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Medical Scientist Training Program

The need for investigators who are well trained in both basic science and clinical research has long been recognized within the biomedical science community. To help meet this need, in 1964 NIGMS established the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). This program encourages and supports the training of students with outstanding credentials and potential who are motivated to undertake careers in biomedical research and academic medicine. MSTP students participate in an integrated program of graduate training in the biomedical sciences and clinical training offered through medical schools. Graduates receive the combined M.D.-Ph.D. degree, and the majority of them pursue careers in basic biomedical or clinical research.

The MSTP currently has 45 participating programs with a total of 890 trainees. (There are approximately 75 medical schools that do not have NIGMS MSTP training grants but that also offer opportunities for M.D.-Ph.D. studies.)

MSTP participants may choose from a wide range of research training programs in the biological, chemical or physical sciences. Other disciplines in which MSTP participants can pursue graduate study include the computer sciences, social and behavioral sciences, economics, epidemiology, public health, bioengineering, biostatistics and bioethics.

Mechanism of Support

MSTP grants are made to universities and their medical schools, which are responsible for program operation and trainee selection. About 170 positions for new students are available nationwide each year. Awardee institutions also support additional students using funds from other sources. Selection for admission is highly competitive. For those selected, the program provides a maximum of 6 years of support, although an individual's course of study for the combined degree may take somewhat longer. All institutions identify other sources of support for a trainee's additional years of study. Trainee support provided by an MSTP grant includes the following:

  • Stipend;
  • tuition allowance; and
  • modest sums for travel, equipment and supplies.

Many institutions supplement the basic stipend provided by the MSTP grant.

Continued support for an individual student is subject to annual renewal based on the trainee's satisfactory performance in the program and the institution's successful competition for funds at the time of grant renewal every 3 to 5 years. Since MSTP grants are a type of National Research Service Award, trainees must be citizens or noncitizen nationals of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e., possess an alien registration receipt card I-151 or I-551). Trainees incur no payback obligation.

Individuals who wish to enter the MSTP should contact the program office at the participating institution(s) of their choice directly for curriculum information and admission requirements. Interested institutions should contact the NIGMS program director for information concerning the program.

More Information

For further information about the NIGMS Medical Scientist Training Program, contact:

Dr. Stefan Maas
Program Director
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
45 Center Drive MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200
Tel: 301-594-0943

This page last reviewed on January 27, 2017