MD/PhD in Chemistry

The combined MD/PhD in Chemistry program is offered by the BU Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine and Graduate Medical Sciences (GMS). This program is designed for, and open to, highly qualified individuals who are strongly motivated toward an education and a career in both medicine and research. The purpose of the program is to provide students with the opportunity to obtain advanced education and research training in one of the medical sciences while providing exposure to and training in clinical medicine. It is anticipated, but not required, that students will elect to carry out their PhD training and research in one of the basic (preclinical) medical sciences; however, the program is designed to allow students considerable freedom of choice. The program expects to produce graduates adequately trained to cope with the increasingly multi- and interdisciplinary nature of teaching and research in the basic medical sciences, as well as graduates who will enter residency programs with a sufficient background in basic science to allow them to pursue productive careers in translational research.

The program requires a minimum of seven years and an average of eight years of study to complete both the Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Learning Outcomes

The MD/PhD program is designed to train scholars to contribute broadly to the field of chemistry. Graduates of the program will be able to:

  • Formulate research hypotheses that can be evaluated through empirical investigation.
  • Critically evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of study design applied to analysis of chemical structure of molecules and chemical interactions.
  • Analyze and interpret responses to polymers that are manufactured and implanted.
  • Demonstrate understanding of sources of bias and approaches to evaluating and controlling bias.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in data collection, data analysis, and written summaries of statistical analyses.
  • Perform hypothesis-driven dissertation work, from developing hypotheses to designing, analyzing, and interpreting results to writing up findings in the form of a publication-quality manuscript as demonstrated by the PhD dissertation.

Degree Requirements

The degree requirements for the combined MD/PhD are those of the separate degree requirements for the Doctor of Medicine in the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine and for the Doctor of Philosophy in GMS. For the MD, the student must be at least 21 years of age, have fulfilled all the requirements for admission to the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, and give evidence of having been enrolled for at least four full academic years at the Chobanian & Avedisian SOM. For the PhD, the student must have fulfilled all the requirements for admission to GMS and give evidence of having been enrolled in GMS for at least an equivalent of two full academic years. In addition, the candidate must have fulfilled all the requirements for major and minor fields of specialization. Students enrolled in the combined MD/PhD must complete the requirements for both degrees (except in unusual circumstances) before any degree will be awarded.

Students admitted directly to the MD/PhD will begin their training with the first two years of the regular Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine curriculum. Upon completion of the first and second years, students begin their graduate education and research training in the major departments or areas of specialization of their choice within GMS. PhD course requirements that are a part of graduate education include the GRS CH 801/802 Graduate Research Methods and Scholarly Writing course, required of all PhD students in Chemistry and taught each fall and spring. The two-credit course (one credit per semester) is required for all first-year students in our graduate program. Additionally, PhD students will be required to complete an academic plan of five graduate-level courses (20 credits).

Oral defense and dissertation submission must be completed and approved prior to returning to the third year of the medical school curriculum.


The applicant must meet the requirements for admission to both the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, as a candidate for the MD, and GMS, as a candidate for the PhD. The minimum entrance requirements and prerequisite courses for the Chobanian & Avedisian SOM are the same as those for GMS. Applicants for the MD/PhD will be required to submit only the results of the Medical College Admission Test and not those of the Graduate Record Examination, which may be required for admission to GMS, depending on the department/program. Applicants must have also carried out research during their undergraduate programs or have research experience.

It is anticipated that most applicants will apply for admission to the program as first-year students, but applications will be accepted from students who are already enrolled in the Chobanian & Avedisian SOM at any time before the beginning of the third year of their MD studies. Students actively enrolled in a PhD program at GMS are not eligible for the MD/PhD program until completion of the PhD program. Applications to the Chobanian & Avedisian SOM may be submitted in the final years of the PhD program.


Applications and instructions for submission of complete credentials for the combined MD/PhD program are available from the BU Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, Admissions Office, 72 East Concord Street, Building L, Room 124, Boston, MA 02118.

Applicants to the MD/PhD program applying as first-year students will initially be screened for their admissibility to the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine using the same criteria for admission as students applying only to the Chobanian & Avedisian SOM. After determination of acceptability for admission to the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, application for the MD/PhD will be submitted to the MD/PhD Admissions Committee for processing through the normal channels for admission to this dual degree program. One letter of evaluation from a member of the academic profession who has personal knowledge of the applicant’s qualifications for graduate study and research ability is required by GMS to complete the application. Applicants applying while in residence in the Chobanian & Avedisian SOM or GMS should obtain application information from the MD/PhD program’s administrative coordinator.