MSTP Academics


Pre-clinical: Year 1

Under the integrated medical school curriculum, first year students take the Patient, Doctor and Society course in late summer of their entering year. Throughout the Fall semester, our students attend advance courses in biochemistry, genetics, cellular biology, and a variety of other disciplines taught by research faculty, while at the same time participating in our translational biomedical research forum (GBS 793). Starting in the spring semester of their first year, MSTP students take organ-based modules as part of the medical school curriculum.

Pre-Summer

1st Laboratory Research Rotation: 6-week summer rotation beginning in June/July of Year 1, with optional part-time extension into fall

Fall

Medical
Introduction to Clinical Medicine 1
Patient, Doctor, & Society
Fundamentals I (exemptions apply)
Fundamentals II

Biomedical Sciences
Translational Biomedical Research Forum
(August-October) Biochemistry and Metabolism (Graduate Core)
Genetics and Molecular Biology (Graduate Core)
GBS Theme Modules

Spring

Medical
Introduction to Clinical Medicine 2
Cardiovascular
Pulmonary
Gastrointestinal
Renal

Biomedical Sciences
GBS Theme Modules
Biostatistics (may also be taken during summer)
Bioethics (may also be taken during summer)

Pre-clinical: Year 2

The second year of the MSTP curriculum is essentially the same as the second year of medical school. The medical school courses during second year consist of a series of organ-based modules. Grading in the School of Medicine is on a Pass/Fail system. MSTP students also take additional theme specific courses in GBS that relate to specific areas of research in which they have an interest.

Summer

2nd Laboratory Research Rotation: 10-week full-time summer rotation between Year 1 and Year 2

Special Topics Course: Survival Skills for Physician Scientists

Fall

Medical
Introduction to Clinical Medicine 2 (continued)
Musculoskeletal / Skin
Neurosciences
Hematology / Oncology
Renal

Biomedical Sciences
Electives/Advanced Courses
Journal Club and/or Seminar

Spring

Medical
Introduction to Clinical Medicine 2 (continued)
Endocrine Systems
Reproductive Systems
Integration / USMLE Step I
Renal

Biomedical Sciences
Electives/Advanced Courses
Journal Club and/or Seminar

Research: 3.5-4.5 years

In early August of the third year in the program, students select a research mentor, join a PhD program or GBS theme, and complete the requirements for the PhD degree in that theme/department. Generally, they are required to take a course in research ethics, a course in biostatistics, and a handful of advanced topic courses over their tenure in the lab.

Completition of PhD degree

Upon successful completion of the qualifying exams, a student is eligible for admission to candidacy for the PhD degree. The typical time to degree is approximately 5.5 years (range 4-6 years), during which GBS students spend the majority of time in laboratory research. They also attend one or more national scientific meetings annually and publish an average of 4 or more first-author and co-authored publications in the peer-reviewed press.

Thesis Committee

Qualifying Exam

PhD Degree Programs

Clinical: 14-18 months

The clinical phase of the program includes most of the clerkships normally taken by third-year medical students, two acting internships (4 weeks each), and one additional four-week elective that are normally part of the fourth year. MD/PhD students are required to take a family medicine rotation (* this can be either the third year clerkship or a 4th year elective), but are not required to take the MSIII three-week selective or scholar's week. The clinical phase comprises 14 months of required classes. An extra 2-3 months of electives are allowed to facilitate appropriate scheduling. Additional time is allowed off for residency interviews and time for study and preparation for the part 2 of the National Boards (USMLE). All MSTP students are assigned to the Birmingham campus for their clinical training. However, elective rotations at other institutions (potential sites for residency and fellowship training) are available. The MSTP covers tuition for up to three semesters of clinical training.

Medical School Year 3: Clerkships

Medical School 4th Year: Elevtives