Third Year Admissions

Third-year Internal Admission from Duke MD Program

The Duke University School of Medicine Medical Scientist Training Program offers admission each year to a few current Duke University School of Medicine MD students. Second- and third-year Duke MD students who are interested in PhD training at Duke are invited to apply. Students admitted via this route join Duke MSTP in the fall semester as first-year PhD students. After completing the PhD training, which typically lasts four to five years, the students return to finish the last year of medical school. For MD students who enter MSTP prior to completing the third-year MD research requirement, completion of the PhD substitutes for that third-year requirement.

Financial Support

While neither the School of Medicine nor the MSTP reimburses tuition or fees for any medical school terms completed prior to enrollment in MSTP, the MSTP along with the PhD dissertation advisor provide full support for the PhD years and the final year of the MD program. MSTP covers tuition, fees and stipend for approximately three years — the first twenty-two months of the PhD-program and the fourth year of medical school, and the student’s PhD mentor provides financial support for the upper-level PhD years. Financial support for the fourth year of medical school, covered by MSTP, is contingent upon completion of the PhD.


The program is open to current Duke University School of Medicine students in the second or third year of the MD program. Since a portion of Duke MSTP’s student funding comes from a National Institutes of Health training grant, applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents (green card holders).

Application Process

Interested Duke University School of Medicine students should submit the following application materials:

  • statement of the applicant’s motivation for obtaining a PhD
  • summary of prior research experience
  • description of the area of research interest
  • statement of future goals as a physician scientist
  • 2 or 3 letters of recommendation, which emphasize the applicant’s potential for and commitment to research
  • letter of recommendation from School of Medicine Advisory Dean

Application Deadline

The deadline for submission of applications is mid-February. Please submit application materials by email to Applicants will be interviewed during February and early March, and decisions will be announced by April 30.

Further Information

For further information please contact:

Dr. Christopher Kontos, (, Duke MSTP Director
Andrea Liu, (, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Assistant Director, MSTP

Click below to download a flyer containing the above information:

Download Third Year Admissions Flyer