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M.D./Ph.D. Programs

M.D./Ph.D. dual-degree programs

Van Andel Institute Graduate School partners with Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine to offer training in both clinical medicine and biomedical research, resulting in both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. These programs typically span eight years, with four years of Ph.D. research training flanked on each side by two years of medical and clinical education.

Van Andel Institute Graduate School and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

This M.D./Ph.D. program is a joint effort between Van Andel Institute Graduate School and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Students admitted to the program will pursue an M.D. degree through Michigan State while simultaneously pursuing a Ph.D. through Van Andel Institute Graduate School.

Students enrolled in this combined program receive their preclinical education and training through the College of Human Medicine and their biomedical research education, including coursework, laboratory research, and dissertation research through Van Andel Institute Graduate School. They are considered students of both institutions for the duration of their participation in the program. Students receive priority placement at the College of Human Medicine’s Grand Rapids campus for the preclinical and clinical training years.

Students spend years one and two completing their College of Human Medicine preclinical coursework and taking the USMLE Step 1 Exam. Beginning in year three, students attend Van Andel Institute Graduate School to complete the Ph.D. portion of the program. Students will be able to apply their Ph.D. research as two College of Human Medicine research electives toward their clerkship requirements during the fourth year, decreasing the duration of medical school by eight weeks. Students are expected to complete the Ph.D. portion of the degree by the end of year five and prior to beginning their clinical clerkships.

Van Andel Institute Graduate School will award the Ph.D. degree when the student completes all of the degree requirements. The student will then return to the College of Human Medicine to complete the final two years of clinical training necessary for the M.D. degree.

Financial support

During the preclinical and clinical medical school years, students will pay regular Michigan State University M.D. program tuition. They may apply for competitive fellowships and scholarships both internal and external to the College of Human Medicine.

During the graduate school years, students will receive a package of financial assistance administered through Van Andel Institute Graduate School. This support, typically directed through a graduate fellowship, which includes a stipend; health, dental, vision and life insurance; a full waiver of tuition to the Graduate School; and $2,000 a year for travel to scientific conferences. Students will be expected to apply for external predoctoral fellowships, which will be submitted and administered through the Graduate School and relevant Van Andel Institute offices. During the graduate school years, no tuition will be directed or paid to MSU.

External training grants to support physician-scientist training programs are or may become available from federal, state or private sources. Applications for such training grants will be administered through Michigan State College of Human Medicine. Van Andel Institute Graduate School will be a cooperating institution on such training grants. Funds supporting students (stipends, benefits, tuition relief, etc.) during their medical school years will be directed to Michigan State, and funds supporting students during their graduate school years will be directed to Van Andel Institute Graduate School.

Application Process

Application and Eligibility

An applicant must apply for admission to MSU College of Human Medicine through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) as a Combined Medical Degree/Ph.D. applicant. Applicants do not need to fill out a separate Van Andel Institute Graduate School application; however, to apply to the joint M.D./Ph.D. program, applicants must check the appropriate box on the AMCAS application.

If the applicant is deemed eligible for acceptance by both the College of Human Medicine and Van Andel Institute Graduate School, the applicant will be reviewed by the joint M.D./Ph.D. Selection Committee for a final decision. If accepted by the M.D./Ph.D. Selection Committee, the applicant will be offered a position in the M.D./Ph.D. program.

Acceptance to the College of Human Medicine M.D. Program is contingent upon acceptance by the M.D./Ph.D. Program Selection Committee.

Interested applicants should:

  1. Apply to the College of Human Medicine through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) as a Combined Medical Degree/Ph.D. type applicant.
  2. Take (or retake, if necessary) the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) by the given deadlines.
  3. For optimal consideration, application materials including the AMCAS application, MCAT and letters of evaluation should be completed early.

Fees

Applicants must pay the AMCAS application fee and the College of Human Medicine Secondary Application Fee. The College of Human Medicine Secondary Application Fee will be waived if the applicant holds an AMCAS fee waiver.

Letters of evaluation

All applicants to the joint M.D./Ph.D. program are expected to submit a minimum of four letters to MSU College of Human Medicine through the AMCAS letters service. Applicants should request three letters of recommendation for the M.D./Ph.D. program component from individuals who can attest to the applicant’s qualifications for the M.D./Ph.D. program, as well as their motivation and ability to conduct research. To address the M.D. component more specifically, applicants should submit at least one letter that reflects their medical/clinical interest and experience and can address personal characteristics consistent with an excellent physician.

Interviews

The goal of the joint M.D./Ph.D. program is to interview all applicants by the end of October. Applicants are interviewed separately for each program by members of the respective interview panels. The College of Human Medicine Office of Admissions schedules the M.D. interview. Van Andel Institute Graduate School interviews are scheduled through its admissions office. Every effort will be made to schedule the interviews for each program on back-to-back days.

During the College of Human Medicine interview, the applicant will be interviewed by one faculty member and one College of Human Medicine student, tour the medical school and have an opportunity to meet with appropriate faculty and current students.

During the Van Andel Institute Graduate School interview, the applicant will be interviewed by the Graduate School admissions committee, take a tour of the research facilities and be given the opportunity to meet with appropriate faculty and current M.D./Ph.D. students.

Notification

Applicants will be notified of acceptance decisions as soon as possible. Admission to the College of Human Medicine M.D. program is contingent upon acceptance by the joint M.D./Ph.D. Program Selection Committee.

Van Andel Institute Graduate School and Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine

Western Michigan Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed) and Van Andel Institute Graduate School offer an eight-year program leading to both an M.D. and a Ph.D. degree in molecular and cellular biology.

Prerequisite requirements

Applicants for the M.D./Ph.D. dual-degree program must meet all admission requirements and standards of both the Medical School for the M.D. degree and the Graduate School for the Ph.D. degree. Applicants must take the MCAT; the GRE is not necessary.

Application

Applicants for the M.D./Ph.D. dual-degree program should begin with the AMCAS application for medical school admission and should select the M.D./Ph.D. option. They should also contact the medical school’s Director of Admissions to discuss their interest and coordinate the additional application steps. Select applicants will be asked to interview with both WMed and Van Andel Institute Graduate School on contiguous days.

Program and courses

Dual-degree students will:

  • Complete years one and two of medical school
  • Complete the Ph.D. degree, which takes four years (depending on successful completion of the doctoral dissertation)
  • Return to WMed for years three and four of medical school

Students in the M.D./Ph.D dual-degree program complete all courses and clerkships required for the M.D. degree and also complete the biomedical research education including coursework, laboratory rotations and dissertation research within Van Andel Institute Graduate School.

Cost

Students are responsible for tuition and fees for the M.D. program and are eligible for scholarship assistance. Van Andel Institute Graduate School provides financial assistance through a graduate fellowship during the Ph.D. degree that includes a stipend for living expenses; health, dental, vision and life insurance; a full waiver of tuition for the degree; and $2,000 a year for travel to scientific conferences.

Graduation

Students who successfully complete all of the requirements for the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees participate in graduation ceremonies at the Medical School for the M.D. degree and at the Graduate School for the Ph.D. degree.

FELLOWSHIP-PH.D. PROGRAM AND MEDICAL INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

The Graduate School offers a fellowship-Ph.D. option for applicants who already have earned their medical degree as well as a specially tailored summer internship program for medical students.

Fellowship-Ph.D. programs

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship-Ph.D. program (with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital)

This program links subspecialty training in pediatric hematology and oncology with research training in molecular and cellular biology. The training program for each participant will include all components of Van Andel Institute Graduate School’s doctoral program, including courses and dissertation research, although the timelines may be adjusted to meet clinical responsibilities of the clinical fellowship. Clinical training and research experience may be intertwined during portions of the training period. Details of the programs combining the Graduate School Ph.D. with medical school or the clinical fellowship and residency training are articulated in memoranda of understanding with the partner organizations. These memoranda are available upon request.

For more information or to apply, please call the Graduate School at 616.234.5722 or email registrar@vai.org.

Medical Student Summer Research Internship Program

The Medical Student Summer Research Internship Program offered through Van Andel Institute Graduate School provides opportunities for medical school students (between their first and second year) to engage in biomedical research projects in the Institute’s laboratories. Applications for this paid internship program are typically due in early February for the following summer. For more information, please email gradschool@vai.org.