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 M.D. 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, the health care system, and biomedical research; issues related to the profound advances in science and technology; and those that arise from the pressures of 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 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 the Carle Illinois College of Medicine 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. Students can apply to the MD/PhD track either by using the MD/PhD option in AMCAS® or by submitting a supplemental application. Applicants deemed competitive for admission to the College of Medicine will be subsequently evaluated to admission to the MD/PhD track.  Those applicants not accepted to the MD/PhD track will still be considered for MD admissions, unless they expressly state otherwise on their application. Students admitted to the MD/PhD track must subsequently explore an appropriate graduate program based on their research interests. Students will be required to submit a graduate application and be approved for admission by the graduate program and 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

Medical Scholars are responsible for paying tuition while in the medical curriculum. MSP students will receive financial support from their graduate program during the years they spend primarily in graduate work. This support is in the form of a research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or fellowship. Students are highly encouraged to apply for fellowship support from the National Institutes of Health that could fund the last two years of medical school.

for the joint degrees of Medical Doctor and Doctor of Philosophy

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 will 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 are allowed 10 years to complete the PhD.

Students must be enrolled in the term that they defend their PhD. For MSP students, they 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. If a student earns the PhD (or an MS) using medical school coursework, but then fails to complete medical school, the coursework was completed and the educational outcome is the same.