Facts & Figures: Education


The Duke University School of Medicine is a community of scholars devoted to teaching, research and patient care. It is consistently ranked among the best in the country. The School of Medicine incorporates a range of highly regarded health education programs and biomedical graduate programs

About Education at the School of Medicine

By the Numbers



Health Professions Students 1,385 Total number of Health Professions Education students

505     Doctor of Medicine (MD)
85       Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD)
252     Doctor of Physical Therapy
181     Physician Assistant
129     Clinical Research Training Program 
75       Master of Biostatistics
48       Master of Biomedical Science
11       Master of Science in Population Health
41       Master of Management in Clinical Informatics
27       Master of Medical Physics 
16       Pathology Assistant
6         Clinical Leadership Program
8         Cardiac Ultrasound Certificate Program
1         Ophthalmic Technician 


PhD StudentsTotal Number of PhD Program Students 582

64      Biochemistry
21      Biostatistics
21      Cell and Molecular Biology
49      Cell Biology
6        Cognitive Neuroscience
36      Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
11      Developmental & Stem Cell Biology
36      Immunology
7        Integrated Toxicology & Environmental Health
23      Medical Physics
29      Molecular Cancer Biology
80      Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
71      Neurobiology
27      Pathology
44      Pharmacology
57      University Program in Genetics & Genomics

International Students

392       Duke-NUS Medical School  (MD, MD/PhD, and PhD students)
36         Duke Kunshan (Master of Science in Medical Physics, Master of Science in Global Health)

Graduate Medical Education

1,123   Residents and Fellows


Student receiving her white coat

Unique MD Curriculum 

Developed in the mid-1960s, the School of Medicine offers an innovative curriculum for MD students which allows them to study the core basic sciences for one year, instead of two, in order to devote the entire third year to a scholarly research project. Students at Duke care for patients a full year earlier than peers at most other medical schools.



Pandemics Response Training Course

Covid Alert graphic of Covid cellIn Spring 2020, as news of the novel coronavirus spread around the world, School of Medicine faculty rapidly developed a new course for medical students called “Responding to Pandemics: Past, Present, and Future.” The course, administered by the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and History of Medicine, ran from March 20 to April 24 via the online platforms Zoom and Canvas. 


Cultural Determinants of Health and Health Disparities Course

A longitudinal two-year curriculum in the School of Medicine assists students in exploring the cultural and social determinants of health. Through experiential elements and educational sessions led by faculty facilitators, students gain a deeper understanding of issues related to culture, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, sex and gender identify while exploring contributors to health disparities among vulnerable populations. Students also examine concepts of community engagement and the cultural history of Duke Health and Durham. Through the evaluation of peer-reviewed literature regarding health disparities, students gather knowledge and skills to mitigate provider influences on disparities and ultimately improve the quality of healthcare. 


MSTP students at Graduation in Blue gowns with Green hoods

Leader in Physician-Scientist Training 

Approximately 17 percent of Duke medical students are enrolled in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), which culminates in both MD and PhD degrees. One of 46 such programs funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Duke MSTP was the fourth established by the NIH in 1966 and is widely regarded as one of the best.



Highly-Ranked Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program

The Duke Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program is committed to producing the next generation of leaders in the field of physical therapy. This program is consistently ranked among the best training programs in the nation, with an average graduation rate of 98 percent. One hundred percent of Duke DPT students pass the national licensing examination for physical therapists.


Masked PA students standing outside cubicles at Dept. of Health

Birthplace of Physician Assistant Profession

Established in 1965, the Physician Assistant (PA) Program at Duke is recognized as the birthplace of the PA profession. The program is consistently ranked as one of the top programs in the nation and is currently ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report. Its mission is to educate caring, competent primary care PAs who practice evidence-based medicine, are leaders in the profession, dedicated to their communities, and devoted to positive transformation of the health care system.


PA Community Health Elective Focused on COVID-19

Covid Alert graphic of Covid cellThe Duke Physician Assistant Program partnered with the Durham County Department of Public Health to create a community health elective that put clinical-year PA students to work on the front lines of the local COVID-19 response. Students were trained to do case interviews and contact tracing, making calls to individuals who tested positive and those they had come into contact with, and to utilize their clinical training to offer medical advice when needed.


Student intubating a mannequin

Master of Biomedical Sciences Prepares Students for Next Step

The Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) is a full-time 11-month master’s degree program that prepares students to be highly competitive candidates for medical schools, related health professions and other biomedical careers. The curriculum integrates graduate-level human biological sciences with skill development in critical thinking, communication and teamwork. Students bolster their preparation for further study or entry into the biomedical workforce by completing a rigorous combination of multidisciplinary graduate-level coursework, immersive patient-centered service learning, individualized electives, advising and professional development.


Duke Launches Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

Duke University School of Medicine launched a Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program in 2020. The inaugural cohort of future occupational therapists will begin classes in August 2021. Highlights of the OTD program include:

  • Active learning and engagement in the local community 
  • Holistic admissions process
  • Innovative experiences of real-world simulation and practice
  • Occupation-centered curriculum developed by a team of diverse educators, entrepreneurs, and practitioners
  • One-of-a-kind opportunities for research and formation in partnership with the Bass Connections program, Duke Divinity School, Duke Eye Center, and Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering