted into BUSM before completing MPH requirements, he or she may be transferred into the MD/MPH dual degree program.
The MD and MPH degrees are simultaneous degrees and are awarded together. Students must complete all MPH requirements to earn the MPH degree. Students in the MD/MPH program cannot graduate with the MD and then finish the MPH post-MD graduation.
MD/MPH students must complete a minimum of 32 credits in residence at SPH while meeting the core course, concentration, culminating experience, and practicum requirements for the MPH. All courses counted to the MPH portion of the MD/MPH must be numbered SPH XX 700 and above. No courses taken outside of the School of Public Health will count toward the MPH, including courses taken at other Boston University schools and colleges.
Credits in core courses and concentration courses taken at SPH prior to entry into BUSM may be applied to the MPH component of the MD/MPH program if the coursework did not apply to another BU degree or minor. Courses taken at SPH during the medical school years may apply to the MPH if not applied to another degree, including courses taken as part of the Advanced Standing. Students should meet with the BUSM and SPH Registrars’ Offices to verify what courses count to each degree so there is no confusion at graduation.
Approved Medical Credits
MD/MPH students earn an additional 16 credits toward the MPH by completing at least 16 credits in designated courses required for their MD from the following list. These courses cannot, be counted toward concentration requirements, practicum requirement, culminating experience, or core course requirements for the MPH.
- MS 126 Human Behavior in Medicine
- MS 129 Essentials of Public Health
- MS 130 Medical Genetics
- MS 131 Medical Immunology
- MS 220 – MS 226 Disease and Therapy
- Family Medicine Clerkship
- Pediatrics Clerkship
- Psychiatry Clerkship
Public Health Coursework
The 32 credits of SPH coursework toward the MPH part of the MD/MPH degree program are apportioned as follows:
- Approximately 16 credits for the MPH core courses in:
- Environmental Health
- Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights
- Health Policy & Management
- Social & Behavioral Sciences
- A minimum of 16 credits that fulfill the requirements for the area of concentration chosen by the student. The available concentration areas include:
All MPH candidates must complete an approved practicum by registering for SPH PH970. MD/MPH students may fulfill their practicum requirement in the traditional manner, as described by the BUSPH Practice Office website. MD/MPH students may also o fulfill the requirement by undertaking a suitable project during a one-month elective rotation during their fourth year of medical school. This elective should be planned well in advance, and the month=long elective should be devoted entirely to a public health-related project that has been approved by the MD/MPH program director, Dr. Wayne LaMorte.
Regardless of which option is chosen, MD/MPH students must fulfill all practicum requirements, as described in the SPH Practice Handbook and on the SPH Practice web.
Opting Out of the MPH
A student may resign from the MD/MPH dual degree program by submitting a letter to the director of the MD/MPH program, the BUSM Registrar, and the BUSPH Registrar. This will not affect the MD.
Because MD/MPH students generally complete 32 credits of BUSPH coursework between the third and fourth year of medical school, there is typically not much time for overseas travel. However, there may be opportunities for short (2-to-4-week) overseas projects, particularly between the first and second year of medical school or as electives in the last two years. These opportunities are not a routine part of the MD/MPH.
All dual degree students must meet with the MD/MPH advisor in the School of Public Health (Dr. Wayne LaMorte) and their medical school advisor at the beginning of their program to develop a plan of study. Students must register on the first day of MPH registration for the relevant semesters to ensure they are able to complete their degree requirements in their desired timeframe.
BUSM students enrolled in the MD/MPH program will receive 8 scholarship credits from BUSPH. These are allocated two credits at a time for each of the first four BUSPH courses taken as an MD/MPH candidate. For more information on options for financing, students are advised to meet with personnel of the Medical Center’s Student Financial Management Office.
Eligibility & Application
All medical students accepted to BUSM are eligible to apply to the MD/MPH dual degree program. Students interested in the MD/MPH program must apply first to BUSM. Checking off the box for interest in the MD/MPH program on the AMCAS application alerts the Admissions Office at BUSM that the student is interested in the dual degree program. It does not obligate the student to apply, and it has no impact on the likelihood of acceptance into BUSM.
Once accepted to BUSM, students who decide to apply to the MD/MPH program should submit an application directly to the MD/MPH program director as early as the first year of medical school and no later than February 15 of the third year of medical school. There are no acceptance quotas for the combined program. Note that if a student enrolls in the program and changes his or her mind, that student may opt out without penalty.
Once accepted into the MD program at BUSM, students may apply to the MD/MPH program by filing an internal application with the director of the MD/MPH program. A complete application will consist of:
- The one-page application cover form
- A current résumé
- A statement of purpose written by you in which you: a) briefly outline your relevant education and experience, b) indicate your current professional career objectives, and c) indicate your reasons for pursuing an MPH in conjunction with your MD and how you intend to leverage the MD/MPH dual degree in your career
- One academic letter of reference from a BUSM faculty member who has read your statement of purpose
- A copy of your current BUSM transcript provided by the BUSM Registrar and a letter from the BUSM Registrar indicating that you are currently a student in good academic standing at BUSM (You must request these in writing from the BUSM Registrar.)
Interested students are encouraged to contact Dr. Wayne LaMorte with questions or to discuss the dual degree program.
Application Fee & Tuition Deposit
These are waived for MD/MPH applicants.