Medical Scholars Program

for the joint degrees of Medical Doctor and Doctor of Philosophy

program director: James M. Slauch, PhD

program address: 320 Illini Union Bookstore MC-325, 807 South Wright Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820

overview of Carle Illinois College of Medicine admissions & requirements: CI MED Admissions

overview of graduate college admissions & requirements: Graduate Admissions


This program combines the MD with any PhD program available from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 

Graduate Degree Programs

The Medical Scholars Program enables students to combine the study of medicine leading to the MD with graduate study in a second field leading to the PhD. The program seeks to produce leaders uniquely qualified and motivated to address the issues shaping modern medical practice, including health care systems, biomedical research, advances in science and technology, and pressures arising from socioeconomic forces.


To enter the Medical Scholars Program (MSP), applicants must meet the admission requirements of, and be accepted by, both the Carle Illinois College of Medicine (CI MED) and the Graduate College. Prospective students must demonstrate a potential for creativity and original research, a sense of social awareness and service, academic excellence, competence in leadership and interpersonal relationships, and an appropriate rationale for their interest in combined study. Students apply to CI MED via the American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®) (See Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply. State residency is not a factor. Applicants will NOT need to designate themselves as MD/PhD applicants in the AMCAS application.  Over the first year of medical school, students will receive advising from the MSP and be able to explore different PhD programs and potential advisors. Near the end of the first year, interested students will complete an MD/PhD application to be reviewed by an MSP Admissions Sub-Committee.  Upon conditional acceptance to the MSP track, students must apply for admission to a graduate program and the Graduate College. The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is required for admission to medical school; most graduate programs accept the MCAT in lieu of the GRE.

Approved Areas of Specialization

The University offers graduate study in more than 100 fields in which MSP applicants may propose combined degree study. Indeed, MSP students can pursue graduate study leading to a PhD in any discipline offered on campus. In addition to the traditional biomedical sciences, students may pursue graduate study in engineering, the physical sciences, humanities and social sciences.


Students in the Medical Scholars Program are expected to fulfill all the degree requirements of both the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and the graduate PhD program. At their discretion, graduate programs allow medical school classes to count toward completion of a portion of the graduate degree. Faculty advisors from the medical school and from the graduate unit help students set realistic long-term study plans that integrate the two curricula.

Financial Aid

All medical students are responsible for their tuition during the first phase of medical school.  Students accepted into the MSP will be funded by their respective graduate program during their PhD studies.  This includes a tuition waiver and stipend in the form of a research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or fellowship. Upon completion of the PhD and return to the medical school curriculum, MSP students will receive a CI MED tuition scholarship to complete Phase 2 and Phase 3. Students are highly encouraged to apply for fellowship support from the National Institutes of Health that could fund a portion of the graduate work and last two years of medical school.

The PhD program can count up to 12 credit hours of medical school coursework toward completion of the PhD course requirements. The individual graduate programs will decide how much credit can be used to fulfill their requirements.

Upon completion of the PhD and depending on the nature of the thesis work, the CI MED may waive the MD requirement for the capstone project or the data science project. Alternatively, on a case-by-case basis, the required number of weeks of electives could be reduced for MD/PhD students.

Students must be enrolled in the term that they defend their PhD. MSP students can be enrolled in either graduate school or medical school the semester they defend. The individual degrees will be awarded upon completion of the respective requirements.